The science of selling has turned to analysis of consumer behaviour to improve sales. Two major drinks companies have independently undertaken major pieces of research to find out what shoppers do when they walk down the aisles. And they have come to broadly the same conclusions. Interbrew has been looking into beer sold in convenience stores and UDV has concentrated on spirits in the multiples. Both found that out of stocks are a big turn off and pricing strategies don't reflect consumer expectations. Most significantly they both discovered that received wisdom of most planograms is not strictly accurate. UDV worked with ID Magasin and used eye mark recorders to record what consumers were looking at while the shopped. Interbrew took a different approach, using video tracking to monitor consumer movements. Both discovered there is a hot spot in the fixture which is not at the start as is traditionally thought, but in the centre. This is where consumers start shopping the fixture and where products sell best. Both companies suggest this is where the premium categories should be positioned, rather than at the start. Andy Adams, UDV's director of off-trade category planning said: "We have worked with retailers to develop these insights. This is about capital investment across whole categories to improve the shopping experience." Interbrew has developed new planograms which still use vertical blocking by product category but are designed to exploit this newly discovered profit opportunity. Cans and bottles of premium lager, together with real and premium packaged spirits have been placed in the hot spot in the centre. Director of customer marketing Stuart MacFarlane said: "Our understanding of c-store shoppers has allowed us to adopt a tailored approach." It put its theories to the test in a multiple convenience store chain. The range was cut by 14% ­ mainly standard and commodity lines ­ and premium products and higher margin lines went into the hot spot. The result was an 8% sales increase; 95% of customers did not notice the range reduction, and the chain is rolling out the principles to all its stores. {{DRINKS }}