Perception Research Services’ analysis of wins and losses at the shelf also has clear implications for packaging research. Most important, it confirms that shelf-based measures are most predictive of in-market success. This speaks to the importance of properly evaluating the shelf presence of new packaging systems, and it involves:
• Creating a realistic shelf context by setting up a physical shelf set and/or a nearly life-size, two-dimensional context, rather than viewing a shelf set of packages on a computer monitor.
• Applying the right measures in the analysis, such as behavioral measures of visibility and shop-ability (rather than brand recall, which is not a relevant or predictive measure for packaging studies).
• Ideally, showing design systems on shelf at the earlier/siphoning stages of packaging development (i.e. qualitative research), allowing shop-ability concerns to be identified and addressed.
A related point is properly emphasizing shelf-based performance, relative to more common measures (appeal, claimed purchase interest, etc.), which are often emphasized and prioritized in research, yet are less predictive of in-market success. In other words, researchers need to focus more on what people see and can shop from on the shelf, and less on what people like.