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ACNielsen's Expanded Homescan Consumer Panel Probes Store Loyalty

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - With the expansion of its U.S. Homescan consumer panel, ACNielsen is offering a new service that quantifies the impact of shoppers' attitudes on their loyalty to specific chains and stores, the company announced yesterday.

ACNielsen, a VNU business, said it has completed the first phase of an aggressive expansion of its U.S. Homescan consumer panel, bringing the panel size up to 91,500 households. A second phase is planned to increase the size of the panel to 125,000 households by the end of 2005.

With the expanded panel now in operation, ACNielsen is introducing Shopper Trends, a retailer equity segmentation service that quantifies the impact of shoppers' attitudes on their loyalty to specific chains and stores, thus enabling retailers to better capitalize on their marketing programs, find new ways to attract more consumers, and maximize their sales opportunities.

Shopper Trends applies Winning Brands, ACNielsen's brand-equity segmentation service, to retailer equity and links it to the Homescan panel. The segmentation can be performed by region, local market, or retailer-defined trade area to provide a deeper understanding of how factors such as a retailer's price, quality, and selection affect shopper loyalty.

"We recognize the value and impact Homescan has on understanding our customers," said Giant Eagle director of merchandising systems Diane Roberts in an ACNielsen press release issued yesterday. "With Homescan information used as part of our category management process, we have a true picture of our customers and their shopping behavior. Without it, that picture is incomplete."

To date, almost 50 companies, including retailers and consumer product manufacturers, have signed on as clients of the Homescan MegaPanel, with the first insights scheduled to be delivered next month.

The expanded panel will allow for the development of specialty panels consisting of households with babies, households with teens, and others, ACNielsen announced. The MegaPanel will also allow for improved sales measurement within fast-growing retail channels such as mass merchandisers, dollar stores, warehouse clubs stores, and pet specialty stores.

Other new Homescan services made possible by the MegaPanel include:

-- New Product Alert, which will provide new insights into the motivation behind consumer purchases of new products and an early indication of a brand's potential for success;

-- Expanded insights into the rapidly growing African-American population;

-- The Shopper Optimizer model, developed with the ACNielsen Centers of Excellence advanced modeling and analytics group, which helps determine the best product assortment using new measures such as cumulative penetration and sales concentration;

-- New local markets (now totaling 29) and retailer trading areas (165).
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