The success of cut-price stores has pushed all retailers into mimicking their stripped-down approach to inventory. According to figures from IRI [i], the total range of packaged groceries stocked in UK stores has fallen by around 9% since January 2013.
This has discouraged food brands from launching new products: the number of food products launched in the UK has fallen by 13% over the same period with some sectors faring particularly badly –product launches for confectionery are down by 30% and those for baby food have declined by a staggering 61%.
This news comes off the back of data released by Nielsen last year that shows that over 75% of NPD launches fail in their first year [ii]. Furthermore, if success is considered as generating £10 million of sales in year one and maintaining 85% of that figure in year two, then only seven products out of 12,000 launches in Europe (since 2011) could be regarded as successful.
Go Ahead, Make my Day
So, is there any good news to be shared about the food sector? Well, actually there is. The IRI research found that the premium pricing commanded by new food products in the UK has increased to 53% above the category average from 41% in 2010/11.
So, those food brands that do make the grade may well be able to deliver real, sustainable success – and products perceived to be healthier are currently doing better than the rest of the market.
Stacking the Deck
So, are there strategies that could alter the balance of probability for the success of your NPD launch? Here at Quotient, we would answer very firmly in the affirmative. Here are four things to consider that will un-level the playing field in your favour.
1. Ensure your product is trialled and shared by ‘Product Pioneers’: there is a ready-made audience that is keen to trial new products – and evangelise about those that they like. They cluster around product discovery apps like Quotient’s own Shopmium platform – so make sure that this channel is part of your marketing plan.
2. Get a quick barometer on supply chain and consumer feedback: Whether you are interested in quickly finding out what buyers think of your NPD, or in being alerted to issues on the retail side, such as stock, driving trial digitally or using Shopmium can provide you with a quick and robust indicator.
3. Don’t forget digital’s role in supporting ‘traditional’ sampling activities: In-store sampling remains a staple of NPD – but using paid, owned and earned channels to support sampling is critical to success. Again, digital coupons and mobile cashback rebates have a crucial role to play here – but make sure your technology partner has a robust fraud-prevention solution in place, if you don’t want to be a victim of your own success!
Be of Good Cheer
There’s no real way of sugaring the pill – the conditions for a successful new product launch have probably never been harder. But, at the same time, the rewards for success have never been higher. As they say, the devil is in the detail and, in this case, the detail is in the execution of the launch – which is very much marketing’s problem to solve. And, by following these tips, you can give yourself every chance of success.