What is a Clean Store Policy?

Raymond Fodiman Picture

by Raymond Fodiman | Last Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Going shopping is a mission. Consumers  enter the store with a list in hand, going up and down the aisles until everything is checked off. Zipping through the aisles, consumers are likely sticking with the brands they are familiar with or adjusting their purchase based on price.  Put yourself in their shoes: let’s say you’re looking to buy more peanut butter for yourself or your family. You will likely  buy the same brand you did last time, the brand you and your family know and love. Maybe you’re shopping on a budget and choosing the cheaper brand, or perhaps you splurge on the more expensive brand you’ve heard about. But what else might influence this decision?  Perhaps the consumer has seen some ads on TV, streaming sites, social media, or even a newspaper or magazine that might affect their purchasing decisions. Maybe they are drawn to certain brands’ packaging. But beyond that,  it is the role of the shopper marketer to disrupt the aisle, influencing the purchasing behavior of in-store consumers, driving sales for their brand.   Floor talkers and shelf talkers work to communicate brands’ messages and differentiators in the aisle. In-store displays deploy bells and whistles to draw consumers to their brand, product, or a partnership or product launch. Sometimes these in-store promotions offer coupons or discounts. But, mainly, brands are vying for consumers’  attention. Now, when each brand is working to drive sales, you can imagine how noisy it could get in the aisle. Putting yourself back in the consumers’  shoes, you might feel overwhelmed by all the noise in the aisle. You’ll likely reach a point where you  ignore all the noise, and like we said earlier, just choose the brand you know and love.  Putting yourself in the retailers’ shoes, you are likely frustrated by an unenjoyable shopper experience and likely annoyed  by their cluttered aisles. Clean store policies are born out of this frustration. Retailers want a streamlined customer experience, they want neat stores and want to consolidate in-store communication. This typically means no shelf talkers, floor talkers,  end-cap displays, nor  in-store promotions.  Going back to our earlier example, the peanut butter brand might have a floor talker highlighting that they have  crunchy and smooth peanut butter. Maybe they have a shelf talker that offers a “buy one jar get one 50 percent off” deal. Then down the aisle, they might have an end-cap display featuring their new product: peanut butter & jelly swirl in a jar. Again they are using the in-aisle space to communicate with consumers.  In a clean store there  is none of this – no signs on the floor or shelf to grab the attention of the shopper.  No fun displays that lure consumers in to interact with your brand.  Retailers are exercising their agency to limit product promotion in the physical landscape of their stores. Clean store policies challenge shopper marketers to promote their products in the digital landscape. Therefore it is imperative for marketers to innovate their in-store promotion - whether it be a mobile opt-in to the brand community or product recommendation questionnaire - to circumvent the limiting powers of clean store policy.

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