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    Study: C-store Signage Has Tough Time Grabbing Consumers' Attention

    Five-step D.R.I.V.E. analysis helps retailers identify ways to break through.

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Convenience store shoppers are focused on quick in-and-out trips, which means that merchandising must work extra hard to catch their attention, according to the results from General Mills Convenience & Foodservice consumer insights team's latest survey of convenience shoppers, which explored the types of signage and messages that are most likely to break through in stores.

    The survey was completed by 130 c-store customers, aged 18 to 54, via mobile phones while making a normal visit to a c-store during the last two weeks of October 2013. After paying, survey participants took photos and answered questions about signs or displays that stood out to them in some way. This qualitative/quantitative approach allowed the opportunity to not only ask consumers about their experiences, but to look for patterns across the images of merchandising that consumers uploaded, General Mills stated.

    More than half of consumers (51 percent) stated that no signs at all caught their attention, demonstrating just how difficult it is to break through. Only 18 percent said a sign or promotion motivated them to make an impulse purchase. The signage elements that did catch their attention included being easy-to-read (79 percent); colorful (65 percent); informative (65 percent); a product they love (56 percent); and offers a good value (49 percent).

    After reviewing the consumer photos and input, General Mills Convenience & Foodservice derived five key areas, summarized by the acronym D.R.I.V.E, that capture consumer attention in the store:

    • D: Design. High contrast, bold and contrasting colors, and appealing photography.
       
    • R: Route. Merchandising needs to be placed in the highest traffic areas.
       
    • I: Immediacy. Promote immediate-gratification items and deals. Build urgency to act now.
       
    • V: Value. Consumers notice prices, and deals and freebies catch their attention.
       
    • E: Execution. If you are going to promote it, it needs to be in stock. Stockouts and poorly maintained shelves turn consumers off.

    "Consumers are in the store for just a minute or two, so signage needs to be easy-to read, colorful and feature a clear call-to-action," said Chris Quam, consumer insights manager for General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. "The message needs to be grasped in an instant. Consumers need to know that if they take advantage of the offer, they'll get value for their money and purchasing won't slow them down. Speed is the name of the game."

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