Competition: Evaluation and Recommendations
Within six years, sales of Greek yogurt in US increased 35 times with Greek yogurt taking over one third of the yogurt market share. Marketing research determined that consumers prefer Greek yogurt because it is tarter, thicker, and contains more protein than traditional yogurts. Thus, it appeals to health conscious consumers as a good choice of hearty, portable, healthy and high in protein snack. Retailers noted that Greek yogurt brings new customers and drives sales. For this reason, they allotted more shelf space to Greek yogurt, and initial success bred more success. Traditional yogurt marketers lost a large part of the market share and completely discontinued manufacturing of some of the lighter texture yogurts. In response to this challenge and current demand, traditional yogurt marketers conducted market research as a first step. Then, they developed new products and changed product strategy by launching their own brands of Greek yogurt.
Demand for a particular product determines how much shelf space for it is allocated in the department store or supermarket. Department and grocery stores, supermarkets and retail chains decide by themselves how much of a shelf space to allot for a particular product. Criteria used are demand, popularity, sales volumes, attraction of new consumers and qualities of a sales leader. Traditional yogurt makers can regain competitive advantage against Greek yogurt by following certain product development recommendations. First, they should continue developing their own line of Greek yogurts since this product is a market leader. Second, they should eliminate quality concerns to compare positively to Chobani Inc. since five percent of Chobani products have quality problems. Third, small group of customers like Greek yogurt, but they miss flavors that were present in discontinued lighter texture yogurt line. Thus, traditional yogurt manufacturers can regain this clientele by simply adding presently unavailable flavors to Greek yogurts. Also, research indicated that nearly half of children were not favoring Greek yogurts. This indicates that manufacturers have the opportunity to fill this gap with their products and target children as untapped potential consumers.
Importance of Marketing Research for Regaining Market Share
Yogurt manufacturers should conduct marketing research to gain insight into consumers’ psychology and behavior related to yogurt. The following methods can by employed effectively. First, yogurt makers can use surveys and interviews to find out how they can achieve maximum customer satisfaction. Surveys will help analyze target market. Consumers should feel that the manufacturer makes a conscious effort to communicate with them with customers’ satisfaction in mind. Second, exploratory research can be conducted via working with focus groups to identify personal consumers’ preferences and possible incentives. Third, researchers can use observation for evaluating actual behavior of consumers. Fourth, experiments and field trials can be a used for generating ideas and forming them into recommendations for stores on how to use shelf space more efficiently, in order to fit bigger variety of products into the same space. Additionally, this method can help to formulate recommendations for possible changes in shape of products so that more products can fit on shelves. Last, manufacturers can employ online research of consumers’ preferences and use already existing data about yogurt market. The above described methods will help to strengthen traditional yogurt manufacturers’ positions in competing with Chobani and Greek yogurt successfully.
In a highly competitive business environment, professional and comprehensive marketing research with employment of suitable research methods can boost sales, regain market share and contribute to significant competitive advantage.