Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 30

PERFORMANCE-AT-RETAIL

THE TOTAL RETAIL PACKAGE
Performance-at-retail firm The Central Group knows well-designed
packaging and displays aren't enough-it's about moving more product
out the door
BY STUART FOXMAN
TUCKED into a nondescript building, in a Mississauga, ON business park, is one of Canada's most intriguing retail workshops
and test centres. It's called the ROI Lab, but everyone at The Central Group describes it as "the retail sandbox".
"It's where our customers play with ideas, from packaging to
planograms to aisle flow concepts-anything that effects sales of
a product within a retail environment," says Al Cussen, the company's Vice-President of Retail.
The 4,000 square-foot ROI Lab mimics that environment. Using
retail specifications, its aisles are filled with actual products, from
food and beverage to health and beauty care. Large-scale graphics
along the perimeter, depicting other sections, add to the sensation
that you're in an actual store. Currently, the ROI Lab is set up as a
grocery store, but it can easily be refashioned into other retail formats, like a pharmacy or do-it-yourself store.
In this lab, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies put
their products or displays under Central's version of a microscope.
Working with Central's design and research team, clients can
validate in-store concepts or see them in a new light. Qualitative
and quantitative tests include live shoppers, reviews of new technologies and neuromarketing evaluations.
Before joining Central this year, Cussen spent over 30 years on
the retail side. In his previous roles-including private label grocery development for Walmart, merchandising for Sam's Club, and
merchandising, marketing and operations for Loblaw Companies
Ltd.-he had been in many testing facilities. He says the ROI Lab "is
like nothing I've ever seen." Test shoppers have even been known to
head towards an aisle that's really a pictorial.
"The labs I go into are usually very sterile," says Cussen. "There
are generic white walls, and you know someone is behind a twoway mirror. In our lab, the customer walks in and has a feeling of
shopping in a real environment."
Do shoppers forget where they are? "They don't forget they're
in a lab," says Cussen, "but they do forget they're being watched.
So they're truly reacting."

30 |

canadian retailer | summer 2014 | www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

Real-life environments eliciting real-life reactions.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014

Publisher's Desk
Retail Currents
Food for Thought: The State of Canadian Grocery
Driving Sales With Personalized Advertising
Come One, Come All
Unsure About the Future
Education Leading to Organic Growth
The Total Retail Package
Advertiser's Index
Retail Quick Tips
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - cover1
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - cover2
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 3
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Publisher's Desk
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 5
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Retail Currents
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 7
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 8
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 9
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Food for Thought: The State of Canadian Grocery
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 11
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 12
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 13
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 14
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 15
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Driving Sales With Personalized Advertising
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 17
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 18
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Come One, Come All
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 20
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 21
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 22
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Unsure About the Future
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 24
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 25
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Education Leading to Organic Growth
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 27
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 28
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 29
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - The Total Retail Package
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 31
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 32
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 33
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 34
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 35
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 36
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Advertiser's Index
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Retail Quick Tips
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - cover3
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - cover4
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