WASHINGTON -- Co-branded programs, seasonal promotions and front-end displays are among the areas explored in the Grocery Manufacturers of America's second solution selling report.
The document, released at the GMA's annual executive conference in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., which began June 12 and continues through tomorrow, lists 11 studies from manufacturers, retailers and a broker to show the varied ways solution selling can be implemented. Barriers are also explored.
Published by the GMA here and Andersen Consulting, Chicago, the study, "Solution Selling II: Delivering the New Shopping Experience," looks at some practices in solution selling that have worked, C. Manly Molpus, the GMA president and chief executive officer, told SN.
The first solution selling study, released early last year, defined what it is and how it works; the new report shows how to implement it, Molpus said.
Hy-Vee, West Des Moines, Iowa, and Ukrop's Super Markets, Richmond, Va., are among the retailers that participated in solution selling tests. Manufacturer participants were Nabisco, Warner-Lambert, Gillette Co./Grand Metropolitan, Tyson Foods, Kraft Foods and Hallmark Cards. The broker was MAI-Alper, whose program redefined the role of the broker, the report states.
Acting as a how-to guide, the report describes solution selling as a four-step process: use of consumer data, in-store execution, measurement and program development.
Molpus said there are plenty of home-meal replacement options in dry grocery and frozen food, and solution selling can provide them.
"While it's understandable why many retailers are moving to the perimeter to find solutions, we need to remind them that the very profitable center of the store has solutions as well," he said.
The Hy-Vee test involved a variation of Kraft Foods' No Oven Summer campaign, which was cited as one of the most successful programs in Hy-Vee's history, according to the report.
Kraft Foods teamed with Hy-Vee to develop that No Oven Summer Backyard BBQ. The program was geared toward simplifying grocery shopping and keeping consumers from having to turn on their ovens during the summer.
The Backyard BBQ solution included all the components needed for a summer meal, including meat, salad, condiments, beverages and desserts. Items included Hy-Vee private-label ketchup, Hy-Vee beef patties, Taco Bell Salsa, Kool-Aid and Oscar Mayer Meat Hot Dogs.
Heavy in-store activity gave the campaign strong exposure. Kraft provided 85 stores with racks that held dry groceries and refrigerated products. Kraft and Hy-Vee shared duties associated with replenishing the racks -- key to the success of the program.
Promotions used television advertising and a Backyard BBQ contest. In Hy-Vee's five largest divisions, customers entered a sweepstakes to win a barbecue party for 20 to 25 people, which was catered by Hy-Vee and covered by local television stations. The prize was a grill, utensils, charcoal, plus all food, beverages and snacks necessary for a picnic.
The program had strong results: Hy-Vee grew category consumption during the course of the 12-week promotion 12% in both dry and refrigerated categories.
The checkout was the target in the Nabisco/LifeSavers Co. solution, based on research that shows that a consumer-focused assortment can almost double checkstand profits. According to the report, Nabisco performed a 13-week test at four accounts, assigning duplicate stocked front-end items unique Universal Product Codes in order to track category movement from the front-end location.
Nabisco also conducted a front-end analysis examining the performance of multiple categories representing 4,000 planogrammed stockkeeping units. In-store tests quantified the front-end sales and profit effect of different merchandising strategies like clean front-ends -- no products displayed at the checkout -- and alternating lanes -- inconsistent category placement.
The research showed that confections account for more weekly front-end sales per store than all other product categories combined, and that gross profits per cubic foot for confections are triple that of products typically sold in checkout lanes. The importance of express lanes was also quantified, showing that 38% of all transactions are scanned through these lanes.
The Pillsbury Co./Tyson Foods co-branded program, which teamed Pillsbury's Green Giant Create a Meal! with Tyson's Sliced & Diced chicken products, was also cited in the report. Create a Meal! brand imagery and recipe ideas were featured on Sliced & Diced packaging. The concept was co-promoted and co-merchandised.
"Rush Hour Recipes," which involved Pillsbury's Green Giant brand and Sargento shredded cheese, was the name of MAI-Alper's program. It linked Pillsbury Pasta Accents with Sargento shredded cheese -- a solution promoted as a light main meal. Research showed that the audience for the Rush Hour solution was slightly upscale, time-starved women with and without children.
The program involved 120 in-store demonstrations and special events, including sponsorship of a 10K run, a concert and marching band contest.
Solution selling is one of several areas of concentration for GMA this year. Two other studies -- on new products and direct-store-delivery -- are slated to be released late this year or early next.
The new-product study presents a model to help assure the success of a launch, from development to in-store execution. Results are expected to be released by the end of the year. Convenience, portable breakfast items and "future foods" -- products that include ingredients to provide health benefits -- are among the new products the GMA is exploring. "New products are the heart of our game plan to drive growth," Molpus said.
The DSD report follows up a study on scan-based trading that the GMA implemented with three H.E. Butt Grocery Co. stores last year.