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    Study: Retailers Want Shopper Insights From Suppliers

    Category management is evolving into category leadership.

    WILTON, Conn. -- Retailers are no longer looking for manufacturers to bring them fully-vetted products and solutions, but are instead asking their trading partners to come to the table with ideas grounded in shopper insights, according to the Kantar Retail 2014 Category Leadership Benchmarking Study.

    Likewise, manufacturers' readiness to co-create programs and innovations customized to meet the unique needs of each retailer’s shoppers is among the key highlights of this year's study vs. the 2011 study -- the last time Kantar Retail conducted this research.

    The results, which benchmark the strategic role and importance of category leadership from both a retailer and manufacturer perspective, are based on input from more than 450 retailers and manufacturers.

    Over the past five years, Kantar Retail team leaders have observed a shift among trading partners from a focus on category management to category leadership. Internal capabilities to translate analytics and shopper insights into action have also grown dramatically during this time.

    "As retailers grow their internal shopper insights and data management capabilities, we find that manufacturers are expected to bring even more unique insights to get a seat at the table," said Michelle Constant, vice president at Wilton-based Kantar Retail. "They now have the opportunity to bring their own expertise from outside of the stores, where retailers may have limited visibility and knowledge."

    Key recommendations made by the study for successful category leadership include:

    • Understanding consumer wants, discovering shopper insights and building category growth to drive opportunities;
    • Guiding the way to a better shopper experience, supported by actionable shopper insights;
    • Sharing new information, ideas and processes to deliver results; and
    • Thinking long term about driving future growth by setting a vision for the category, as well as a plan to activate against the vision in the near and long term.

    The discovery and sharing of insights for the “average shopper” were also highlighted as being no longer meaningful for retailers and, therefore, no longer sufficient to drive category leadership. Retailers participating in the research said they now need to look across key shopper demographics and targets, including Hispanics, Millennials, Boomers and low-income.

    Today, category leadership can no longer be supported by one cohesive strategy but rather a customized, retailer-specific and localized in-store solutions platform, the study found.

    Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, Kantar Retail predicts there will be no single winning retailer or format, which will in turn challenge manufacturers and retailers to rethink their strategies in working together and their ability to effectively deploy the right resources for success.

    To read more about Kantar Retail’s findings and recommendations, click here for the executive summary.  

    Kantar Retail, which tracks and forecasts more than 1,000 retailers globally, is part of the Kantar group of WPP.

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