In the May issue of National Liquor News, Stephen Wilson, Category and Insights Manager at Strikeforce, writes about the importance of a varied strategy when it comes to NPD in liquor retail.
New product development focuses on attributes like flavour and packaging innovation, strong and striking branding and aligning brand values with those of the target market.
Marketing and communication campaigns are developed, route to market and supply chain planning takes place followed by the ‘pitch’ to retailer buyers, MSO’s and independent liquor retailers.
Once these gates have been passed through, the race is on to gain maximum distribution in the shortest period of time to win the hearts and minds of shoppers and maximise the opportunity.
So once the product is available in-store, how do brands entice shoppers to consider purchase?
While clustering shoppers with similar buying traits is nothing new, the importance of understanding how they shop, when they shop and what occasion they are shopping for is high on the agenda when developing retail strategies to generate trial, and hopefully repeat purchase, particularly when introducing a new product taking on established brands.
Is a ‘one size fits all’ strategy sufficient to maximise sales? Do all shoppers demonstrate the same behaviours when in-store? Are all shoppers buying for the same occasion?
Let’s look at the following example. We will call the first shopper Ted. He has a limited budget and often compares products and prices online before choosing where to make his liquor purchase. He knows what he wants to buy, what he is prepared to pay and where he is going to make his purchase before he heads to the store.
It takes a lot to deviate Ted from his mission. He has already decided prior to entering the store what he is going to buy, so the approach to get the new product in his hand would be a strong brand presence on the retailer’s website, the product clearly ticketed and positioned on shelf near category leading brands, with a strong promotional price point to encourage Ted to consider purchase.
The second shopper is Mel, she is usually unprepared, has a rough idea of what she wants to buy and considers herself a bit of a ‘trend setter’. While price is a consideration, it is not a major factor. She usually shops at the same liquor store and makes her purchasing decision after she enters the store.
Mel is more open to trying new products and experiences so a big, bold display just after the transition area after she enters the store or on the journey to the category location with a strong promotional price point would be a compelling proposition, allowing the purchase decision to be made much earlier in the shopper journey.
Different approaches by shoppers mean there needs to be more than one tactical strategy in play when introducing new product offerings to the market particularly early on in the product life cycle.