Cadbury Schweppes has cut staff costs while meeting growing demand from retailers for help with the in-store display of products by automating the production of display plans.
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Speaking at JDA Software's annual user conference, Craig Hodnett, a vice-president in Cadbury Schweppes' US beverage business, said retailers were demanding "more impact on-shelf".
To meet this need, Hodnett said Cadbury Schweppes had made increasing use of JDA's Space Planning and Space Automation applications over the past two years. The applications enable salespeople to produce plans of visual product displays for major retailers.
He said the number of staff creating in-store plans had been cut from 10 in 2005 to two this year, reflecting the effectiveness of the software in the face of a growing number of requests by retailers for plans.
In a related initiative, Cadbury Schweppes is also trialling virtual shopping with its three largest US retailers so that they can experiment with the layout of products in their stores without the expense of physically changing the shelving.
The manufacturer has a 3D model of every product from its brands such as Dr Pepper and 7up. Retailers can arrange the products in a 3D display that has been tailored to fit an existing store.
New layouts are tested with shoppers who control their progress through the virtual store using a joystick.
Hodnett said, "One top-three retailer told me it would cost $65,000 per store to try out the sort of things we can do so easily in the virtual store."
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