In March, finding PPE was nearly impossible. New Yorkers were making masks out of folded bandanas stuffed with coffee filters and hand sanitizer out of aloe vera gel mixed with rubbing alcohol (and were damned lucky to find that!). Even hand soap was nowhere to be found.
Now it’s July and most stores offer multiple SKUs of not only masks, but hand sanitizers, gloves, surface wipes and copper door openers, among other helpful items.
Given the popularity of PPE items, retailers would be wise to curate an in-store destination for PPE shoppers. In too many stores, these products are scattered about near the front of the store. While it is easier to instruct staff to “just find a place, this stuff will sell no matter where it is” – this sentiment is shortsighted.
When similar products are not located together, shopping ceases to become a selection process. Instead, shoppers will likely pick up the first item they find and assume it is their only option. By consolidating PPE items into a featured destination, shoppers are more likely to purchase more than one type of PPE, choose items at higher price points, and help drive store traffic.
Choices mean decisions and product education
With choices comes a hierarchy of decisions and preferred attributes. It has gotten to the point that shoppers need to better understand PPE product specs, current CDC recommendations and usage scenarios. For example, what are the differences between the filtering abilities of a surgical mask vs a three-ply cotton mask? Is one better suited for an outdoor picnic vs indoor exercise?
Does a hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol really work better than one with 60%? The one with 60% smells better.Shoppers need to be taught the most important considerations for these sub-categories, much like they needed to be taught the difference between RAM vs storage when shopping mobile devices. Then there are the personal and aesthetic preferences to consider such as disposable vs reusable, colors vs patterns, etc. Now we are well beyond grab and go behavior. Retailers need to build the experience and educational component of this new category.
Wrangling the Wild West
While there will be fluctuations in the products and quantity any store will get in any given week, creating a general planogram in a consistent store location will improve overall shopping experience and store performance. Envirosell has a long history in helping brands and stores find the perfect location and selection to increase basket size and improve customer satisfaction. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you, or click here to check out our services page.