The client, a global player in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), is looking for new opportunities to grow its presence worldwide. The ambition is to launch a new product category in France, one of the major European countries. Successful launches have already been realised in smaller European countries – the time is ripe to enter one of the largest markets in the EU with a strategy tailored to its unique characteristics.
The target market is large (multi-billion €) and growing, but competition is fierce. A small number of players dominates the market at various price points, successfully leveraging many different (sub)brands. At the same time, other new entrants are targeting smaller niches. How can the client successfully and attractively gain shelf space with leading retailers? Which customers should be targeted – and where do they shop? How to gain market share from dominating competitors, or are there opportunities to grow the market? A strategy is needed, covering everything from customer behavior and sale channels to distribution and product pricing.
As a starting point, we established the potential customer base and identified pockets of likely buyers. As is common in ‘nice-to-have’ product categories, consumer preferences and shopping trips proved to be quite different from other European countries. This highlighted the need for a dedicated strategy here. Combining insights from consumer surveys, frequent shop visits and big data analysis of retail transactions, we identified the most attractive entry points into the market. This was supported and verified with expert interviews, e.g. with managers of leading retailers. In various workshops with the client, we translated these findings into an actionable strategy, prioritizing the client’s resources and weighing short term investment versus long term profit. To maximize our grasp on the French market, we worked roughly half of our time in Paris and the other half in the Netherlands.