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    Nielsen Consumer 360: Knowing the Why Behind Shoppers

    Initiatives aim to capture the total consumer view

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    Nic Covey explains the mission of Nielsen Ventures in growing innovation.

    As more retailers comprehend the need for shopper behavior data and category management standards evolve to embrace the concept of shopper centricity, it’s becoming easier to answer what is arguably the most important question in modern retailing: why?

    Understanding the motivation behind purchases is essential to staying alive and relevant in retail, and Nielsen displayed several concepts at its Consumer 360 Conference in Las Vegas this week aimed at helping retailers and CPG companies answer the “why” question.

    These concepts were showcased in the Interactive Lounge, a “product playground” where conference attendees could explore the latest tools for managing business performance, including data-driven product development, consumer activation, media planning and measurement, retail execution and sales effectiveness.

    Some examples of solutions that can be tailored to clients' unique needs:

    Homescan Premium: Grown from a couple hundred thousand households about two years ago to a million, making the tool more versatile, explained Nielsen’s Aret Ratyosyan. Showing shopper behavior at retailers across all channels, its longitudinal panel allows for long-term tracking of behavior and offers greater opportunities for retailers to ask broader questions, Ratyosyan said. Combined with loyalty data, the tool offers insights into product trials, store/brand switching and in-store promotions with more precise shopper segmentations.

    Homescan Consumer Moments: This interactive digital dashboard allows retailers to see how purchases are used, bridging the gap between purchase and consumption. From brand and category snapshots that look at dayparts and need states, to occasion analysis, Moments purports to offer a complete view of consumer eating and drinking habits. This new service will link to Nielsen’s Homescan Panel purchase behavior data to bridge behavioral patterns of purchase and consumption.

    Nielsen Ventures: Operating as an incubator for start-ups, Nielsen has invested in 14 companies that are driving innovation. Some are mature enough that some of our largest clients are using them,” said Nielsen’s Nic Covey. Among the ventures: CiValue, which allows customization of loyalty data to create targeted rewards; and Mobilibuy, an image recognition app that allows users to purchase almost anything they can take a picture of with their smartphones.

    Profitero: Monitors the digital shelf and helps brands grow sales and increase or maintain market share. Expanding Nielsen’s e-commerce measurement capabilities, it allows CPG companies to correlate online performance with actual sales data. “It’s providing a level of visibility even to brick-and-mortar players that hasn’t been there,” said Profitero’s Keith Anderson.

    Brandbank: A Nielsen-owned company since 2014 operating overseas, Brandbank is launching in the United States to help retailers and suppliers to capture, manage and distribute product content – including images, ingredient listings and package messaging – that’s optimized for shopper marketing and category planning. “The mission is to create all the content you need for the physical shelf, the digital shelf and print advertising,” said Nielsen’s Natalie Williams.

    Expanding innovation

    The day’s sessions opened with Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns, who asserted that “thinking of innovation only as new products is too narrow.”

    Barns outlined four key types of innovation: product, organizational (making core operations more efficient “to help fund the other innovation”), strategy (e.g. new business models) and management (organizing priorities).

    Linda Filler, president of retail products, and chief marketing and merchandising officer for Walgreen Co., outlined the areas in which the drug store giant is boosting its “happy and healthy” brand promise: unique assortment and customer experience, strengthening customer value, and using omnichannel to create a consistent, seamless shopping experience.

    Tracey Massey, president of Mars Chocolate North America, acknowledged that to keep up with consumer trends can mean “growing into a future that may be different from your past.” In Mars’ case, that means leading the way toward more responsible eating, supporting efforts to reduce overall sugar intake, and creating treats that are more sensible, like Mars’ Goodness Knows, portioned bars containing nuts, fruits and dark chocolate (a PG 2015 Editors’ Pick).

    Massey advised companies to give back to their communities, think long term and take risks to advance good ideas.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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