Progressive Grocer

JAN 2017

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January 2017 | progressivegrocer.com | 73 Category Management Beverages A lthough U.S. consumers continue to enjoy beer and wine as frequently as always in the comfort of their homes or in bars, at-home consumption clearly rules. Between 66 percent and 76 percent of consumers drink beer, wine or spirits at home at least once per week, compared with the 23 per- cent to 26 percent who go out to imbibe once per week, according to a new report from Chicago-based IRI. ere's a certain amount of confusion in the aisles, however: Beer, wine and spirits shoppers make in-store shopping trips more than once per week, and 40 percent of buyers walk in undecided as to what product to purchase. is suggests that grocers have an opportunity to take stronger control over the category to help grow overall sales. All About Lifestyle Beer is all about matching lifestyles. And lifestyle trends are forcing manufacturers and retailers alike to rethink their approach to managing the beer category. Tim Burke, director of category solutions at Chicago-based brewer MillerCoors, notes that consumers have increasingly sophisticated palates, enjoying more upscale and craft offerings. is growth in sophistication shows that more than ever, Taste Sensation Increasingly sophisticated palates are making grocers rethink the beer and wine category. By Randy Hofbauer the customer truly is king. "In 2017, the beer industry has the opportunity to win by refocusing and executing on cat- egory management fundamentals like balanced assortment discipline, price gap management and impactful displays to delight our shoppers," he says. "Shoppers' expectations are evolving and intensifying, their occasions and lifestyle needs are changing, they have more access at their fingertips, and they are redefining their demands for value. So we need to amplify our displays, simplify and improve shopability, and ensure we are delivering value across our portfolio of beer." Vikas Sayal, senior director of commercial marketing with White Plains, N.Y.-based brewer Heineken USA, also notices such consumer trends, adding to them the growing relevance of light- er options for consumers focused on healthy living, and Mexican brews to match the growing prevalence of Hispanic culture. Of course, while speaking these consumers' lan- guage is key to better reaching them, it's also critical for grocers and suppliers to speak the same language with one another. Sayal stresses the importance of doing so when aligning a joint business plan — the primary step to becoming shopper-centric. "is means understanding their organiza- tion's key pillars, strategy, leadership team needs, and coming to them with customer- and shopper- focused solutions that increase traffic and cross- category purchases," he explains. For the shopper, the best thing grocers and their supplier partners can do is work together to commu- nicate with shoppers more effectively via a true path to purchase: pre-store, in-store and post-purchase. "Part of this is through in-store, online and digital means," Sayal says. "e other is seeking to understand our shoppers' attitudes and behaviors in everything we do by talking directly to them." Appealing to the shopper involves such methods as developing platforms that attract by consump- tion occasion, segmentation according to consumer type and lifestyle, and reinventing the beer aisle via lighting, space usage, signage, educational engage- ment, and more, all to better grab shopper atten- In 2017, the beer industry has the opportunity to win by refocusing and executing on category management fundamentals." —Tim Burke, MillerCoors

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