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As manufacturers continue to fight for shelf space, the retailers continue to look for products they are convinced will sell. Retailers are looking to build loyalty through their own label, especially in these promiscuous times, when shoppers are using more than one retailer for their weekly shop and diluting that loyalty. One way retailers are gaining share has been to provide almost identical packaging to the manufacturer brand, so it becomes increasingly difficult to tell them apart. For those of you around in the 1970’s, it is similar to trying to differentiate the boys from the girls when they both had long hair.
Despite this hyper-competitive environment, we are observing a notable polarisation taking place among manufacturers, where some are doing more research, while others are conducting less and replacing it with ‘gut feel'. As for the latter approach, that’s great if your product is successful but what happens if it fails? The retailers will question future listings without supporting evidence that the product will succeed and/or make you pay heavily for shelf space. Not only that, but it becomes an uphill struggle to get future listings without customer insights that strongly support your business case.
Retailers are increasingly asking more questions around ‘why' consumers buy your product or the category. Nowadays, 'the trust me, it will sell' speech, does not work. An investment in research not only brings a quantifiable reason to believe in your prediction, but proactive research also helps refine the product offering while providing the consumer language that will appeal and motivate the consumer to make the purchase. Without the evidence, it is all guess work and similar to gambling, the odds are stacked against you!