Creating the Trifecta with Shopper Research

Filed Under: Shopper


COVID-19 has demonstrated to us, more than ever, the challenges of a rapidly changing retail marketplace. These changes in the landscape like online shopping, supply shortages, and new store formats impact how shoppers buy and how retailers react. For manufacturers, there’s increased competition for shelf space and the shopper’s wallet, as well as the need for product innovation to drive brand and portfolio growth. And, for the consumer, this same landscape is even more dynamic, with many options of what to buy and where–all shaped by the same retailers and manufacturers. 

And at times, efforts by either manufacturers or retailers to address these dynamics can put them at odds with each other, as well as with the shopper. The important fact to understand is that in order to be successful, all parties need one another, and in the case of shoppers, they need to feel happy and satisfied. Retailers are a manufacturer’s main channel to consumers, and retailers need manufacturers to produce products to sell to shoppers to satisfy any unmet consumer needs. Thus, retailers and manufacturers alike must make the relationship work to be successful. 

Given these dynamics, we believe our win/win/win solution, or the trifecta are vital. But let’s start with understanding what we mean by the trifecta. 

What is a win/win/win- or the trifecta?

The Win/Win/Win solution balances the needs of the three key parties: the retailer, the manufacturer, and the shopper.  The solutions are intuitive to the shopper, increase brand sales for the manufacturer, and maximize category sales for retailers. 

Why is this important? 

Our win/win/win solution is important because it prioritizes the shoppers’ voices and considerations instead of the needs of the manufacturers and retailers.

For example, a manufacturer may attempt to get distribution for its brand by talking about how much better it is than a competitive brand. This conversation leads to a discussion of one brand replacing another, not what the brand can do to drive the category. Rather than focusing on its brands, manufacturers should consider the category. And, to understand the category dynamics, it’s a must for manufacturers to understand category shoppers and their shopper journey. 

For retailers, their shoppers should be considered first and not just the margins or the category. For example, a retailer may want a manufacturer to produce a specialized pack size that will be margin accretive for the retailer, but if the size is irrelevant to the shopper because it does not address a need or occasion for them, it will not be successful.

Successful retailer/manufacturer partnerships are solidified by setting common goals and those goals being centered around making the shopper a focal point for the joint initiatives and ways of working. 

In my own experience, I have seen how a shopper-centric focus and collaboration can drive higher rates of success with new products, shopper and brand loyalty, and strong category performance at the shelf via compelling assortment and marketing tactics. 

How do you achieve the trifecta?

Successful performance is based on having crystal clarity on your shopper insights goals or strategy while balancing the Triple Win. To achieve this, it’s important to:  

  • Seek to understand how the shopper currently buys the category, not just their brand. What are category drivers? What is the path to purchase? What drives retailer choice?
  • Put the shopper at the heart of your thinking. What are their needs, delighters, frustrations? How does the category shopper profile differ by retailer?
  • Seek to understand the role of the brand in the category and with the retailer. 
  • Translate data into actionable shopper and retail insights by aligning manufacturer and retailer goals.
  • Be clear about how to grow the category by encouraging different shopper behavior through category, retail, and brand strategies.

Remember, it’s not enough to go for the “win” or even the “exacta” – to be truly successful in shopper marketing, go for the trifecta! 

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