Shelf test: Succeeding in the competitive environment


When launching a new product or revising the packaging design of a proven classic, the success or failure of the new packaging design is decided at the point of sale. An attractive positioning and an assertive packaging are decisive for the success at the POS. Since purchasing decisions at the POS are usually made quickly and without reflection, the packaging must catch the eye at first glance and stand out against competing products.


So the key questions are: Do customers even notice the new packaging? How is the look of the new design, does it stand out among the other products? In our test procedure, we observe shoppers as they react to your product on the test shelf. The results provide you with reliable optimization suggestions for presentation and design, and positioning.

Testing in a realistic environment


At the beginning of the interview, a shelf test is carried out in which the respondents are shown the corresponding pack alternative in a realistic competitive environment, depending on the cell. In addition to initial indications of purchase-stimulating effects and communication performance, this provides information about the spontaneous impact or attention-grabbing power of the package. The exact gaze sequence can be measured with eye tracking.


The packaging is then assessed in detail. Here, among other things, overall acceptance, likes/dislikes, willingness to buy, etc. are surveyed. The different communication effects of the packaging, e.g. in terms of appearance or target groups, are initially analyzed unaided by additional open questions.


Likewise, in the course of the survey, the communicated product and usage characteristics as well as possible target groups are determined on a scaled basis in addition to the packaging impression (e.g. appealing, modern, etc.).


In a simulated purchase, first and second choices are queried with rationale to understand unique preferences and their causes.


Another object of investigation that can play an important role, especially for the new package layout, is brand fit. Does the new design fit the brand at all? How do consumers feel about it? The survey determines which factors support or work against the brand fit.


At the end of the interview, alternative packaging designs can also be presented. In this way, the strengths, weaknesses and optimization potential of several designs can once again be worked out particularly clearly in comparison with each other.

Online shelf test for quick results without dummy creation


Of course, we can also perform the test online at the virtual shelf. The virtual shelf test is ideal when quick results are needed or when, for example, the creation of cost-intensive dummies is not possible because tests are to be carried out in several locations/countries at the same time.


The online shelf test allows the same interaction virtually as with a real shelf. Each respondent can take products from the shelf, view them in detail from all sides, and additionally zoom in on product texts and images. Depending on how much they like the product, they can put it back on the shelf or collect it in the shopping basket if they are interested in buying it. Each process is tracked and recorded for later analysis.


Since true-to-the-original images of both the test product and the competitor products are displayed, including the price, there are numerous possible applications: New package designs can be tested, prices and price thresholds can be measured, new displays can be checked and purchase decision paths can be traced.


Advantages of virtual shelf testing


Compared to the classic shelf test in the studio, the online variant offers a number of advantages. For example, the virtual test eliminates the usually high costs of producing dummies or prototypes. Moreover, the search and orientation behavior of the test subjects on the shelf, their product contacts and decisions are recorded without gaps.


Furthermore, modified package variants or even new competitor products can be quickly integrated into the test. The fieldwork can also be carried out independently of location with large samples in a relatively short time. The sample can be recruited with a broad geographical spread and the organization and preparation of the study is also comparatively short.


Through a shelf test, you can reliably determine the impact and chances of success of your new or optimized product design!