find out if the juice is worth the squeeze

Developed by the Wake Forest University School of Business and its Center for Analytics Impact, the Retail Learning Lab leverages a designated set of Lowes Foods stores across the Carolinas to test innovative retail approaches.

Working with some of the world's most prominent brands, the Retail Learning Lab measures the impact of category disruption.

eliminate guesswork with dynamic, in-market testing

By utilizing a set of test stores and comparing transactional data, category changes can be measured against matched control stores. The program also enables customers to be interviewed in the moment, capturing responses along the shopper journey. 

Learning Lab engagements provide clear insight to: 

  • New product introductions
  • Planogram changes
  • Merchandising impact
  • Optimal store location; and
  • Basket analysis

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experiment with multiple planograms
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try out different pricing strategies
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test different locations in store
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engage with buyers that closely represent nationwide demographics
retail learning lab
bellomy retail learning lab cold drinks display

The Retail Learning Lab allows the integrated research team to triangulate the client’s problem by analyzing actual test/control transaction analysis combined with “in-the-moment” qualitative discussions. 

case study: redefining the shelf set for the complex Broth + Stock category

the challenge

The Broth + Stock category is complicated and often frustrating for customers. You think you’re going to buy chicken broth, but you’re faced with multiple options like reduced sodium, organic, free range, chicken stock (vs broth), unsalted vegetable stock, chicken bone broth... you get the idea.

the approach

QUALIFY 
Bellomy researchers and moderators engaged with customers at Lowes Foods locations. They found the first word listed on customers’ shopping lists when they’re shopping for broth or stock is the flavor: beef, chicken, vegetable, etc. This turned out to be the top of the customer decision tree.

QUANTIFY
Bellomy heard from hundreds of people across the country via online surveys to validate findings from the qualitative interviews. Researchers discovered how few actually know the difference between stock and broth. (Do you?) And they repeatedly heard how overwhelming and confusing the category shopping experience is. 

TRANSLATE 
Next, Bellomy led a workshop with McCormick to review the research and sales data and determine how to move forward in the category. Together, they developed two new planogram options. 

TEST
Using nine Retail Learning Lab stores, Bellomy tested the planograms with real transaction data. They utilized three control stores, three test stores set with the flavor-informed planogram, and three stores set with the flavor-and-form planogram.

Over an eight-week period, Inmar and Bellomy analyzed over 12,000 category purchases for the test, evaluating transactions at the basket and shopper level. Researchers also conducted in-store ethnographies with category shoppers, comparing both the control and test planograms. With the flavor-focused planogram, many recognized the nature of the organization and displayed the desired reaction: exploration!  

 

the result

The optimized flavor planogram increased average brand and category sales by 15%. By organizing the shelf space in a way that matched shoppers' needs, consumers explored other products in the category and increased both basket size and basket spend. 

With double-digit growth across the category in the test, McCormick is armed to share these findings with retailers nationwide, positioning itself as a category thought leader.


The Wake Forest Retail Learning Lab is the result of a unique partnership among Wake Forest’s Center for Analytics Impact, Lowes Foods, Bellomy Research, Inmar, and WestRock — designed to provide real-time, real-world in-store insights on shopper behavior.

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