The naked truth about in-store marketing support
of the natural and organic segment
By Zita Watkin
As demand for natural and organic products grows, e-commerce in the category has become competitive, reinventing how consumers shop beauty and grocery. Searching for natural and organic products online is straightforward, but in the physical store environment, it becomes murkier. How are retailers and brands communicating these products to shoppers? How do shoppers do a physical Google search in a large store? What are the signals in-store to tell them they are on the right track?
There’s no clear answer, especially in big-box stores where natural is not the norm. But there are fabulous examples of in-store marketing experimentation, combined with overall aesthetic POP marketing elements that are subtly but surely driving the consumer connection—the path to natural and organic purchase. Following are examples of how in-store marketing is supporting the segment.
Beauty retailer Sephora positions its Powered By Nature ranges of both skincare and makeup in the middle of the store. Gondola ends and freestanding display units are dressed predominantly in greens and leaves, with lots of references to the ocean, water, and coconuts combined with fresh-faced models. Digital screens and postcard-inspired prints at point of purchase educate fast-minded Millennial shoppers.
Global brand Tarte Cosmetics stands out with POP displays that market natural cosmetics to a glamorous young market through a fusion of contrasting colors and hash-tag promotions. Although there is no wayfinding signage to this brand’s zone, emotional symbolic connections leave no doubt that the shopper is in a natural and organics area.
The Body Shop is a trailblazer in the natural game, so this company is definitely one to watch and learn the tricks of the trade from. As it markets the claim “100% vegetarian and cruelty-free,” The Body Shop’s in-store marketing centers on product contents. “Super foods” become super products for the body. Portrait-orientation digital screens provide content thoughtfully designed for the retail environment.
The Body Shop’s “Powerfully Punchy” ginger campaign introduces promotional products in a fun and engaging way. Ginger—which is not traditionally seen as pretty, so POP creatives would steer away from it—is used as a 3D tree with Ginger Shampoo growing from it. The displays are made from layered recyclable fluted cardboard, aligning with The Body Shop’s natural theme.
Grocery stores have two options for in-store marketing: off-location displays and natural and organic category departments. A combination of interesting off-location concepts grab attention, give back to shoppers, and disrupt status quo. In contrast, shelf displays in designated natural and organic departments seem too quiet and get lost, and the department itself is hard to find.
These departments may tend to blend in because of current aesthetic trends in grocery stores: use of natural-looking materials like woodgrains; a natural look with black signage and natural photography; gourmet-looking zones; and extended use of greenery throughout the store for an organic look. These trends can be seen in most new Aldi, IGA, Coles, and Woolworths stores.
Coles has interesting examples in the fresh department. Shoppers expect to see fresh meals to go, but freestanding display units are starting to promote shelf-stable natural and organic tinned meals like soups in the fresh department. Coles private-label brands also are competing against well-known brands like Campbells. Coles has created a “Wellness Road” for its Simply Healthy Living products. Signage is printed on unbleached brown fluted cardboard, which ties perfectly to the theme.
Woolworths is driving the idea of healthy living with emotive signage and concepts. Giving back to farmers, supporting local, and making responsible choices are clear marketing themes for the natural and organic product ranges in-store. Upon entry, Woolworths shoppers are greeted with “free fruit for kids” displays. This sets the mood for the visit, and makes “natural” a convenient choice from the start of the journey. Distinct “Certified Organic” purple signage within Woolworths “macro whole foods” zones clearly identify organic options. This represents a stamp of authenticity.
Ritchies Supa IGA stores have a high-end boutique feel. Natural and organic products are brought off the shelf and presented on real wood displays throughout the store with strong messaging. For instance, Victoria’s Cobram Estate proudly displays the claim “Tree to Table.”
While retailers are preparing for the growth of natural and organic products, we will continue to see retailers and brands taking advantage of a higher level of experiential natural and organic themes to deliver more organic consumer experiences.
Zita Watkin is marketing, events and memberships manager for Shop! Australia & New Zealand. This report was originally published in Retail World, June 2019.