Shopper Insights Bring Success To Supermarket Retailers

Finland’s largest grocery cooperative depends upon shopper optimization to help plan all aspects of the business, from ordering to merchandising and marketing. With 44% of the total grocery market share in Finland and growing, SOK is committed to an Every Day Low Price (EDLP) strategy, according to Ilkka Alarotu, Director of Consumer Oriented Assortment and Pricing Solutions for SOK Grocery Trade Management, the services entity charged with providing all corporate services to the Finland-based S-Group’s 22 cooperatives and “customer-owners.”

Calling the strategy “Value Chain Optimization,” Alarotu explained to Retail TouchPoints that the company is focused on offering higher quality at a lower price. Using optimization solutions from SAS, the company is able to accomplish this goal.

Space optimization at SOK is separated into three levels: store, sales and display. For the total store layout, the grocer uses shopper insights to analyze total space utilization; in the specific sales areas, SOK uses macro allocation to determine the effectiveness of overall space; and for store displays, micro allocation determines the effectiveness of assortments and space allocation.


In total, SOK produces 40,000 store-based planograms per assortment period, according to Alarotu.

For its newest optimization solution – Pricing Optimization – Alarotu is working to incorporate shopper data into the overall pricing strategy. Analytics will help determine the best combination of prices to improve customer satisfaction and maximize overall margin.

SOK also has integrated social media into its marketing mix. The site provides personalized product recommendations and recipes, tailored based on customer preferences. Using social media analytics, the grocer is able to enhance its overall customer marketing strategy across all channels.

In an upcoming webinar, Alarotu will share the S Group’s successes using shopper insights and analytics. To register for the Wednesday, October 12 webinar titled: “Optimizing Shopper Insights For Grocery Retailers,” click here.

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