The fine lines between Fine Lines

November 22, 2016By Behind the Shelf Blog, Data Analysis and Management

By Donna Boulieu

I’m in the right business. I love drugstores! The sights, sounds, and even the smells (think candy and cosmetics with just a hint of rubbing alcohol from the pharmacy — heavenly), but mostly it’s the product mix that draws me in. Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get” when you walk through the door.

Identifying how to categorize this vast array of products can be a challenge, but categorization improves the shopping experience — and that is one of the reasons HRG developed its Fine Line classification system. The Fine Line system groups products into merchandising-based categories that support the analysis of product data, including the comparison of products within a segment, the profitability of a segment, and the flux in market share within a segment. Categorizing items using Fine Lines helps optimize retailer, wholesaler, and manufacturer profitability.

diarrhea-related oral rehydration therapy products
Diarrhea-related oral rehydration therapy products

General health oral rehydration therapy products
General health oral rehydration therapy products

Our team of category and product analysts keeps abreast of new item trends, increasing or declining segments, and consumer needs as part of our semiannual Fine Line update process. In addition, we look to our manufacturer partners for insights as to how categories are evolving and where products fit in.

Keeping up with emerging trends is among our top priorities in Fine Line development. One of our most recent updates included the addition of the diarrhea-related oral rehydration therapy segment in the digestive health category. We’ve seen an increase in oral rehydration therapy (ORT) use within the healthcare industry for treating even mild cases of dehydration, as well as new retail shelf offerings from manufacturers. The products offer incremental sales opportunities as they are often used along with standard antidiarrheal products. We also added a general health oral rehydration therapy Fine Line in the nutritional foods category for those products marketed for healthy lifestyles. Segmenting these two types of products into two distinct Fine Lines not only aids in product placement, but allows for the reporting and tracking of these segments for category managers, drug wholesalers, and retailers via their POS systems.

Fine Lines can be a resource, tool, or both for manufacturers, regardless of where your brand is in its life cycle. Whether you have a new or existing brand, you can collaborate with us so we understand which category, subcategory, or segment you’re targeting. We’ll look at your consumer and market research as well as the HBW landscape, and drawing on our expertise, determine where it best fits within the Fine Line codes. By utilizing our category, competitor, and product knowledge we may then recommend a new primary or secondary placement for that item.

Fine Lines help bring into focus our market and competitive intelligence analysis because they easily identify the other brands that you desire knowledge and information about to most thoroughly prepare your brand to compete in the market segment.

You can count on HRG to keep pace with the dynamic, “box of chocolates” (Fine Line 5321), world of consumer goods.