Knowing the customer and their buying habits is a leading requirement for any retailer. In the discretionary consumer marketplace, it is even more of an imperative. If a company isn’t sure of its customer base and how it spends its money, it may as well fold up shop. Understanding who the customer is, how much they have to spend and what they really need for day to day living is the key to profit in a difficult retail marketplace. Finding a company that actually has this information, and is using it effectively, is the trick.
Vertical Branding Inc., a consumer products company, works to market recession resistant products to a defined target market. The company has recently reworked its marketing model to reflect an 80% wholesale to retail sales distribution mix.
As the discretionary consumer sector continues to have issues in a recessionary marketplace, Vertical Branding is finding reasonable performance. For the most part, this performance can be attributed to its pricing structure, product mix and demographic knowledge. The company’s pricing structure is oriented in such a way that its $19.95-$39.95 price target is largely unaffected by cost conscious 26-39 year old female consumers. This, accompanied by the old 3M adage “we sell things people use” has helped the company move forward in a difficult market. Awareness is the third leg of the company’s strategy that enables it to perform relatively well in a down market. Its marketing strategy is such that its products are found right in front of consumers, whether it be on an endcap, strategic “empty hole” that store owners need to fill or on television direct sales channels.
The company relies heavily on its ability to find, license and sell strategic products that suit its demographic. The company indicates that it is very satisfied with its demographic work and that it understands its primary customer base. With this in mind, the company has found primary product lines that include skin care products for drugstore and department store sales, step stairs for around the house and apartment, ultra-absorbent clean up cloths and lightweight fabric steamers to fit its customer’s needs and sales targets nicely.
In this last respect, the company is quickly hitting its stride. A reorientation away from the direct to consumer and more toward a wholesale strategy has boosted sales in the short time it has been following the approach. A longer product lifecycle, new product additions and increased wholesale penetration have begun to be seen in the company’s bottom line. Stability in a difficult market appears to be taking hold indicating that a nice upside, down the road, is waiting for this company on the move.
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