Testing Before Rollout

To keep store environments fresh and appealing, and respond to changes in consumer buying habits and expectations, retailers must focus on getting the most out of their store planning efforts. Many brands are now testing major strategy shifts and slowly reinventing entire categories over time. Instead of one big rollout, they are smartly checking the effectiveness in strategically chosen test markets.

These pilot programs are now trending because they do the heavy lifting without the commitment. Brands can analyze the sales lift (or lack thereof) and conduct intricate market research.

There are many different ways to test a new strategy in a curated group of stores:

  • Test a new product
  • Try new ways to display a product
  • Instill co-branding efforts, does it make sense to consumers?
  • Move a category to a different area on the sales floor
  • Test a store-within-a-store
  • Change up your brand packaging
  • Install self-checkout lanes
  • and more!


Johnson & Johnson tested this hero statement in stores and analyzed sales lifts based on the specialized display.

Recently, an unlikely partnership unfolded between Macy’s and Best Buy. In the last few years, Best Buy has seen success in allocating store space to other brands to improve the shopping experience and to maximize their floor pad. Now Macy’s will be trying a similar strategy with, you guessed it, Best Buy. Beginning in early November, Macy’s will have small, 300-square-foot Best Buy “boutiques” in a portion of their stores. If the test does well, they will implement the store-within-a-store method in their 800+ stores across the country.

Target has also begun to test an overhaul in their grocery department, making it “more of a destination instead of an afterthought.” Rather than flipping all 1,800+ stores right away, they are beginning with a small handful, even if it takes them until 2017 instead of 2016 as originally planned.

This thoughtful take on transformations will do these brands well in the long run. Piloting a major change is a great way to dip your toes into a major change before making the jump completely. It gives you a methodic way of analyzing its success before you rush into changes that may not be the right fit.

The next time you want to make a dramatic change but aren’t sure how consumers will react, take it for a test drive before you make an expensive and time-consuming update. Partner with Imagine! to create limited quantities of your print or packaging and we’ll work with you to get it right before you unveil the updates to the marketplace.