Will Canadian Retailers Poll Shoppers on What New Products to List?

Originally Posted in October 2009

I noted with interest an article in this month’s ROB magazine that talked about how retailers are reducing inventory through some very innovative methods as we cycle through this downturn.

What struck me most was a mention of how ASDA, Wal-mart’s operation in the UK is now polling its shoppers by email before listing new products to ensure that they are a “fit” and that there will be demand for the new listing.

Not that getting a new product listed at Canadian retailers is hard enough already but imagine if Loblaw, Sobey’s or Metro were to take this on as well?

Admittedly it would likely be helpful to CPG suppliers who launch reams of “innovation” with little or no insight into what the shopper (not the consumer) will think of the product. Listing fees rarely have a decent ROI when the average new product on lasts on shelf for two years or less.

Retailers such as SDM and Safeway with strong loyalty card programs could even poll shoppers of the specific category to get their opinion. In fact, it would not be too difficult for them to see if the product makes financial sense for them based on the products from which the “innovation” would draw it’s volume.

As they say information is power. Expect new product launches to get tougher, not easier.

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