The most common causes of underperforming FMCG introductions
06 februari 2024 
in News

The most common causes of underperforming FMCG introductions

Is your innovation underperforming and the pressure is on to increase rotation? For an FMCG professional, there is nothing more frustrating than when a recently introduced innovation performs disappointingly and you have no idea why exactly. That's why we analysed over 120 in-store studies from our clients to determine what are now the most common causes of underperforming introductions. The results may surprise you...

Consumers have different expectations of your product than how they experience it at home

Many manufacturers don't give enough thought to the potential difference between consumer expectation and consumer experience. If consumers have a different experience with your product than they expected (or vice versa), this can give an important clue as to what you can do to increase the rotation. We can best explain this by outlining two scenarios:

Scenario 1: consumers have a better experience with the product than they expected.

In this scenario, it is advisable to take a critical look at your positioning and marketing activities around your innovation. For example, if consumers have the expectation that the taste is very sour after seeing the packaging, you can take this into account in your next campaign or by changing the packaging.

Scenario 2: the expectation of consumers is better than how they experience the product at home.

If this is the case, it actually makes more sense to focus on changing the product itself. If consumers have a disappointing experience with your product, they are unlikely to buy your product again. This makes it wise to adjust your product so that it is in line with consumer expectations

The packaging is unclear or contains too many (irrelevant) claims

Good packaging for your product is essential. During the innovation process, a lot of time is often spent on aesthetics and less on how clear consumers find the packaging. When packaging is unclear or contains more than one claim, you run the risk of consumers not understanding your product properly as a result. And what we often see in our studies is that consumers don't buy products they don't fully understand. So try to make your packaging as clear as possible and limit the number of claims as much as possible. The best way to test this is to temporarily place different packaging in a number of supermarkets.

The product is good, but not on the right shelf

The shelf where your product is placed is crucial. Sometimes rotation can be increased by up to 50% by placing it on another shelf! Many innovative concepts fit into multiple shelves. Take for instance a Korean sauce concept: you could place it perfectly well in the sauces shelf, but it could also belong in the world cuisine shelf. So do you have a concept that fits between several shelves and is the rotation a bit disappointing right now? Then it's definitely worth placing your product on a different shelf and A/B testing this.

Consumers do not know how, where or when to consume the product

It is important to inform consumers on how, where and when to use your product. This is especially true for innovative concepts. Many marketers know that it is important to capitalise on so-called 'Category Entry Points' (CEPs) with their marketing, yet we see that many launches still lack these CEPs. The result? Many consumers do not think about your product at the decisive moments and therefore do not choose your product when they are in front of the shelf. By interviewing consumers on the shopping floor, you find out what keeps them from choosing your product. After these interviews, you will know exactly which CEPs you need to act on so that consumers will choose your product when they are in front of the shelf.

Increasing the rotation, starts by understanding the problem

If you want to improve the performance of your recently introduced innovation, you first need to understand the cause of the disappointing rotation numbers. At Bamboo Brands, we believe you get the best insights by doing research where the consumer is, namely on the shopping floor. Once you know what is causing disappointing rotation numbers, it's a matter of pushing the right buttons to increase rotation.

Do you currently have an innovation that is underperforming and want to understand the cause of the disappointing rotation numbers? Then consider a Post Launch Evaluator or check out Unilever's case study.

About the author
Founder & Managing Director Bamboo Brands B.V.
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