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Guided Grocery Shopping? Nutritionists, BodyBuilders & YouTube

The other day while looking for diet/weight loss wisdom and inspiration on Reddit, I came across a video someone shared of an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness, IFBB, professional demonstrating how he shops at his local grocery store, Ferraro’s Market.

His pitch? “Navigate a supermarket with only your wits and a $50 bill, and devise an effective, no-frills strategy to feed a growing bodybuilder for a week.”

I need Help

Last year, I went shopping for my mother after she had a heart attack and looking for low salt, low sugar, low fat foods that were easy for her to make and affordable was a very hard task and I ended up leaving the store feeling frustrated and defeated. After watching this video, I realized how beauty bloggers have gotten the spotlight with their beauty product hauls and how-tos on YouTube yet there is another whole world of food out there on YouTube.

I started thinking how many stores where capitalizing on this phenomena and making shopping easier for their customers. I remember as an after school supermarket clerk in High School, I occasionally “shopped” for house-ridden customers who called in their lists but I wondered how many stores offer guided shopping trips with nutritionists and dietitians.

Teach me How to Shop

Interestingly enough, I found that the Wegmans store hired its first registered dietitian over 25 years ago and now has a team of 10 RD’s who handle customer inquiries.

Stop & Shop New England has a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist available for store tours and personal consultations who also host classes in store. While Shoprite has a ShopRite‘s Corporate Dietitian who answers questions online and offers an array of Healthy Living Events in each store.

The Art of Hand Selling

When I worked in book publishing there was much lamenting about the closing of book stores who housed great unbiased experts on what to read. Imagine if someone catered to providing that service to general grocery shoppers who were looking for new ways to eat and live.


Formerly a senior copyeditor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book Group, Valerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation Blog, The Market Research Event Blog, World Future Trends.tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and founded Literanista. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at or @Literanista.

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Retail in Perspective: Eric Auciello, Director of Marketing & Consumer Insights, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Eric Auciello, the Director of Marketing and Consumer Insights at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters shares some of his own shopping experience, what influences his purchases and offers insights on growing his category:

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Photo: Wikipedia)

Can you share a recent shopping experience that has wowed you?

A Best Buy experience was good, where the initial retail floor person simply admitted to what they did not know and actually found one who truly did, answered the question with 3rd party referenced support (what’s contractors like in this example) and it was quick and painless.

What discount percentage will get you to buy something you were not planning on buying? Ex: 20% off entire order, versus 20% off single item – Bed Bath & Beyond

What consumer product could you not live without?

Today, Keurig® and the variety of hot beverages, and tomorrow, it will be because of Keurig™ KOLD, and what the shape of cold beverages will be like

Quickest/simplest way to grow your category?

We redefine it, at Keurig, based upon defining disruption in the eyes of consumer benefits not yet realized but nonetheless present

Editor’s Note:

We will continue our exploration of  The Evolving Role of the Shopper Researcher with Eric Auciello at the 2014 Shopper Insights in Action Conference where he will share more on  Storytelling and Actionable Research Delivery.


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Finding a place for Window Shopping in an Online World

Notice how its seemingly more difficult to measure the ROI on window displays? For with a humungous proportion of consumers moving to online shopping, its not the retailer glass window but their screen’s window that needs to be more influencing at the point of purchase. Fully documented in my work “Where does Online Shopping leave Glamorous Window Displays?“, here are some thoughts on consumer behavior around shopping seasons in particular.

Holiday seasons in particular absorb anywhere from weeks to months of our time as shoppers and consumers, and even more so if we are marketers. It evokes the anxiety, well pondered over in days when brands battled for loyal consumers. One has to think of all the historical, traditional efforts put into the likes of Macy’s and Harrod’s, juxtaposed against a modern lifestyle of lesser and lesser offline shopping. Has shopping simply become convenient, faster, and to a certain degree, almost less magical?

On drawing comparisons between the online and offline world, alongside the regularity of last minute versus planned shoppers, a two by two matrix on uncovering four holiday shopping personalities can be deduced. Let’s call it The Timed Shopping Framework, since it can apply to any phase of life when we have to shop with a deadline.

Holiday Shopping Framework @sssourabh

Bandwidth Basher
Purchasing Power: High. It’s unlikely that these shoppers will be looking for deals, but are more in a frantic rush to buy something while multitasking a busy corporate or bustling alternative life; thus the restraint from going in stores.
Retailer Benefit: Shipping fees. Consumers in this segment may be blind to free shipping coupons in all the haste, so retailers can gobble up any margins on those exorbitant overnight fees.

Strategic Sprawler
Purchasing Power: Moderate. These shoppers will likely have scouted the deals, almost as early as Black Friday and Thanksgiving. Being deal hunters, it’s not to say they are budget battlers: rather the contrary, they are likely to spend in volume. Call them indecisive, or on the other spectrum, simply smart with a cool variety of friends.
Retailer Benefit: Volume purchase and loyalty. It’s likely that these shoppers will seek deals with enough prowess to use coupon codes or minimum purchase requirements to benefit retailers, either with volume or future loyalty.

 Methodical Maneuverer
Purchasing Power: Moderate. These are traditional shoppers that would rather drive to the stores come fall, and load up their trunks and rear seats with less shopping on a periodic basis. And they never forget the wrapping, bows, cards and frills. These shoppers either have a sense of detail, or are simply preventing an anxiety attack, as per a former framework.
Retailer Benefit: Traditional store sales, which as we all know, may not be real value sales, but well marketed ones. Nonetheless, courtesy of methodical research, retailers should not expect these consumers to be strong spenders.

Splurging Sprinter
Purchasing Power: High. These shoppers have simply had no time in bustling lives, and tend to leave things to the last minute. With about half of their preferred selections disappearing off shelves, they are likely to be struck by anxiety and spend more than they need. Sans details, they may skip the frills and even ask for gift wrapped gifts altogether! Just beware that these folks may be struck by stress more often than not; even in public.
Retailer Benefit: Revenues from last minute shopping. Retailers can expect high spending from these consumers, with a slight dose of stress depending on the level of shopper persistence. It will be easy to entice them with leftover, often non-sale items, or with stocking stuffers.

Sourabh Sharma, Senior Manage & Communication + Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at Follow him on @sssourabh

Breathing Sales into End-of-Life Products

Licensing to the Extreme?

Licensing to the Extreme?


For the marketer or retailer facing end-of-life products, the decision to cut inventory and move the product directly to drop ship or special order status seems like the best way to hang onto sales at the end of the “long tail.” (for more see: The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson) 

Short of rebranding, there is plenty of life for products that are past their prime and mass customer appeal by teaming up with hot entertainment properties or evergreen brands.  Ever wonder where the idea for Duck Commander Pink Moscato Wine comes from? How about Dora the Explorer Crocs for kids? The mash up between maturing and declining products and fresh new licenses can create demand among collectors that reaches a fever pitch.

As a marketer or retailer, the fun part of combing through customer research can be finding nuggets of information that can be transformed into an exclusive product.  Discovering your college mac and cheese customer also loves anime could create an edgy animation partnership that concentrating on the under-10 set would not have uncovered. A market overlap between pickup truck owners and bowlers could create a new Ford bowling accessories line through licensing.  Corona beer beach towels, Marvel super hero baby apparel and World of Warcraft iPhone cases deliver sales because of their perfect junction between mature or end of life product and niche branding.

Short of product relaunches, sales can be uncovered by creating children’s versions of declining adult products. Elementary school children’s trends tend to follow adult and teen brands by months or years and can have a long lifespan since there are always new younger children entering the target market.

Seasonal versions of matured products can create new sales. Holiday gift giving times are especially hot for sales of old technology when a fresh typewriter ribbon or cassette tape will be considered a thoughtful gift for the Luddite of the family. Seasons like July 4th, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day can create demand for otherwise sluggish products.

Trend watchers should be vigilant for detecting when nostalgia will revive tired products. With vinyl records up +32%, there is a new demand for 45rpm inserts and turntable needles. Over-the-ears headphones and 4 wheel roller skates are also being revived. (can short shorts and tube socks be far behind?)

Too often market researchers dig into data looking for ways to support the current business.  Creative investigators will see a limitless opportunity to serve markets when they recognize the intersections that the data reveals.


Flora Delaney is a retail business executive with corporate savvy. With over 20 years of multi-channel, cross-functional experience, she has consistently delivered strategic projects through change leadership, process design, team mentorship, and IT partnership. Her engaging style inspires high-performance teams within a trustworthy and collaborative atmosphere.

Before starting her consulting career, Flora held various positions in the retail and consumer goods industries including VP of Merchandising and Visual Merchandising for Musicland, Director of Merchant Process Development at Best Buy – where she was awarded a U.S. patent for her work on a promotional dashboard , Director of Category Management at AholdUSA, Director of Business Services at Intactix, Account Manager at Helene Curtis and at ACNielsen.


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The Retail Perspective: Kathryn Henkens, VP, Private Brands at Petco

We’re fascinated by perspectives from inside the retail and shopper community. Recently, we had a chance to get an insighter scoop from Kathryn Henkens, the VP of Private Brands at Petco. Here’s what she told us:

I am a BIG fan of both Costco and Trader Joe’s. If these stores ever went out of business, I would be sorely disappointed! Costco has such terrific products- both private brands and branded and always seem to have something new that inspires my husband and me. I always feel like I get great value for the money there and even though we rarely have to return anything, when we do, they are always gracious and professional. Trader Joe’s has great meals for small families and something new all the time. They have increased their organic offerings and dream up new, healthy items that are always fun to try.

Trader Joe's interior in Union Square in New Y...

Trader Joe’s interior in Union Square in New York City. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Retail pet peeve [no pun intended]:

Out of stocks! Since I am on a limited time “budget”, I find it really aggravating when I make a trip to the store and they are out of stock of what we need. Once is okay but when it is a consistent problem, I just stop shopping there.

Overused, Industry Jargon: 

“We will have to mitigate the risk…” 

9 times out of 10, this means they are too scared to take a small risk or are trying to talk their way out of doing the right thing because it means it will be extra work for someone. Another reason could be that they don’t trust someone on their team to execute. In retail, we must always weigh the risks to make the right decision but making excuses for not addressing an issue or doing the right thing will only prevent you from staying ahead of the competition. I’d rather hear them tell me what we should do and ask for help in ensuring great execution.

Editor’s Note:

Don’t miss the Private Brands Retail Panel: The Strategic Importance of the Customer in the Growth of American Retail with Kathryn Henkens,VP of Private Brands, Petco, Juan C. De Paol, SVP Brand Management, Ahold USA, and Liz Berman, Director of Portfolio Strategy, Safeway moderated by Christopher Durham, Founder, My Private Brand and VP of Retail Brands, Theory House at the 2014 Shopper Insights in Action Conference taking place July 14-16 in Chicago.

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Shopping with the head of Shopper Insights & Category Management at Kimberly-Clark

Bala Mallela is currently the head of Shopper Insights and Category Management at Kimberly-Clark with responsibility across all of KCs consumer brand portfolios (Kleenex, Huggies, Depends, Kotex etc.).

We recently had a chance to chat with Bala on his own personal shopping experiences and what influences his own purchases:

What discount percentage will get him to buy something:

10 to 20% is a good discount to be motivating. Especially true for me in the consumer electronics / games etc….

Retail pet peeves:

Get off your smart phone when checking out. Very irritating to the checkout clerk and the shoppers in the line.

Favorite retail website:

Amazon. I really like the product blogs as well as the suggested items. Very easy to shop a win-win for both the shopper and the retailer.

Amazon Book Blog

Consumer product he could not live without:

Quaker Oatmeal. A bit boring though. I love the product and can eat it anytime of the day.

Most Overused Industry Jargon:

Big Data.  Not really sure people know what they are talking about.  It is a buzz word everyone likes to use.  

When the iGen and Gen Z shopper grow up, what can we expect:

Highly connected to their information gadgets and will not be able to function (especially shop) without them…..

Editor’s Note:

Bala Mallela is a Global Consumer leader with over 20 years of Marketing, Consumer and Shopper Insights, and Category Management experience at leading marketing-driven global consumer packaged goods companies, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and J&J.  He has consistently delivered innovation to drive top-line growth, bottom-line growth and market share, and has extensive experience in US and Global / Emerging markets. He will present Definitely Gen Z:  “45 million loyal for life shoppers” at the 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action in July.

“As the US market place becomes defined by retailers and suppliers who are struggling to adapt to rapid technological change and unprecedented shopper polarization across age, income and culture we will look at some foundational insights into how you can win with our “youngest” shopper cohort “Gen Z” and how the new capabilities you need build to address this cohort will stand you in good stead for winning with all your shopper segments. This Generation has many values and shopping habits in common with the Gen Y Millennial shopper,  but is more extreme in their habits and beliefs: socially hyper-connected, extremely tolerant and socially liberal, extremely environmental. Interestingly, they are also more pragmatic, realistic, and fiscally conservative than this Millennial shopper as well – which will impact their shopping habits. We will be sharing some selected learning’s from Kimberly Clark into how winning with this group of 45M consumers can pay back in a lifetime of retailer and brand loyalty”

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The best in Social Media for Retail, Brands & Luxury Goods?

We are committed to showcasing the best in best and retailers and brands doing it – utilizing omnichannel opportunities to leverage insights and impact basket growth. After all, that’s the central focus of Shopper Insights in Action: Strategy & Activation. Meanwhile, every year the web honors the best uses of social media with a Shorty Award. Here is a close-up look at all of the finalists chosen from the industry  who are accelerating social, delighting fans and blending the science and creative art of both the physical and digital worlds to drive consumers to purchase.

Best Use of Social Media for Retail or E-CommerceDriving foot traffic, web traffic and sales can often depend on how engaged a retail company or e-commerce site is with it’s consumers on the social web. From exclusive deals to incentiving social sharing, retail stores and e-commerce sites now rely on growth from their social presence and strategies to sell merchandise.

1. #ZapposRecharge Takes Over New York Fashion Week:  Zappos leveraged New York Fashion Week as an opportunity to remind consumers that Zappos is more than just shoes.

2. – One Wipe Charlies Launch: would not exist today without social media. DSC takes a unique approach to bringing the club to life through its social platforms.

3. Get Social with Duane Reade: Duane Reade (DR) and its Social Agency created the “Get Social” program, a comprehensive social media marketing campaign to increase brand awareness for the retailer and its suppliers.

Best Use of Social Media for a Consumer Brand: honors marketing campaigns that have integrated social platforms in a creative and meaningful way to successfully launch or promote a consumer brand.

1. Glad’s #SAVEITSUNDAY Movement:  Glad Food Protection shifted its brand positioning to “love food more and waste it less,” making it one of the first brands to take on the global issue of food waste with its #SAVEITSUNDAY campaign.

2. Lowe’s Sims Social: Second Life Gaming comes to Lowes

3. Gatorade Heritage Bottle Campaign: Gatorade defines it as being driven from the inside, measured in sweat, reps and preparation. But for 13-18 year old athletes, their definition isn’t so clear. So we set out to increase consumer awareness and understanding of what athletes think it means to #WinFromWithin.

4. Project Drive-In: Drive-ins operate on very low profit margins, making an $80,000+ upgrade to digital projection unaffordable. So Honda led the charge to save them by donating five digital projectors…

5. WestJet Christmas Miracle: Real -Time Giving: At a time of year when flights are at capacity and stress levels run high, Canada’s preferred airline, WestJet, aspired to spread the joy of the season by activating something remarkable, sentimental, and interactive for its guests and employees.

6. Virgin America Remixes the Safety Video: Virgin America decided it was time to revisit its already irreverent and fan-favorite safety video to create a transformative, fun experience.

7. Pantene: The BriefConnect Pantene with its consumers through its greater brand purpose of helping women shine.

Best Use of Social Media for Consumer Electronics: A look at marketing campaigns that have integrated social platforms in a creative and meaningful way to successfully promote consumer electronics. Campaign objectives may include new product launches, offers and promotions and building a strong fan base.

1. The Most Retweeted Brand Tweet Ever: Nokia phones have been in a range of vibrant colours for some time. So when Apple abandoned their well-known colourless product line and launched their iPhone 5C in a range of vibrant colours, we thanked them.

2. Samsung Recharges Galaxy Phones with a Tweet at SXSW: At SXSW 2013, Samsung Mobile US reinvented how brands use Twitter by introducing #PowerOn—a first-ever program that allowed Samsung Galaxy owners to recharge their phones with a tweet.

3. GoPro: GoPro took a distinctly different approach, creating a series of always-on campaigns, each focused on different customer segment, to fuel a virtuous cycle of content capture, creation, & sharing. The company tapped into its customers to drive awareness of GoPro by entertaining a growing audience of potential customers with engaging, immersive and aspirational stories.

4. The Warner Sound at SXSW Captured by Nikon: For the second year in a row, Nikon partnered with Warner Music Group (WMG) as the title sponsor of their SXSW music showcase. Overall, the program generated 46 million media impressions and 166 million social media impressions.

Best Use of Social Media for Luxury Goods: The best use of social media in a marketing campaign by a luxury brand. Campaign objectives may include increasing awareness among consumers with contests and apps, promoting the launch of a new clothing or cosmetic line and creating compelling, shareable content.

1. Benefit Cosmetics: Their Instagram account visually celebrates what makes Benefit Cosmetics unique: a fun, lighthearted approach to beauty. Filled with beautiful product shots, LOL-worthy real-time content (like #SelfieOlympics & #StarbucksDrakeHands), how-to’s, stop-motion videos and bold, uplifting quotes, it’s become one of the top brand Instagram accounts in beauty & beyond.

2. Need For Tweed:  Gave the real Agent Mendez a new Harris Tweed jacket at an underground event in New York City. As a the story struck a chord in arts and fashion culture, they then used the story to launch a new destination for Harris Tweed culture on Tumblr called ‘Need For Tweed’. The site had grown to feature collaborations with Harris Tweed and other brands including Nike, Range Rover, Supreme and UrbanEars. has generated a new and growing following for Harris Tweed in American fashion culture –constantly promoting the brands authentic heritage amongst a new generation of fashion.

3. NET-A-PORTER.COM: The pages of NET-A-PORTER feature high fashion editorial, updated weekly with new content and product, which is viewed by over 2.5 million women each month.

Best Use of Social Media for Food & Beverage: The best use of social media in a marketing campaign by a food and beverage brand. Campaign objectives may include the launch of a new liquor line, the opening of a restaurant, the promotion of a sustainable food brand and more.

1. Hot Pockets’ “You Got What I Eat:”  With hot rhymes and the world’s hottest woman on our side, Threshold Interactive and Hot Pockets made a microwaveable sandwich sexy.

2. Naked Juice Power Garden:  enabled users to become their own gardeners by creating the first-ever social media powered-living vegetable garden

3. Beefy Crunch Burrito: The Beefy Crunch Burrito is Taco Bell’s most popular limited-time menu item. And people are totally obsessed with it. They’ve tirelessly blogged, tweeted, posted and even protested to get the burrito back on the menu. So when Taco Bell brought it back for a limited time, we didn’t want fans to thank us, we wanted them to thank the obsessed. We turned the spotlight on our passionate fans like never before. First, we sparked the obsession by becoming the first major brand to leverage Snapchat and created the world’s first limited-time announcement for this limited time product. Then, we turned to Twitter to ask fans how far they’d go to prove their obsession to grab a BCB before anyone else. Many responded. But two caught our eye. And we did something they never expected: we called their bluff. We used the resulting videos to amplify the obsession and spread the love for the BCB across the entire Internet.

4. Hostess: Prepare Your Cakeface: Three weeks before Twinkies and CupCakes hit shelves we asked consumers to stretch their mouths and contort their faces to get ready for the return of Twinkies and CupCakes. They would simply share a Vine (or Instagram) video with the #cakeface hashtag and our aggregator tool would then sort and display the consumer-generated social content on

5. Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Love Songs: Seeing the virtual love letters written about the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger on Twitter and Facebook during the test market phase, combined with our audience insights, inspired them to promote the Pretzel

6. Say It With Bacon: We observed grocery shoppers and noticed that people meticulously inspect bacon before making a purchase. In fact, people shop for bacon a lot like they shop for fine jewelry. So with Father’s Day around the corner, we created an experience that would allow women to gift luxurious bacon products to the leading men in their lives.

7. Green Giant – Raise A Giant (Bully Prevention): What does it mean to Raise A Giant? received 8,262,828 traditional media impressions.

8. Lay’s 75 & Sunny: Lay’s wanted to celebrate their 75th birthday in a big way, by tapping into our collective nostalgia for summertime. The challenge: deliver a socially-focused strategy to bring their summer packaging program, 75 & Sunny, to life and inspire the audience to converse, co-create and share the brand’s story.

So who is your choice for favorite and who do think will win tonight?

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Why Category Definition is Critical

For retailers who follow a structured category management review, the first step is defining the category. The idea of defining a category each year may seem obvious – even redundant year after year.  But the truth is that customers‘ tastes and habits change. A review of trends and changing customer behavior can catch newly emerging opportunities so that retailers and vendors can capitalize on new understandings.  For example, a retailer who habitually reviewed away from home beverage consumption as carbonated beverages versus bottled water could overlook the trend for aseptic packaged milk product consumption and water flavor additives.

The implications can transform a retail store depending on whether its management defines their category as DVD Movies or At-Home Entertainment.  In one situation, they are locked into optimizing the DVD category alone.  In the second, they can evaluate Gaming, Cable Television, Satellite Television, even bar ware!  Defining a category is all about drawing boundaries in the same way your customer does.  So, a customer will ask their family “Which DVD should we watch tonight?” less frequently than they will say “What shall we do tonight?”  Consider the differences in these category definitions: Glues and Paints versus Crafting Supplies, Water Fountains versus Water Features, Party Invitations versus Party Supplies. What should come to mind are the changes in product selection and merchandising in the store that will better anticipate customer needs for these categories.

Category definition needs to be grounded in customer insights that are gained from several sources: affinity purchases uncovered through data mining market basket transactions, primary customer observational research and self-reported customer behavior.  Frankly, affinity analyses can be misleading if retailers do not carry a wide enough breadth of product to be a full solution.  For example, if a limited assortment grocer did an affinity analysis on birthday cakes, it may discover that the customers also purchased ice cream, paper plates and candles.  It could, however, overlook that customers purchased the remainder of their needs (wrapping paper, cards, balloons and invitations) elsewhere.  Primary customer observational research is expensive and time consuming.  Self-reported customer behavior is notoriously inaccurate.

For most retailers, the most cost effective way to discover unbiased customer insights is to review the customer research of their top vendors along with customer research from emerging niche vendors. Niche vendors are usually the first to recognize and exploit new customer patterns. Established vendors less routinely recognize changes in behavior. Their focus on current product lines and customer segments can create blind spots.  Take, for example, the difference between established home cleaning mega-vendors and environmentally-focused cleaning vendors like Mrs. Myers and Seventh Generation in recognizing the growing demand for less chemically-intensive home cleaning products.

For retailers trying to glimpse the future and create a compelling selection that will meet the needs of future customer demand, actively sussing out customer and shopper trends through every resource available is an ongoing endeavor.


Flora Delaney is a retail business executive with corporate savvy. With over 20 years of multi-channel, cross-functional experience, she has consistently delivered strategic projects through change leadership, process design, team mentorship, and IT partnership. Her engaging style inspires high-performance teams within a trustworthy and collaborative atmosphere.

Before starting her consulting career, Flora held various positions in the retail and consumer goods industries including VP of Merchandising and Visual Merchandising for Musicland, Director of Merchant Process Development at Best Buy – where she was awarded a U.S. patent for her work on a promotional dashboard , Director of Category Management at AholdUSA, Director of Business Services at Intactix, Account Manager at Helene Curtis and at ACNielsen.

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Where Does the Director of the Baker Retailing Center Like to Shop?

Barbara Kahn is a Professor of Marketing and Director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. She is an internationally recognized scholar on variety seeking, brand loyalty, retail assortment issues and patient decision-making whose research provides marketing managers with a better understanding of the consumer choice process. We had a chance to pick Barbara’s brain and get some personal insights on her own shopping experiences and retail favorites:

On a recent shopping experience that wowed her: 

I was really impressed with the beautiful changes to Macy’s Herald Square store in NYC. The shoe department there is beautiful. It’s such a large store, anything you could possibly want is there—the assortment is enormous – but it’s not intimidating.


Her favorite retail website: 

My favorite retail website is Burberry’s. I love the art of the trench, I love the fact that they stream their fashion shows on the site. The photography on the site is beautiful. You really get an idea of the DNA of the brand.

burberry website screenshot

The one consumer product she could not live without:

Obviously, my iPhone. It is amazing how much a part of my life it has become. It’s my communications-central, my wallet, maps, camera, alarm clock, the mall, TV, radio, music — you name it, it’s on my phone. I am astonished how quickly iPhones have changed my life – and how everything that is important to me can be in such a tiny little container.

Editor’s Note:

Barbara Kahn

Barbara Kahn

With the addition of online assortment, retailers can now offer almost endless variety. However, is this always a good thing? When is there too much choice? Such that consumers may delay making a choice or opt out altogether?

Barbara will distinguish between actual variety (number of SKUs) and perceived variety (the amount of variety the consumer can embrace) and illustrate strategies that can increase perceived variety while holding actual variety constant at the upcoming 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference during her Keynote Address on Assortment Variety: Too Much of a Good Thing? Using a case history of the online retailer Warby Parker, Barbara will illustrate some of these concepts:

  • Distinguish between actual and perceived variety—remember always measure from the consumer perspective
  • If perceived variety is overwhelming, reduce the complexity of the assortment
  • If perceived variety is underwhelming, increase attraction and effect of the assortment


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The Shopper Insights in Action 2014 Brochure Is Here – Download Your Copy

The 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference is here: SHOPPER STRATEGY & ACTIVATION: Synthesizing Across Platforms, Channels and Partners. The full 2014 agenda is now available – download it here.

This year’s Shopper Insights in Action is resetting expectations and synergizing ecosystems:
• No matter how much we’ve evolved we’re 100% focused on the “IN ACTION”
• The program reflects the evolving strategic role of insights to activation and the roles of all key stakeholders
• The heart and soul SIA: Insights content has not been sacrificed
• We invest in our speakers to give you fresh perspectives
• Collective Action: Collaborate across disciplines to develop strategic activations — no more silos
And on that note, Shopper Insights in Action emerges into a holistic Shopper Strategy Summit with a curated narrative of experience, expertise and new ideas.

Keynotes Include:
Shopper Insights in Action 2014 Keynotes

See all the 2014 Keynotes here 


Commerce Everywhere I Data Slaves Revolution I Shift from Transactional to Interactional I Passion Economy I Phygical: Seamless Blending of Physical and Digital Worlds I Big Data & Super Analytics I Intersection of Big Data & Leadership I Monetizing Millennials I Innovation at the Shelf I From Insights to Actions I The Future of Retail: Defining its Pure Purpose I Selling Like Amazon I Storytelling & Actionable Research Delivery I The Evolution of the Shopper Researcher I Collective Action I From Conceptualization to Design to Implementation I Implement Behavior Design into Shopper Marketing I All Categories are not Created Equal I In-the-Moment Research and much more! See the full brochure here

PLUS, Stories Shared By: AT&T I Nestlé I RadioShack I Green Mountain Coffee Roasters I Ahold USA I Kraft Foods I The Coca-Cola Company I Lowe’s I ULTA Beauty I The Campbell Soup Company I Petco I ConAgra Foods I The Dannon Company I MillerCoors I Henkel I Raley’s Family of Fine Stores I Safeway I Fairway I Meijer I Walt Disney Parks and Resorts I Kimberly-Clark I GSK Consumer Healthcare I Mars Pet Care I Samsung I The Clorox Company I Dean Foods Company I 7-Eleven I Pernod Ricard I Unilever I PepsiCo and many more! See the full 2014 speaker faculty here

This is BIG. Join us at Shopper Insights in Action 2014, July 14-16, 2014, at the Navy Pier, W Chicago.

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