Using these paths, we gain an actionable understanding of what shoppers along distinct paths demand more - and less - of. For example, shoppers along one path may desire a more curated assortment; along another, they want broad assortment. This analysis helps determine how much variety is useful in different parts of the aisle.
Typically, a single path proves dominant within any given retail context; this path provides the organizing construct that suits the plurality of shoppers in this context. However, the dominant path typically varies across distinct channels and retailers, leading to nuanced, actionable implications for different retailers. For example, the dominant path at Whole Foods may prominently feature a split between organic and conventional offerings. The dominant path at Walmart is more likely to prioritize other splits (e.g., value, brand, flavor). For this reason, the organizing construct at these two retailers should look quite different.
In a recent engagement, we helped a food manufacturer derive decision paths that explored sales within nontracked channels, representing new-to-the-category insight into how consumers make decisions in a space where traditional algorithmic approaches could not be applied. Together, we identified the pain points in shoppers' path to purchase and found resounding evidence of unfulfilled demand for multiple categories of food that our client manufactures, bolstering their sell-in stories with key retailers.
This is an extremely powerful forward-looking framework and is simple enough for most organizations to execute. A robust Decision Path framework can be built, and retailer-specific strategic implications synthesized, within a matter of weeks, serving as a substitute or complement to algorithmic insights.
We’re here to help you explore how a Decision Paths framework can help your organization. Let us know if you’re interested in learning more… straight from the horse’s mouth.
About the Authors:
Michael Thompson is an associate partner with The Cambridge Group and leads the firm’s Pricing and Promotion Center of Excellence. He has experience building demand-driven growth strategies across a variety of categories, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, human resources, social media and technology.
Lindsey Leikhim is an associate partner with The Cambridge Group. She has over a decade of consulting and marketing experience with the firm and now leads its Brand and Sales Center of Excellence, directing marketing efforts and sales best practices.