Saatchi & Saatchi X works with Carrefour to alter consumer shopping behaviour

By Hugh Jordan

October 14, 2011 | 3 min read

Saatchi & Saatchi X has been working with French retail giant, Carrefour to change the way consumers shop.

The shopper marketing agency, part of the Saatchi & Saatchi group, designed the signage and store layout for ‘Carrefour Planet’, a pilot store in Italy the retailer hopes will be to this decade what the hypermarket – another Carrefour invention – was to the Seventies.

Simon Hathaway, CEO for Saatchi & Saatchi X EMEA says the drive to create a new retail experience comes from changing consumer needs and expectations: “People don’t have the time to shop a total store these days,” he told The Drum. “In Carrefour Planet ‘place marketing’ and ‘zoning’ guide the customer around the store.”

Hathaway breaks in-store communications down into three categories: navigation, education and inspiration. Consistency is crucial. Any signage above 2m is for navigational purposes, below 2m signage is there to educate and inspire.

More science than art, Saatchi & Saatchi X has carried out extensive research into the optimum colour schemes for in-store signs. As well as traditional red and yellow ‘sale’ signs, it found black and white signage effective for colour-coding ‘premium’ products and sections of the store.

Zoning in Carrefour Planet demarcates different sections, giving each a distinctive feel. There is a wine tasting area, a mothers and babies section, seating placed near the books - "It will feel more like a bookshop rather than an aisle with books," says Hathaway. Consumers are made to feel as though they are moving through boutique retail areas rather than a monolithic... well, hypermarket.

All well and good, but does any of this actually increase sales?

Carrefour Planet only opened last month so there is no meaningful data yet. However, Hathaway says the in-store communications used in Carrefour Planet evolved from a signage project carried out by Saatchi X at other Carrefour stores.

“That signage project increased sales by 7%, and we’d expect to see something similar at Carrefour Planet,” says Hathaway. “If customers are able to make their way around the store more easily and recognise the types of products they want more quickly, that will drive basket size.”

It’s a methodology that seems to fly in the face of the Ikea-esque get-them-in-and-trap-them mentality; whole Sundays spent struggling to find an exit. Only time will tell if Carrefour Planet is successful.

One thing is clear. Retailers without developed online presences will need to push experiential aspects of their stores ahead of convenience if they are to compete with virtual services. And Carrefour is attempting to do just that.


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