Musing on Browsing

End caps are fantastic. They grab the customer's attention. Get products noticed. Get products purchased.

As long as the number of products on the end cap is managed so as not to overload the customer, it is extremely effective.

Of course there's always a downside.


While limiting the number of products on the end cap is how to keep it being so effective, the other side of the coin is that you can only push so many products at a time.

And it takes time. Time to arrange special deals with distributors, adjusting orders, tearing down the last end cap display and setting up the new one.

All time well spent.

This is a fantastic example of selling to the masses. You're putting showcasing products to everyone that comes into the store with the goal that a majority will consider purchasing one of them. After all, you wouldn't want to showcase a niche liqueur that only a handful of people would be interested in. That would be a waste of prime floor space.

It is the exact same strategy used in grocery stores.  It is also very similar to how large grocers use customer loyalty data to offer discounts on products in the aisle. They analyze the data to determine what to offer to a majority of their most profitable customers. Another great way to market products.

You're doing this today and will be doing it tomorrow. You need to have marketing strategies that cover a majority of your customers.

But to raise the barmove the needle, make more money, you need to do more. Doing the same thing you've been doing isn't going to just maintain your revenue - at best.

What do you do? In addition to focusing on your generic customer, focus on each customer. Personalizing your offers to each customer is extremely effective. In fact, in the not so distant future, it will be how all stores operate. And that future is coming fast with the pressure from online retailers. Brick-and-mortar stores need to do something different - just look at newspapers, if you can find one.

From the consumer perspective, the ideal solution is that there is someone at the store that knows what they like and don't like. Is there all the time. Only engages with the consumer as needed. Is efficient, concise. And recommends alternative products that they will probably like.

Now some store owners feel they do offer their customers that type of service. And do for a good many of them. But not everyone. And at busy times, you can only help so many customers at a time. And while it feels like you're at the store all the time, it's not the case. And the thought of having people there to get to know each customer is completely impractical. Being way too expensive is just one of the tough challenges.

Video stores used to have special racks. Each rack had recommendations from a particular clerk. This created an "end cap" within the aisle. And

Smart phone penetration with adults in the USA

consumers got to know which clerk's recommendations they liked. A great idea to increase the value of floor space within the aisle. It pulls in many of the advantages of end caps (& disadvantages), and you can tune your sales to a narrower group of your customers. Rather than focusing on the 80%, you're focusing on the 40%.

 But the future of personalized sales is coming, and narrowing your focus to 40% of your customers isn't going to maintain revenue levels in the future.

Automation is the only solution. The good news is that a majority of adults in the USA have smart phones (see the chart to the right). Right in their hand is the computing power like a desktop from just ten years ago but with connectivity to an enormous amount of more information and faster access to that information. It's mind boggling. The key is to leverage that power.

There's four steps to automating a personalized shopper assistant:

  1. Gather consumer purchases and preferences (and here is where the value of rewards programs comes in).
  2. Perform "big data" analysis on the data and available products. And this isn't a one time thing. It requires on-going machine learning to tune what has been learned and to mine the facets of each consumer.
  3. Using artificial intelligence, recommend specific products to target each individual consumer.
  4. Quickly deliver these recommendations (and here is where an app on a smart phone comes in).

Hmmm, this seems very complex and expensive. You are correct. If you were going to do it yourself, it is extremely complex, requiring very specialized (and expensive) skills.

The good news is this solution is available from.... you guessed it.... BottleRoom 3.  By scaling the solution across stores, distributors and manufacturers, we can cost effectively bring an automated personalized shopping assistant to your customers.

If literally everyone subscribed, would there be no competitive advantage? The answer is no. First off, not everyone wants to change how they do business (refer to video stores on that discussion). Secondly, the service enables you to leverage your knowledge about your customers. Your knowledge defines deals you want to offer to get your customers excited to come to your store and increase revenue. Automation makes it possible to maximize the results of what you know.

That's why you'll always have a competitive advantage.




Getting more customers into your liquor store with personal service, supplier marketing dollars and the BottleRoom 3 app



We saw the problem.

Consumers want to try new products.

Stores want to provide better customer service.

Suppliers want you to try their products.

But it wasn't working.

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