Retail Express took an exclusive look at Ferrero’s Shopper Experience Centre to find out how it is helping convenience retailers.

The Centre contains two physical stores that can be branded and merchandised, as well as a central room that uses virtual reality to test category advice and PoS.

In the past year, Ferrero has held meetings with different retailers to help them improve their children’s confectionery, boxed chocolate, spreads and general confectionery ranges.

The boxed chocolate advice is backed by research into what the reasons shoppers buy boxed chocolates for. These include needing something simple, something to share or something to buy as a gift.

This allows the fixtures to be merchandised from less expensive products to premium.

Levi Boorer, customer development director for Ferrero, told Retail Express: “This category strategy now defines what we do because it allows us to understand gaps in the market and whether we have too many products catering to one specific need.”

Here are five things you can learn from Ferrero’s research

1) Boxed chocolates is confusing. You should make it simple by stocking the most premium and expensive items at the top and less expensive gifts at the bottom.

2) Single-flavoured products like Ferrero Rocher are usually given to share and assorted chocolate and more likely to be bought as a gift just for them.

3) In spreads, the products that are in growth are the ones that are versatile. “People are eating less bread but doing more cooking and baking with spreads,” says Boorer.

4) Cross-promotions, like premium chocolates with flowers for Mother’s Day or wine next to chocolate, can encourage your shoppers to pick up extra items.

5) Virtual reality is going to become more common. “We’re looking to develop our VR capability further and would like to take Retailers on a tour of what we would consider to being a best practice store,” says Boorer.