Making Sense of CPG Brand and Item Ranking

CPG, FMCG & Retail | 04-02-2019

Brand and item ranking are important for both consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and the retailers that sell their products. Primarily, this ranking provides performance metrics for brands and individual products at the account and channel level. But it is also instrumental to gauging the size and opportunity of a market, and to enabling manufacturers to have more specific conversations with their retail buyers.

While much of what can be found in a brand and item ranking is relatively straightforward (which brand leads the category for the period on what volume, a particular UPC’s unit share, % ACV {all-commodity volume} per item), it is the deeper insights that a data analyst might extract that prove particularly beneficial to manufacturers in terms of market sizing and buyer engagement.

What’s coming off the shelf to make room for my product?

A manufacturer’s attention is perhaps naturally drawn toward his or her brand’s position in the category ranking, but just as important to pay attention to are the items that are underperforming, and that a retailer is likely to want to replace. Understanding what those are and how competing products compare to them can give manufacturers an edge in retail buyer discussions.

Takeaway: Identifying underperforming brands or items can help you convince a retailer that your product(s) bring more value and is more deserving of shelf space than competitor’s products.

What are the gaps in this buyer’s assortments?

At the account level, which items are underrepresented in the category? If the category is performing well across the channel, why doesn’t this particular retailer carry a wider selection of these products? Is there a brand that can adequately fill that gap? These are questions that a retailer will be eager to answer, because they have a clear and demonstrable impact on their bottom line.

Takeaway: Knowing what a retailer’s needs are within a category gives you a tangible argument for your product’s inclusion in their assortment.

Which categories are ripe for entry?

Similarly, brand and item ranking can identify categories that are either underrepresented in particular channels or accounts, or that have only a few brands dominating distribution in a given geography. For a manufacturer looking to diversify its product line—or looking to enter a new market or region—this can reveal opportunities for entry and growth.

Takeaway: Understanding which categories or geographies present the greatest opportunity is a strategic advantage.

Large CPG manufacturers have internal teams dedicated to scrutinizing brand and item rankings to create  a competitive advantage. But emerging CPG manufacturers with smaller teams and limited resources often benefit from additional guidance to help reveal the wealth of information behind brand and item ranking data. Nielsen helps these manufacturers leverage this data to drive more productive buyer meetings and inform the strategic direction of their businesses.

Does your CPG manufacturing company have the data it needs to assess the size of your addressable market and boost your engagement with buyers? We can help you find out. Contact us today.

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