Shopper Marketing - February 2018 - 50
50 WHO'S WHO IN MERCHANDISING
SHOPPER MARKETING FEBRUARY 2018
NORSWORTHY: In 2010, Nestle Purina launched a pet
care department redesign in supermarkets that was
called "Open Air." The department was transformed
into a more shoppable department, and shoppers
were presented with a completely new pet supplies
assortment of 800 items previously only found in pet
stores. I led the pre-research with shoppers utilizing
virtual reality and the design phase of the department
with design ﬁrm 10 Red, as the execution phase with
multiple suppliers engaged. I also recruited pet supplies distributor Central Pet to provide direct-storedelivery service for the initial test store. The Open Air
project was hugely successful, growing sales for the
total category and enhancing margins due to pet supplies sales increases. Shoppers also spent an average
of 40 seconds longer in the aisle browsing, and it was
determined that the Open Air design converted incremental households for the category.
Photo by Whitney Curtis
NESTLE PURINA PETCARE: GREG NORSWORTHY,
Retail Experience Director, North America
reg Norsworthy's career in merchandising
began more than 20 years ago when he was
an account executive for Nestle Purina Petcare. After several years in category leadership
roles, he became very interested in the retail environment. It was evident to him that pet care environments
were lacking in presentation and experience. They had
no emotional connection to pet-owning households.
So, he worked with one of his clients, a major grocery
chain, to completely reinvent the pet care department.
The result was double-digit sales growth and a drastic
elevation at Purina Petcare for Norsworthy to a directorlevel role.
The move created new work and a new team at Purina
focused on retail presentation that has now been part of
the company for more than 20 years. Today, Norsworthy focuses on designing retail pet care experiences at
both the category and brand levels, working with category teams, retailers and various Purina Petcare brands.
How does Purina Petcare deﬁne success for its instore marketing programs?
NORSWORTHY: Not to make this too simple, but our
solutions must grow the total category and drive increased household conversion and sales. Because that's
really what we're all after. We're in a category that's still
growing marginally, so to be able to drive new households is an awfully big opportunity right now.
How has the emergence of the omnichannel
shopper inﬂuenced your overall approach to
NORSWORTHY: Shoppers desire a faster and more
convenient experience in the store. The structure and
layout of the department has to be more intuitive based
on their wants and needs. For example, small dog owners only want products for small dogs. They don't have
the time to deselect hundreds of items prior to finding
their product in store. If retail stores don't improve the
experience, shoppers will gravitate toward online.
Has that insight caused you to segment the
products more clearly in stores?
NORSWORTHY: Yes. That's deeply in development
right now. We're seeing a disproportionate growth in
small dog ownership. But if you walk into a store looking for something for a small dog right now, good luck.
What are the important characteristics of a
mutually beneﬁcial merchandising collaboration
between a manufacturer and retailer?
NORSWORTHY: The mutual objective really is to cre-
ate relationships with valuable shoppers and to grow
the category profitably through value-added solutions
that enhance the shopping experience and trade up
shoppers. I heard a major retailer say once, if we could
fire shoppers, we would. It's that 80/20 rule. The key
mutual objective is to create those relationships with
our most valuable shoppers.
How has merchandising changed in recent years?
What trends are happening now?
NORSWORTHY: The power has really shifted to the
shopper. Many times, the purchase decision is made
prior to the retail store. Research indicates 69% of
shoppers are frustrated with their shopping experience. That's across all channels. We're developing
solutions that assist shoppers with finding a product
faster. If a shopper finds a product within the first 10
seconds, they're likely to buy more products on that
What role do you foresee the physical store
playing in the future?
NORSWORTHY: I believe the physical store will be
important in building awareness with shoppers for the
overall category. Key retailers will utilize the physical
store to enhance conversion for categories like pet care,
but they will also offer expanded selections for food,
supplies and services online or what we call the endless
aisle. Generally, stores will be smaller in the future, so
a hybrid approach of the physical store and an online
transaction will be required to remain relevant.
What do you see as the keys for success in the
category moving forward?
NORSWORTHY: I think we're at a point where you
have to be extremely successful in the brick-and-mortar physical space and the online space to win in the
category. More families are adopting pets. So it's a great
time to be a pet, and it's a great time to be in the pet
care business. It's just highly competitive, and I think
that the online experience has brought new competition to the category. It's forcing new work, if you will.
- Chris Gelbach
NORSWORTHY: The shopability of heavy items, such
as bags of dog food, are a concern with shoppers in retail stores. Once pet food displays are shopped down,
it's difficult and even unsafe to lift heavy bags into the
cart for shoppers. The pallet lift merchandiser provides
an enhanced shopping experience that keeps larger
bags of pet food always available at the optimal 30inch height, with automated sensors that lift the display when it is shopped below 30 inches. It saves the
retailer labor costs because once the pallet is loaded
with a typical retail pallet jack, the product remains
shoppable until all the pet food bags are purchased.
The pallet lift merchandiser also provides a safer shopping experience. Its large graphic panels have proven
to drive category and brand awareness. Sales increases have been between 15% and 30% for a typical twoto four-week merchandising program, versus a typical
endcap display. The pallet lift is relatively new to the
retail industry, but it is a very promising solution for
pallet-driven promotions across the retail landscape.