Case Study

Helping a Catalog-Based Food Company Determine Their Porfolio Strategy


Identifying specific product appeal can be difficult, especially when a client has a wide spectrum of products. Our client, a food company with a catalog-based sales approach, wanted to assure they could meet the needs of future customers with their product portfolio, but wasn’t sure how those needs differed from current customers’ needs.

C+R designed a quantitative survey to provide our client with the level of granularity they needed via a consumer-friendly realistic shopping exercise.


Understanding Future Customers’ Needs

A food company with a catalog-based sales approach wanted to ensure they could meet the needs of future customers but wasn’t sure how those needs differed from current customers’ needs.

Previous work among prospects had allowed our client to identify their future customer target, along with their target’s needs and motivators. However, with over 300 items in the catalog, the company hadn’t yet conducted any research into how the current product portfolio would perform among the future target audience.


A Simulated Shopping Exercise Leads to a Comprehensive Understanding

With over 300 items in the company catalog, it would be nearly impossible to ask respondents to rate their interest in each one. Since we knew we needed a comprehensive understanding of how each product performed, we designed a simulated shopping exercise.

The exercise was designed to have a similar look/feel as our client’s website, and respondents were able to click through various product categories to do their “shopping.” On each of their seven “trips,” they were able to select which items they would purchase (and how many) – similar to how they would shop on the website.

The result

Specific Findings for Today and a Decision-Making Tool for the Future

C+R designed a study that provided the product level findings our client had longed for.

By talking to both current and future customers, we were able to help our client identify…

  • Areas for innovation/expansion and/or renovation: product categories that currently have a limited reach, but show promise among future customers
  • Opportunities for marketing and types of products to focus more (or less) on, attracting future customers: which types of products future customers gravitate more/less toward
  • Products that should be prioritized and/or featured: which products are most appealing, most critical to their respective product categories, and most profitable
  • Products that may be complementary: which products are likely to be purchased together
  • The impact of sub-brands: how sub-brands are shopped and the impact of branding on interest

On top of these specific findings, we also provided our client with a tool that allows them to see the impact of including/excluding various products – on reach, revenue, and profit – among both current and future customers (and various sub-groups of interest within each!).

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