Raising the Bar High
The Coca-Cola Co.’s bid to lure grocery shoppers back down the beverage aisle is the new Beverage Aisle Reinvention (BAR) system, an innovation that affects the entire sparkling beverage category, not just Coca-Cola brands. According to the Atlanta-based company, the transformation includes such elements as signage, organization, intentional lighting, fixture enhancements, all of which aim to enhance the shopping experience.
Currently being tested at Coca-Cola’s Shopper Experience Innovation Center (SEIC), BAR reorganizes the sparkling beverage aisle into defined brand zones. Color, signage and a variety of other elements and techniques work in concert to provide shoppers with a better shopping experience. Further, the system employs existing shelving equipment, lowering added cost and allowing for immediate scale.
“For the last two decades, the grocery industry has focused its innovation on the store perimeter,” notes Ron Hughes, director of shopper experience innovation, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “It’s time to entice shoppers back into center store. We used shopper insights to completely reinvent the entire sparkling beverage aisle to deliver an irresistible shopping experience in a way that will drive profitable growth.”
“We believe an opportunity exists to drive traffic down the aisle and create a completely new approach with the BAR system,” added Ilene Grimes, director, large store planning and development, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “It enables retailers to not only invite shoppers to visit, but also entices them to return.”
BAR features include the following:
- 2-Liter Neck Hanging System: In response to shoppers at Coca-Cola focus groups who said they have difficulty lifting heavier 2-liter bottles on the top shelf, an overhead neck hanging system mounts to the existing gondola, lowering access to 2-liter bottles by about 4 inches, thereby making them easier for shoppers to reach and remove. The neck-hanging feature also effectively doubles the amount of shoppable 2-liter inventory, is easy to load, automatically rotates bottles and minimizes the appearance of out-of-stock product.
- Navigation Blades: Vertical signage blades jut slightly into the aisle, bringing more visual structure to better define the aisle by brand and improve aisle navigability. Brand graphics on a wood texture evoke warmth and reinforce the at-home meal occasion.
- Brand Shelf Set: To help shoppers navigate by color, as well as to raise awareness of the package size variety, all brands are organized in vertical sections. From a distance, shoppers can spot distinct color blocks, enabling them to find their preferred brands more easily. Up close, all packages for a given brand appear in one top-to-bottom arrangement, with the most profitable packages placed in the arm-level “strike zone” area.
- Strike Zone System With Energy-efficient Technology: An arm-level horizontal zone spotlights a wider range of packages that are frequently missed by shoppers who usually shop for 12-pack and 2-liter packages. Eye-catching electroluminescent panels provide lighted messaging, while under-shelf lights add interest to the aisle. Both technologies convert electrical power to visible light without heat. Further, information blades strategically placed in the strike zone highlight product information and call out pricing, and shelf wedges ensure products face forward for a continuous in-stock appearance.
- Headers: The signage across the top of the shelves, positioned slightly downward to improve visibility, with a concave curve to eliminate glare, serves as a visual anchor to lead shoppers to the brands they want and help link brands to meal and snack occasions.
- Shelf Strips: Color-coded shelf strips reinforce the color blocking along the horizontal shelving space and add to the clean, organized look that makes the aisle inviting and easy to shop.
- End Caps: Boasting electroluminescent lighting, lifestyle graphics, and reconfigurable, adjustable shelves that can accommodate all package types, these bold displays are designed attract attention, drive impulse purchases and increase aisle traffic.
BAR is one of several new concepts to emerge from the SEIC, which is developing a series of insights-driven solutions designed to drive growth and loyalty for Coca-Cola and its customers. The facility offers two retail environments that can be adapted into realistic-scale, customizable outlets for any retail channel.