3 Ways Challenger Brands Can Compete: The Fight for Shelf Space Part 2

We all love an underdog story. In today’s consumer-driven world, underdogs have a real chance at success, even if the playing field is a little uneven. Take the battle for shelf space in retail, for example.

Category leaders receive data like sales history, pricing information, and turnover rates from retailers. They can then use this information to recommend layouts, determine shelf space, and make other recommendations for these retailers. This presents a significant advantage for these brands over the vast number of other competitors in their category, because they have more input when it comes to retailer decisions. 

Last week, we discussed what category leaders and challenger brands are and how they impact category management. Read “The Fight for Shelf Space: Category Captains and Their Changing Role” here.

As described above and in last week’s post, challenger brands are at a disadvantage, but they also have unique opportunities to capitalize on their position in their category. InContext Solutions works with challenger brands to help them utilize virtual reality to expose competitive advantages and navigate the complicated process of gaining shelf space in the 21st century.

Here are three ways VR allows challenger brands to take a step forward in the fight for that all-important place on the shelf:

Integrate VR into Planning and Research
Because of the dominate role a captain plays in a category, challengers have to aggressively provide value to retailers in order to compete and ensure their place in the category. One of the ways challengers have successfully gained the support and attention of retailers, even when up against a category leader, is through virtual reality. With InContext’s ShopperMX™ platform, brands are able to utilize virtual reality to visualize concepts and run tests in a life-like environment with actual customers to determine what will work and what won’t. They can then take the winning concept and the data behind it to make their case for shelf space. 

Have Attractive Visuals
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an attractive visual in retail could be worth thousands of dollars. When retailers are putting together future plans, visuals can play a role in their decision-making process. Challenger brands can create inexpensive 3D visuals or 360-degree videos of mock displays using virtual reality that can show a retailer how that brand will fit into their store and display plans. Literally seeing what a product will look like on their shelves and fit into a category goes a long way in convincing a retailer to give a lesser-known brand shelf space.

Deliver a Superior Experience
The service and experience a business provides on all levels impacts their reputation, and their sales. Challenger brands are in a unique position, in part due to their smaller and more manageable size, to provide a superior experience and better customer service to customers, retailers, and other companies in their category. Virtual simulations allow brands to more seamlessly collaborate with outside teams and retail partners. Brands that are easy to work with are more likely to be a favorite among retailers while ultimately providing a better overall experience for shoppers.

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