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Smurfit Kappa reveals multi-million euro marketing opportunity missed by brands

27 November 2014

Analysis published today by Smurfit Kappa, one of the world’s leading packaging companies, has highlighted a significant opportunity being missed by brands fighting for shopper attention and market share in Europe’s supermarkets.

The white paper report, ‘Marketing on the shelf – exactly how in control are you?’, reveals that, despite 76% of purchase decisions being made by shoppers in-store, brands are often failing to seize upon the powerful marketing opportunity it represents. In particular, many are missing out on the growing trend towards Shelf-Ready Packaging as a measurable way to influence shoppers directly at the point-of-purchase, where most decisions are made to buy a brand or switch to another.

Smurfit Kappa found that up to 40% of a product viewed on-shelf can be made up of secondary packaging, a valuable marketing channel which too often falls outside the radar of brand teams.  Compared to other advertising media, the in-store opportunity is significant and one which can be quickly adapted to sit alongside the latest marketing campaigns.  

Arco Berkenbosch, V.P. Marketing, Research and Development, Smurfit Kappa, said:  “Our analysis found that there is approximately 125 square metres for brands to market to shoppers at the point of purchase in a typical European supermarket, through Shelf-Ready Packaging.

“That would normally be regarded as an important marketing channel with brands doing everything they can to take advantage of it. If compared to the cost of a typical 6-sheet poster site, for example, in advertising terms that’s the equivalent of €424,320 of additional marketing per store every year. Across the whole of Europe this equates to a multi-million euro channel available to brands.

“In a more complex retail world where marketers have to work even harder to compete for shopper attention, this represents a sizeable opportunity. Yet, it largely remains one of the most under-utilised parts of the marketing mix and one which still rarely makes it onto the priority list of most brand directors. In reality, it is one of the last areas in-store that offers new marketing opportunities at the point-of-purchase.”

Shelf-Ready Packaging - products delivered to a retailer in a ready-to-sell, merchandised unit - is an area of growing importance across the globe in the battle for the shopper’s attention. Its origins were in saving in-store logistics costs, as a way of getting the product from delivery to shelf as efficiently as possible and it first gained popularity with discount supermarkets.  Using the right skills, process and technology, however, more marketers can now take advantage of the fact that, in tests, such packaging is noticed by up to 76% more shoppers.

“Implemented properly, marketing on the shelf would be completely integrated into a brand’s wider marketing activities, with a clear brief based on an integrated, well-defined shopper marketing strategy”, Berkenbosch said. “Ownership and responsibility would be held at brand marketing level, with marketing on the shelf, to the shopper as well as to the consumer, considered at the very outset of the brand journey.

To help brands create new marketing solutions and make the most of Shelf-Ready Packaging, Smurfit Kappa uses marketing expertise and insights, enabling brand owners to test and understand its impact on shoppers, by visualising it on a virtual supermarket shelf and collating eye-tracking results via webcam, through a system developed through a unique partnership in association with Eyesee.  This makes it possible to validate the effectiveness of different packaging designs, offering brand owners a flexible environment to prove the effectiveness of different shopper marketing strategies before they are created and brought to shelf.

Berkenbosch continued, “The reality is that the vision of the future is here now.  From insights to measurement, Smurfit Kappa can do in weeks what used to take brands months, including all the testing brand owners need.”

This is another example of how Smurfit Kappa is set to ‘Open the future’ for its customers. The new strategy focuses on delivering customer growth through insight and innovation. It is brought to life through a dynamic microsite, where a series of films demonstrates how customers across the world have worked in partnership with Smurfit Kappa to create innovative solutions which have driven commercial success.  The new microsite can be visited at, the home for new, shareable content which is updated regularly.

Click here to visit our 'Open the future' microsite and see how our customers have worked in partnership with us to drive commercial success. 

Smurfit Kappa reveals multi-million euro marketing opportunity missed by brands