Knowledge Bank Blog, Pricing & Promotions, Range & Portfolio, Shopper Communication

2014 Sign Off : The One Thing

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication…

Having written a blog a week for the last 7 months, we are going to have a lie down between now and the New Year.

We want to thank everyone who has given us feedback on the blogs.  It’s good to know that some of you are actually reading them, and some of you are even enjoying them!

A few of you have asked us, and we have asked ourselves, whether we have got enough ammunition to keep doing them once a week?  Only time will tell.  But we will keep writing and you can be the judge.

If you have enjoyed the blogs, or if you haven’t and would like us to finally start writing about something useful, then we’d love to hear what you like and what could be improved.  And please do suggest topics you think we should cover in 2015.  Just bear in mind they need to be relevant to a broad audience of people in the FMCG and retail world.  The 5 part series on how to win in Dried Fruit & Nuts may have to wait.

In the meantime, we thought we’d leave you with one of the central themes we have been writing about this year.  Something that we think will be even more important in 2015 and beyond.  Simplicity.  We think winning retailers, categories and brands will need to keep it simple over the coming months.  So, what do we mean?

Simpler ranging & merchandising.  The big grocery retailer winners in 2014 have been the Discounters.  Simpler ranges = simpler choices for shoppers.  But it is not just about cutting back range.  It is also about simplifying and clarifying fixtures.  A wider range, segmented and signposted in a crystal clear way, can still deliver a simple shopping experience.  And a competitive advantage vs. the Discounters.

Simpler pricing & promotions.  There has been a huge amount of activity on this in 2014, much of it unhelpful to the shopper.  Judging what, and who, is good value has never been harder.  The way forward is simpler, consistent pricing, clearer price tiers and fewer promotional mechanics, all communicated in a clear way.  Doing some of these things will likely hurt at first, but have to benefit the industry in the medium term.

Simpler communication & messaging.  Brand owners have lots to say about their brands so, understandably, they want to say it all.  However, most of the time shoppers spend in store is spent filtering out all this noise and looking for information directly relevant to their purchase.  Tell the shopper what the product is, what it does, why it’s good and how and when to use it.  If you can’t do this, then your proposition probably isn’t clear enough.

The simplicity principle can be hard to live by.  It is tempting to think that the more things you do, the more chance you have of influencing shoppers.  We think the opposite is true.  Identifying the few most important things, doing them in a really simple, clear way and making it as easy as possible for shoppers to behave in the way you want them to behave, will be the key to winning in an ultra-competitive environment.

Right, in typical consultant fashion, we will leave you with that advice and swan off for our break from the Blog.  At least we won’t be sending you a bill.

Have a great Christmas and New Year.  Speak to you in 2015.