| May 15, 2023

A Consumer Panel Playbook for Emerging Brands

woman shopping

Impactful Uses Cases for a Consumer Panel

Emerging brands need to have their finger on the pulse of current consumer behavior. A consumer panel quickly provides answers as to how an emerging brand can stay relevant in an evolving marketplace where the “how” and “why” behind consumer purchases are constantly shifting.

In regards to Numerator’s consumer panel, a Director of Sales Strategy from Chomps stated, “In a world where inflation is high and the landscape is changing, Numerator gives us visibility to the total category performance. Historically, big CPG only has access to this information, but Numerator gives us a seat at this table.”

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To continue to support emerging brands, we have identified how emerging brands who are trying to achieve sustainable growth can do so using Numerator’s Total Commerce Panel:

1. Identify Your Shopper

Many emerging brands find themselves unable to identify who their customers are due to sample size constraints. Numerator’s recent panel enhancements–expanding our panel to 150k households (a 43% increase)–provides the sample necessary for these brands to understand who their shoppers are across a number of retailer, demographic, and psychographics cuts, such as better-for-you shoppers. For example, Bolthouse Farms has upgraded its line of refrigerated salad dressings in the better-for-you direction, with yogurt-based options that provide consumers with additional health benefits such as protein, calcium, vitamins, and probiotics. This proves to be a wise move for the brand, as 41.2% of their shoppers review nutrition labels (over-indexing by 135), 23.1% watch their diet (over-indexing by 133), and 15.4% stay updated on health trends (over-indexing by 125).

2. Increasing Your Distribution

Breaking into non-traditional channels and retailers is a key initiative for many brands, so having insight into a shopper’s purchase journey across club, online, and gas & convenience is critical for growth. Panel data gets closer to true shopping behavior, highlighting gaps that retailers may not know about, allowing emerging brands to highlight the incremental category growth they can bring to the retailer.

RISE Brewing, through their partnership with Numerator, was able to convince a buyer at their largest retailer that they deserved more shelf space. Fifteen minutes was all it took for RISE to demonstrate their value as an up-and-coming brand with loyal customers. After originally losing two out of its four SKUS, RISE was able to show, thanks to Numerator data, that the retailer saw a 4.3% decrease in buyer conversion within the RTD category at their stores because RISE Brewing shoppers shifted much of their RTD purchases to competitive retailers. In addition to providing true cross-channel understanding, Numerator data provided a better understanding of the competitive set. Although private label had the most loyal consumers, RISE was second in the category and the most loyal brand. Despite only having two SKUs on shelf at this retailer, they had one of the highest share of wallet rankings for the category.

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3. Finding Sustainable Growth

Many emerging brands do not have an issue getting a shopper to try their new, innovative products. The catch is converting the “trial” or one-time shoppers into repeat shoppers who are loyal to the brand. With the highest panelist quality in the industry, Numerator’s panelists are required to have a minimum of 2 trips per month for 12 consecutive months and 5 retailers shopped per year, yielding 30+ trips per month and 50+ banners per year for an average panelist. Our Total Commerce Panel allows for the most accurate representation of shopper loyalty and repeat purchases. 

Consider this example, in a recent study we uncovered in the latest 52 weeks that Skinny Dipped is losing more households than it is gaining, with 50% lapsers and only 40% new households. If we dig deeper into this shopper base to understand why this is happening, we can see that this is because a large part of Skinny Dipped’s shopper base is only buying on trial and never returns. Breaking it out by repeat purchasers, we can see that over 77% of Skinny Dipped shoppers are one-time shoppers only, and their buy rate is significantly less than that of households who make at least two trips for Skinny Dipped. 

Using Numerator’s people groups, we can precisely target these households with an Advanced Shopper Profile to see how they differ from the more loyal Skinny Dipped shoppers. More importantly, we can reach them through their most influential touchpoints to increase their purchase frequency of the brand. Numerator has identified whitespace using the insights platform to identify one-time shoppers and convert them into 2+-time shoppers. If Skinny Dipped were able to convert 12% of current one-time buyers identified, they would see an increase of $1MM.  

4. Concept and Innovation Testing

Emerging brands will come to Numerator to speak directly to their customers through our survey capabilities. With our recent Data Wave survey enhancements, brands can now connect with the customer to get feedback within days to ask how they use their product, what attributes are most important to them, and a multitude of other custom analyses.

A healthy cracker brand came to Numerator after a Costco merchandiser asked them to find ways to increase sales. The brand’s initial suggestion was to increase pack size; however, the merchandiser was hesitant to go that route. With Numerator’s guidance, this brand was able to survey respondents about what would get them to buy more of their brand. 80% of respondents said they wanted a larger pack size and would pay for it. The concept was tested in select Costco stores and eventually rolled out distribution to all Costco stores, with an expected $6MM in incremental revenue from the new pack size.

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5. Allocating Spend

The pandemic upended traditional retail as we know it, increasing the need to understand consumer behavior around trips related to eCommerce, Brick & Mortar, and the services that cover the gray area in between. With the market highs of eCommerce slowing down after peak COVID, brands are trying to re-calibrate how ad/trade/merchandising spend should be allocated across channels. With Numerator’s unique ability to track promotional activity in addition to a diverse set of trip types - B&M, eCommerce (ship to home), Click & Collect, Deliver to home (Doordash / Instacart) - brands can get a true sense of where their dollars are coming from and where there are opportunities to increase penetration.

Considering successful promotional strategies, Chosen Foods within the Cooking Spray category has been incredibly effective in bringing shoppers into the category, as well as bringing new consumers to their brand. During 2022, of all consumers who bought on promotion, over 55% were new to the category, and bought Chosen Foods as their entry point during the promotional period. Their promotional strategy also brought incrementality to the brand, as 27% were incremental switchers - who bought a competitor in the pre-period and switched to Chosen Foods in the promotional period. Having total visibility into the promotional landscape and performance allows brands to track if promotional strategies are working in comparison to the competition and to adjust in near real-time.

Grow Your Brand with Numerator.

For more information on how Numerator solutions can help emerging brands, reach out to us today.