Knowledge Bank Blog, Shopper Communication

Winning at Shelf : The 2 Second Rule

Are you spelling things out for the shopper…in their language?

Have you ever tried explaining something to someone and on your third attempt they say “‘so what you’re really saying is X” and they hit the nail on the head?  Often the worst person to explain something is the person who knows most about it.

This scenario plays out hundreds of times a year when we are developing and trying to communicate new propositions.  We have spent months lovingly crafting the proposition.  The key elements are crystal clear to us.  The concept test scored well.  So, why do so many concepts that test well, fail?

The shopping context is very different.  The shopper hasn’t worked on the new product for the last 12 months, or been given a long concept to read. This is the first time they are seeing it.  And when (if…) they see it, they may only spend a couple of seconds looking at it.  If you only have 2 seconds, then you had better be clear.  Because if it’s not clear what the product is, why it is good, or how it fits into their life, they won’t buy.  And if they don’t buy, our latest big idea joins all the other great ideas that quickly disappear from the shelf.

So, how do we avoid this?

Firstly, we need to tell the shopper what the product is.  This is not as obvious as it sounds. As categories blur, new sub categories emerge and products with new and different benefits get launched, the potential for shopper confusion multiplies. So, we need to remove any uncertainty.  For instance, very clearly telling the shopper that it’s a moisturiser, it’s the diet version, it’s a biscuit you eat at breakfast…

Secondly, we need to tell the shopper what the product does.  What problem does it solve or what need does it meet?  For example, it reduces cholesterol, it soothes skin, it kills germs…

Thirdly, we need to tell the shopper why the product is good.  Why is this product better than the one next to it on shelf or the one that came before?  It can be rational, for instance, John West Tuna ‘no drain’.  Or emotional, for instance Lynx ‘get more girls’.  Either way, be specific.  Anyone can say ‘new’ or ‘improved’.

We particularly like what Boots have been doing with their Men’s Protect & Perfect range.  Taking a complex product range and communicating in the shopper’s language.  Tell them what it is – ‘Protect & Perfect Anti-Ageing Serum’.  Tell them what it does – ‘Tackles deep lines and wrinkles for younger looking skin’.  Tell them why it’s good – ‘skin looks firmer’.

To cut through with the shopper, you need to spell things out.  Make sure the shopper understands what it is you are asking them to buy.  Then tell them why the product is good.

So, next time you are in store, or reviewing a new proposition, ask yourself are you meeting the ‘2 second rule’ and really spelling things out for the shopper…in their language?

Have a great weekend and speak to you next week.