Happy new year! For the education team at the IDDBA with the new year comes our annual biggest challenge. In just a few short days, the planning meetings for What’s in Store Live will begin and with the meetings comes the challenge. Challenge, you ask? Well, maybe that is a strong word. Allow me to back up.
What’s in Store Live is a big project- for IDDBA 2020, we have 25,000 square feet of show floor with which to execute a compelling area of forward-thinking merchandising. Our stated long-term goal is to showcase multiple ideas and concepts that retailers can leverage to increase basket size and grow sales in their departments. Often this is tactical, sometimes it is more inspirational. Our secondary goal is to bring the research that we highlight in What’s in Store to the show, essentially making trend reporting actionable for our attendees.
This is not easy.
Any of us in education could tell you what is going on in the industry landscape. It is part of our jobs to stay current and engaged. Frankly, it’s pretty interesting work. It’s the connection between the trend and actionable, executable at retail or in a manufacturing-setting work that becomes the challenge. Sure, snacking is a trend. In fact, it is starting to defy trendiness in that it shows no signs of abatement and therefore is just becoming the norm. We can certainly build a case of small format offerings, highlight the research that supports snacking as a trend and call it a day. In fact, some of the small format offerings are unusual, even interesting and we leveraged packaging in a context that is unique, divergent from its original purpose and will certainly draw a consumer’s eye. The challenge remains, though, in how to take the more complex trend work and have it show up in a way that is applicable to our attendees.
For example, we have been trying to highlight some consumer demographic work as a lens to filter store offerings. To that end, we created three personas that embody macro trends by generation. We brought them to the show floor last year and highlighted their differences, preferences and buying choices with some signage. This year’s challenge is to take that further- should we set a whole case with bold flavors in convenient packaging thus appealing to the predominate trends of both Millennial (bold flavors) and Gen X (convenience)? Would that ever fly in a real retail environment? Is there a mix of demographic-specific offerings that would round out a case and appeal to most people? Can we make specific recommendations? What will resonate and bring people back next year?
While I can’t promise that What’s in Store Live is going to foretell the future this year, I can promise that we are actively working toward presenting the future, analyzing the data and asking the questions. We want our attendees to walk through the space and see merchandising they haven’t seen before and bring back some of the work to their work in a way that moves everyone forward. Basically, challenge accepted.