25.1.12

Retail Glossary – PARASITE

Richa recently introduced us to the term “Retail Parasite”. While we have always been designing these ‘wall hanging solutions’ for retail, the term ‘Parasite’ immediately caught my fancy. Read on to see why this would be one of my most recommended retail units for general trade as well as modern trade.

What is a Retail Parasite?

A retail parasite is a shelf or wall based hanging unit with a few specific characteristics.

  1. Vertical orientation
  2. Multiple slots for a small number of SKUs
  3. Usually hooked on the vertical strip of a shelf
  4. Usually made of light, economic board material
  5. Generally uses bright, brand colours to break clutter
Why should you deploy Retail Parasites?
  1. Economical Production Cost – Parasites are generally made from light weight, cost effective boards which contain their cost to below Rs. 50 per unit (US$1). Even with extravagant use of metal and acrylic, retail parasites rarely cross Rs. 200 per unit (US$4)
  2. Retail Strategy Needs – Given the economic nature of retail parasites, they can be rolled out across a large number of stores. They become an extremely important asset while launching brands in general trade.
  3. Acceptance by Trade – Retail parasites are a favourite for trade participants for a variety of reasons -
    • Light weight and less breakage – Since the parasites are made out of light weight board, they become extremely easy to handle by trade. Retailers are not concerned about the effort needed to fix the parasite or rough handling that might damage the unit.
    • No fabrication impact – The entire retail parasite structure generally hangs from a single hook or nail. In the case of modern trade, more modular shelves have notches on which parasites are readily hung. In the case of general trade, once again, shelf planks are dotted with nails. This means that the retailer has to make no additional fabrication effort to accommodate the parasite.
    • No planogram impact – The hidden ace for the retail parasite is that it has a low Shelf Footprint i.e. irrespective of where you place the parasite, visibility of the existing items on the shelf remain virtually unhindered. For the retailer, this means no additional effort in re-arranging existing stocks.
  4. Tactical Retail Placement – In a modern trade environment, brand managers have the ability to negotiate for cross category placement. Given the light weight and low footprint of the unit, it is easy for brand owners to create a presence for their brands in complementary categories. E.g. The marketer of a leading brand of cheese chooses to introduce a retail parasite in the bread and bakery section of the modern trade outlet.
  5. Retail branding needs – In today’s competitive retail environment, most brands are reduced to 3 to 5 facings on a shelf. Using a retail parasite, brands can increase their total facings by 2 to 4 more facings i.e. almost an increase of 80% in the number of facing.
  6. Modular – A well designed retail parasite also allows for linking smaller unit holders that allow the numbers of facing to be increased from 2 units to as many units as needed. Therefore based on the clear height available in the retail space, the height of the retail parasite can be adjusted.
Looking forward to your feedback on what I might have missed. We’re planning to make this a regular feature. Let me know if there are any specific retail units you’d like to know about, or any specific retail problem you’d like to address and we could jointly figure out which retail units / solutions work best.

Contributed by Devatanu Banerjee, VP - Retail & New Media at DY Works.

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