Transaction Zones - An Industry Perspective

We all know that the food industry finds us wherever we are - be it at the supermarket checkout line, Home Depot or any number of home good, hardware, computer or other stores that sell candy and other snacks as secondary items.

And now Mars Chocolate and Wrigley have enlightened us even more about where, why and how they are reaching consumers through these "transaction zones."  These, of course, constitute impulse buys, and Mars understands what gets an individual to reach for something they maybe didn't even realize they wanted or needed.  

"According to the companies, the front end remains critical and the largest impulse area of the store, but shoppers also are checking out via other transaction zones, including the pharmacy, cafe, on their mobile phones and via “buy on-line, pick-up in store” models. As shopping continues to evolve, retailers and manufacturers must increase conversion of impulse items across all transaction zones, regardless of channel, Wrigley and Mars said.  

They go on to explain that the checkout is the "emotional low" and to take advantage of a customer in this state, they focus on three ideas: Refresh, Reward, Remind.  Refresh and Reward are of most interest to me, as they focus on selling snacks, chocolate and other treats (rather than batteries or shampoo, for example).  Refresh might be items like gum or drinks, while Reward are items like chocolate or candy.  Together, these two concepts, Mars explains, should occupy 90 percent of total checkout space. 

There's no escaping it.

At a time when individuals are increasingly concerned about their health, and retailers are starting to figure out how to market nutritious foods to their customers, this mindset seems like a step into the past.  Next time you're in the supermarket (or for that matter checking out almost anywhere), take note of what's available at the checkout line.