DS Smith and GlaxoSmithKline partner to track shopper behavior

Healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has used DS Smith’s Impact Centre in Erlensee, Germany to have its packaging and displays scientifically tested for advertising effectiveness.
At DS Smith’s Erlensee facility, brand manufacturers can examine the effect of their products, packaging and displays

Holistic studies, which DS Smith conducts in cooperation with market research companies, are intended to provide authentic insights into the buying behavior of shoppers and their experiences with brands at the point of sale. All aspects of the shopper experience can be investigated – from the design of packaging and displays to their placement, and the effectiveness of multi-sensory approaches. The realistic retail environment, including warehousing and logistics, visualizes all touch points of product packaging and displays: from the packaging process through warehouse logistics to the sales floor.

In contrast to conventional market tests in supermarkets or chemists, the person being tested can be observed in the realistically simulated retail environment of the Impact Centre. By using eye tracking and video recordings, the test participant can be asked about their test purchases, habits and preferences in individual interviews immediately afterwards, without any distractions or disturbances.

At DS Smith’s Erlensee facility, brand manufacturers can examine the effect of their products, packaging and displays. During test purchases, the shoppers’ eye movements and the duration of their gaze are recorded using eye-tracking glasses. In addition, video recordings document the behavior of the test participant.

Evaluation of the data in combination with a subsequent survey of the shoppers provides reliable information on a wide variety of factors, according to DS Smith. The prototype with the highest market potential as well as the optimal placement and presentation on the retail shelf can be determined in this way.

During its visit, GSK investigated which packaging variant on the shelf helps the shoppers to orient themselves more easily and makes them pick up the products more frequently.

Ralf Matje, insight manager at GSK, explained: ‘At DS Smith’s Impact Centre, we can carry out field studies faster and with fewer resources than in real retail markets. The location offers everything we need for our market research – from the characteristic shopping atmosphere of a typical retail environment to the necessary technology and facilities for interviews.’

Anja Röhrle, marketing and communication manager at DS Smith, commented: ‘The Impact Centre shows clear advantages over only virtual shelf tests, which considerably limit the multi-sensory experience of the brand. Here the test participant can perceive displays and packaging with all their senses, just like in a real supermarket.’

Martin Greb, creative consultant and Impact Centre manager at DS Smith, concluded: ‘Grasping the psychological buying habits of the shopper and their behavior at the shelves plays a decisive role in developing products and effective packaging. A visit to the Impact Centre also gives brand manufacturers the opportunity to find new approaches for optimisation and innovation within their supply cycles. We provide real added value for our customers by sharing with them our extensive knowledge of packaging trends and developments in retailing.

‘Since the sales areas in retail trade are limited and the variety of products is growing inexorably, those who know where and how shoppers are most likely to choose their own product have a clear advantage.’