Your competitors might be different than you think

July 6, 2015By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

by Jen Johnston

If your HBW brand is crossing over from the natural market to conventional channels, you may need to look at your competitors differently.

For example, say you are a brand that is very well established and successful in the natural space — a true leader in your category. Now you are crossing over to conventional channels — mass retail, drug chains, and grocery — and are developing a strong story for the retail buyers.

As part of a competitive SWOT analysis, you decide not to include a popular homeopathic product despite the fact they have the same delivery system and are used for a similar purpose. Your reasoning? “That brand is homeopathic and we are natural — it’s a completely different shopper base.”

That may be true of the people who shop the natural channel. There is a good chance those consumers are educated enough on the nuances of natural and holistic modalities. Some are loyal to homeopathy, some to herbals, some to flower remedies.

However, in the conventional market, most shoppers either A) just want something that works, and they don’t care if it’s natural or not, or B) just want something they perceive as natural, and they don’t really know the difference between something homeopathic, herbal, non-medicinal, or “natural.” They feel better just knowing that they aren’t purchasing products with chemicals, preservatives, or anything they perceive as artificial.   your competitors might be different

The conventional retail buyers know this about their stores’ customers. They may even believe this themselves — “natural is natural is natural.”

My husband is the perfect example of this. Before we began seeing our naturopathic doctor for our boys’ GI problems, he called any and all natural products I brought home “homeopathic” — he lumped them all together. Now he knows the nuances, and guess what? He has become a shopper of the natural market.

So, even though that homeopathic product has never been your competitor before, now that you are making the transition to conventional, it is your competitor. Study what your competitors are doing well and identify where the opportunities lie. Then communicate the advantages your brand brings to the store shelves.

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