As we enter the holiday selling season in beverage alcohol (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s in quick succession), brands are gearing up for large, expensive promotional programs. How can marketers and brand managers ensure the execution of these programs before the short season is over? I recently spoke to Marybeth Came, Client Services Director for the Beverage Information & Insights Group, about the most effective ways to track and measure results.
Why is it important to assess retail merchandising programs during this key time of the year?
MC: Brands are facing increased competition for in-store displays and for consumers’ attention overall. There’s less an less space on off-premise shelves as craft brands increase, so it’s very important for brands to keep an eye on their share of shelf. During our next quarterly syndicated study (December), we’re specifically measuring how brands are executing to plan during the peak holiday season.
What measurements can best show how a brand is doing to “own” the shelf space?
MC: The number of facings is particularly important, according to our research. Cruzan has very distinctive and colorful bottles, which tend to give the brand a high number of facings in stores. Those facings really draw the eye of rum consumers toward the brand, leading to increased sales.
In addition to tracking shelf statistics, we also look at feature advertising metrics. We can provide information about which brands are featured on in-store flyers, as well as discounted or promoted prices. Consumers pick up those flyers as they enter the store and use them to make purchasing decisions, so they’re important metrics for brands to track.
What about value-added packaging (VAPs)?
MC: Holiday gift sets require a lot of lead time – brands put work in for months ahead of time to design, manufacture and market the packs. They’ve made the investment and put time into a VAP, now it’s important to measure the effectiveness in time to make adjustments before the holidays are over. With Gift-Trac, we’re able to measure how the packs are being displayed, where they’re located in the store and pricing information.
What type of spirits, wine and beer are particularly important to track during the holidays?
MC: There are big opportunities for luxury brands this time of year. Stores carry more “gifting brands,” like single malts, champagnes, cognacs and other premium spirits. There’s also a big opportunity for craft brands, as consumers are buying local products for gatherings with family and friends.
It’s very important to measure shelf space and location data during the fourth quarter because these brands have a limited peak season. These are brands that might be in a lock-box or less visible area during the rest of the year, but around the holidays they’re front and center.
We look at exactly what the consumer sees at a key time of the year when they’re looking for high-end products, so ensuring that these products are in stock, properly merchandised and making an impact is key.
Marybeth Came is the Director of Client Services for the Beverage Information & Insights Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-855-8499 x216.
For more information about ShelfTrac, Gift-Trac and other syndicated or custom services, visit www.albevresearch.com.