Shopper Confusion Persists in RTD/Beyond Beer
Rajeev-sharma-1
Rajeev Sharma
January 25, 2022

Poor shelf organization, product proliferation contribute to challenges

Only 27% of all shoppers who engaged with RTD/Beyond Beer products in a grocery aisle ended up buying. That is, 73% of all shoppers walked away after stopping in front of the RTD/Beyond Beer products in the grocery channel! This number was just as bad in the c-store channel with a 71% “walkaway” rate. Clearly there is a huge missed opportunity for the emerging and growing new alcoholic beverage category. This was among the key insights uncovered by VideoMining ‘s RTD/Beyond Beer MegaStudy with an analysis of 4 billion shoppers in grocery and convenience stores.

There are many contributing factors to the “shopper leakage” but one that is obvious is shopper confusion. Shoppers spent much higher time shopping and going back and forth between different RTD/Beyond Beer products, resulting in poor “shoppability” scores compared to other categories in-store including the traditional alcoholic beverage categories – Beer, Wine and Spirits.

In fact, shoppers spent 67% more time navigating (to find a product) compared to traditional beer, even though beer has a much larger shelf space. Clearly shopper confusion in conjunction with high walkaway rate implies a dire need for course correction. Some of the opportunities include pulling together multiple product segments into a better organized and separated section in the alcoholic beverage aisle, better signage and product information. The relative location in the alcoholic beverage department/aisle and aisle flow also needs careful review.

Given the continued and frankly breathtaking speed of product innovation in RTD/Beyond Beer especially in hard seltzers and RTD cocktails, it is critical to provide insights-based guidance to retailers to minimize shopper confusion and improve conversions. Otherwise additional products will only exacerbate shopper confusion, resulting in suboptimal returns for product innovations.

One of the key tactics especially for new and emerging brands is secondary displays, which can definitely help but only if located appropriately and designed to engage shoppers. The MegaStudy insights demonstrated massive variation in performance of the RTD/Beyond Beer displays based on in-store location. Given the significant investments involved in executing displays, it is important to use a data driven approach to get it right and maximize the ROI while also encouraging more shoppers to try new products.

Both the strategy and tactics for addressing the shopper needs should also be influenced greatly by who the shoppers are. For example, the MegaStudy found that there are 3.5 times more women buyers for RTD/Beyond Beer compared to beer in c-store and 1.5 times more females compared to beer in grocery stores. Women shop differently from men, including how the respond to warm displays.

RTD/Beyond Beer also skews heavily towards younger shoppers with Gen Z’s and millennials making up more than two-thirds of the buyers for most of the sub-categories. Younger shoppers navigate the stores and respond differently to various promotions compared to older shoppers.

The MegaStudy uncovered a host of other challenges in the growing new alcoholic beverage “category” which now contributes to more than 11% of total alcoholic beverages in the grocery channel and 22% in the c-store channel. It is still a young category with significant opportunities for growth with a competitive dynamics that can shift significantly in the fast-changing retail and shopper landscape.

With everything else that’s happening today, it’s even more important to leverage fact-based insights to align the RTD merchandising/marketing and product innovation with shopper needs. Otherwise the shoppers will continue to be confused and walk away, hemorrhaging revenues for both retailers and brands, slowing down the potential category growth.

 

You may also like this:

Hershey’s - A free case study

Learn how VM’s Study/Track Display performance helped improve conversion and cross-purchase for the candy giant.

Related Articles

The birth of 4th alcoholic beverage category

The birth of 4th alcoholic beverage category

The decline in fuel requirements owing to quarantine and remote working has inevitably caused fuel sales to...

Read More
C-stores rebound with rise in fuel traffic and “pump to store” conversions

C-stores rebound with rise in fuel traffic and “pump to store” conversions

The decline in fuel requirements owing to quarantine and remote working has inevitably caused fuel sales to...

Read More
Inflation, high gas prices and work-from-home trends depress c-store traffic

Inflation, high gas prices and work-from-home trends depress c-store traffic

The decline in fuel requirements owing to quarantine and remote working has inevitably caused fuel sales to...

Read More