Employee Newsletter Article—Written for Campbell Soup
It can make a shopper miserable. Trying to find their favorite Campbell’s soup on supermarket shelves that have been picked over, depleted and disorganized. Today’s busy shopper, pressed for time, will just as soon walk away than continue the frustrating search.
“One of the biggest challenges we face with consumers is the difficulty they have finding our products,” says Keith Olscamp – Vice President Retail and Broker Sales Operations. “If you stand in front of the condensed soup section, there are a lot of items with different designations for flavor and variety, and to consumers it’s very confusing. Our research has shown that when most shoppers go into the store and can’t find what they’re looking for right away, they just move on.”
One of the tools Campbell is using to help the harried shopper—and increase sales of our products—is the iQ Shelf Maximizer, a gravity-fed shelving system Campbell introduced in supermarkets two years ago. Created by Gamon International of Elk Grove, IL, the system fits onto store shelves and holds a stack of soup cans (usually 25 cans) inside.
On the front of each unit are large graphics of Campbell Soup cans that clearly show shoppers where their favorites are located—the graphics are 210 percent larger than the actual soup cans. The front panel of the system swings open for convenient product stocking.
The system keeps the Campbell soup section organized. It prevents the products from being scattered or pushed to the back of the shelf. And most important, it makes shopping the section a much more positive experience for the consumer.
“A lot of the feedback we’re getting is that because of this large ‘billboard’ effect on the front of the system, consumers are actually finding varieties of Campbell’s Soup that they didn’t even know existed,” says Jacques Finnell – Marketing Manager. “As a result, we’re seeing significant sales increases on what used to be low-to-mid-tier products in terms of volume. It’s definitely bringing attention to products that have been around for a long time and might have been forgotten.”
The iQ Shelf Maximizer provides one other benefit—it reduces costs for retailers. Labor studies done by Campbell show that because the system eliminates the task of organizing shelves, that part of store employees’ work is eliminated, which brings down labor costs.
Finnell points to some convincing numbers to illustrate the benefits of the iQ Shelf Maximizer: “This year, company tests showed a significant sales lift in condensed soups in stores where the system is implemented. For the total condensed segment, we’ve seen a 6 percent increase in sales. For Campbell’s condensed, we’ve seen a 9 percent increase, and private-label products have shown a 2 percent increase. And 64 percent of consumers have told us that the iQ Shelf Maximizer makes it easier for them to find the Campbell products they’re looking for.”
The team that executed this initiative—including employees from brands, research, customer teams, retail teams, finance and the Sales Distribution Center—met the daunting challenge of getting the iQ Shelf Maximizer out to the stores.
The goal was to have 7,000 units installed by the end of the fiscal 2004—they had 9,849 installed by September. Campbell has inked agreements to install the system in a total of 11,085 stores, and all installations should be complete by November.
“This is one of those great company success stories and so many different people had a hand in it,” says Olscamp. “The project involves a lot of work and it’s been done on a store-by-store basis. We’ve installed the system in stores in Alaska and Hawaii—it’s everywhere. A lot of people pulled together to make this happen.”