CLEVELAND -- The American Greetings Research Council here is analyzing vitamins, batteries, hair coloring and light bulbs to help find ways to modify consumer perceptions and subsequent shopping patterns. "Our goal is to study significant categories that are either under siege by mass merchandisers or present untapped opportunity in supermarkets," said Council Member Cecil Russell, vice president of marketing and merchandising, Save Mart Supermarkets, Modesto, Calif.
C products, as well as categories with a range of sales rates," Russell said. Also considered were analgesics, eye care, hosiery, bath, toothpaste and other oral care, hair care, and film and photo processing. The test will include selection, prices and communication of changes to the consumer. For instance, Save Mart has prepared to test vitamins in six of its stores by broadening the selection, and pricing the mix within 10% of its largest competitor. It also will enhance point-of-purchase merchandising options.
The research will be a flagship for the industry, according to the council, which maintains that no other study has attempted to modify perceptions and shopping patterns directly through in-store activities. Results will be reported at the May 1997 FMI Convention.
"This unprecedented research will provide actionable and proven tactics to change consumer perceptions and increase non[food] sales," said Randy Mason, senior vice president, general sales manager, American Greetings.
The council consists of a rotating group of senior marketing officers from various geographic areas. This year's members include John Beissel, vice president, merchandising, Martin's Super Markets; Bill Bell, vice president and chief operating officer, Randalls Food Markets; Bill Haraldson, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Rosauers Supermarkets; Ken Johnson, vice president, marketing, Hannaford Bros; Brent Louth, vice president, merchandising, Overwaitea Food Group; Ron McDearmon, senior vice president, retail operations, Minyard Food Stores; and John Weckerly, vice president, marketing, Copps Corp.