Creative, Shopper-Centric Merchandising Critical to CPG and Retail Success in 2011

Creative, Shopper-Centric Merchandising Critical to CPG and Retail Success in 2011

CPG and Retail Companies Must Wean Shoppers Off Price-Only Related Merchandising for Future Success

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CHICAGO, Jan. 20, 2011 – The new year creates an opportunity to review product and retail strategies with a view toward continuous improvement. Nowhere is this more relevant or important than in merchandising strategies. To take a closer look at these strategies, SymphonyIRI Group released its current issue of Times & Trends, “Merchandising Trends: Achieving Differentiation with a Shopper-Centric Approach,” which explores current and emerging merchandising trends that CPG marketers have embraced during the last few years in an ongoing effort to satisfy shoppers’ rapidly changing definition of value.

SymphonyIRI anticipates shoppers will remain conservative in their purchasing habits, but evolve their definition of “value” slowly away from the almost singular focus on price that has shaped behavior for the past three years. The new focus will be one that integrates other factors, such as ingredients to support increased health and wellness, packaging and convenience.

“Approaching CPG merchandising from a shopper-centric perspective is critical and will become increasingly vital in the months and years ahead,” says Robert (Bob) I. Tomei, president, Consumer & Shopper Marketing, SymphonyIRI. “The challenges for those leading merchandising efforts are complex and multifold, and meeting these challenges head-on is the key to long-term success. Merchandisers must understand their key consumer segments at a micro level and gauge which tactic or combination of tactics generates the greatest sales lift across key categories and brands. They must take into consideration channel and retailer-based nuances while simultaneously addressing the interplay between strategies for national and private label brands.”

Also critical to the success of CPG and retail companies will be weaning shoppers off price-only related merchandising. In 2009, price-only merchandising activity increased across 79 percent of CPG categories, a figure that has moderated to a still-too-high 53 percent in 2010. Going forward, managers must rely on innovative merchandising strategies focused on a mix of feature, display and price to gain the optimum balance between attracting shoppers to the product and earning margins necessary to sustain and grow the brand.

Manufacturers and retailers seeking to maximize opportunity within the new, emerging retail environment should consider the following action items:

* Identify new growth opportunities and threats: Manufacturers need to understand price elasticity of demand across key categories/brands and leverage that knowledge to develop and refine everyday and promotional pricing strategies. Retailers should monitor changing shopper dynamics to identify opportunities to build share and loyalty by cross-merchandising relevant parallel categories/products.
* Work with key accounts to develop strategies that address market- and store-level shopping patterns and needs: Both manufacturers and retailers must focus on highly targeted, solutions-based merchandising programs that deliver against the needs and wants of key shopper micro-segments at the market and/or store level.
* Measure and monitor pricing and merchandising executions and adjust continually: Manufacturers should monitor store-level merchandising performance and retail execution among key retail partners and adjust mid-path as warranted. Retailers should test all pricing and merchandising initiatives at a micro level prior to roll out and then closely monitor the impact of that roll out.

About the Report
This month’s Times & Trends, “Merchandising Trends” is a free report available from SymphonyIRI, the world’s leading innovation partner that enables CPG, retail and healthcare companies to create and maximize new opportunities. The findings of this report were compiled based on information from SymphonyIRI Shopper Marketing Suite™, SymphonyIRI Loyalty Advantage™, and SymphonyIRI Shopper Insights Advantage™ and SymphonyIRI Digital Media Solutions. To download the report, visit: http://www.symphonyiri.com/Insights/Publications/TimesTrends/tabid/106/Default.aspx.

About SymphonyIRI Group, Inc.
SymphonyIRI Group, formerly named Information Resources, Inc. (“IRI”), is the global leader in innovative solutions and services for driving revenue and profit growth in CPG, retail and healthcare companies. SymphonyIRI offers two families of solutions: Core IRI solutions for market measurement and Symphony Advantage solutions for enabling new growth opportunities in marketing, sales, shopper marketing and category management. SymphonyIRI solutions uniquely combine content, analytics and technology to deliver maximum impact. SymphonyIRI helps companies create, plan and execute forward-looking, shopper-centric strategies across every level of the organization. For more information, visit http://www.SymphonyIRI.com.
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SymphonyIRI Contacts:
John McIndoe
E-mail: john.mcindoe@symphonyiri.com
Phone: (312) 474-3862

Shelley Hughes
E-mail: shelley.hughes@symphonyiri.com
Phone: (312) 474-3675

Information Resources, Inc. (IRI)

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