Merchant Mechanics understands the need for tight integration and effective collaboration between CPGMs and Category Managers. Our research services help both Manufacturers and Category Managers better understand and positively influence all aspects of the retail environment…
…from global to local: from store layouts to plan-o-grams, from navigational signage to single-SKU interactions, from POP to full-store merchandising campaigns, from the out-of-store message that gets the consumer to the store, to the label that helps the shopper make their purchase decision at the shelf. We can even help you more effectively communicate to particular consumer segments, without alienating others.
Manufacturers and Category Managers benefit from critical analysis of the assortment and arrangement of products offered, combined with a thorough understanding of consumer need states, goals and perceptions. Merchant Mechanics provides actionable solutions that result in immediately effective roll-outs of category promotions and integration of new products, combined with identification of high-value targets for testing, and the specific testable tactics that will move the needle. This is why category leaders become repeat customers, utilizing our services to generate innovative solutions at the individual product level as well as the category level.
The world’s largest producer of many popular food and beverage products had seen sales stagnate or decline over the course of years. Despite a long and continuous tradition of research efforts, the client was left with mountains of disconnected learnings spread across several independent teams. Worse, category managers with whom they worked felt pulled in multiple directions by conflicting research provided by category competitors, diluting both parties’ ability to execute confidently. Merchant Mechanics was engaged to lead the way toward a more holistic and definitive understanding of consumers in multiple categories.
Merchant Mechanics designed and conducted the most comprehensive path-to-purchase study to date. Moreover, we incorporated what the manufacturer already knew about their consumers, including simultaneous reporting from parallel concurrent research, and helped all of the client’s internal teams begin to speak the same language, enhancing effective cooperation across the enterprise.
By tightly integrating six traditional and cutting-edge methods, including the first full-scale, full-store mobile EEG study ever conducted, we aimed to deliver a critical, comprehensive, quantitative and qualitative portrait of all of the client’s shopper segments in the grocery channel. This research is currently being extended to multiple product lines and retail channels.
Our immediately actionable recommendations and implementation principles, and our portfolio of identified high-value, testable tactics were built from multiple converging and complementary lines of evidence. The result was an extensive base of robust, holistic insights that stood up to a myriad of unexpected challenges and satisfied the unforeseen needs of category managers when it came time to implement solutions in-store.
Our research not only identified the right message to deliver at each point along the path-to-purchase, but also how to ensure that message was delivered to the right consumer, through the right media, at the right time. Category identities, out-of-store messaging, and in-store navigational aids were brought in-line with consumers’ natural definitions of products, need states and search strategies, while enhancing exposure to both forgotten needs and unexpected wants while shopping.
Results were delivered through extensive documentation designed with stakeholders’ specific needs in mind, on-site through customized presentations to multiple stakeholder groups, and through a series of in-house workshops designed to transfer the deep, explicit and nuanced understanding we’d developed of the client’s customers directly to those individuals who were responsible for execution.
Client actions taken as a direct result of this research included but were not limited to:
- Optimization of label and package design
- Category architecture optimization
- Message optimization at each point along the path-to-purchase
- Segment-specific messaging and product arrangements
- Implementation of cross-category synergies and elimination of in-category detractors