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Case Study: Advocating for Better Product Placement While Improving Overall Category Sales

Issue
A key retailer within the office supplies industry assessed and re-merchandised their in-store plan-o-gram for an essential office supplies category. After noticing that the new plan-o-gram offered less favorable placement for their products on the store shelves, a manufacturer known for being a key player and contributor to the category wanted to highlight how product positioning and total category sales play an integral role in improving overall category management and success.

Insight
The NPD Group’s Office Supplies practice supplied the manufacturer with a category planner, which could be populated with weekly retail point-of-sale data. This provided the manufacturer with a weekly snapshot of brand and item performance as well as a comparative view of sales at the retailer versus the remaining market. By combining the category planner tool with the weekly data, the manufacturer tracked and measured item and brand performance and compared those results to the product placement shifts on the retailer’s plan-o-gram throughout the year. The manufacturer found that certain permutations of product placement offered greater overall success for the category.

In addition to tracking the relationship between product placement and overall category sales, the manufacturer used the weekly trend data within the planner to monitor and compare competitive brand and item performance during the highly promotional back-to-school season at the retailer and remaining market. Analyzing competitive market data allowed the retailer and manufacturer to uncover missed opportunities where high volume item sales in the remaining market were left out of the retailer’s seasonal product assortment.

Action
By tracking weekly brand and item performance results alongside product placement shifts on the plan-o-gram, the manufacturer provided the retailer with guidance on product placement options for their items as well as others across the category. Acting as a strategic partner to the retailer, the manufacturer presented a collaborative category management solution which advocated for better positioning for their brand, as well as offering an agnostic, category-centric view of the aisle benefiting all parties involved.

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