Business As Usual

‘Pinoys are smart buyers’

- Estela Banzon- De La Paz -
Did you know that the Philippines pioneered in the sachet retail business in the 1980s? And that compared with our Asian neighbors, our shampoos and other personal care products have the most variants in terms of fragrance and enhancers?

"Along with the Taiwanese, Filipino consumers are very smart buyers. They look for the best deals with less cash out," said Benedicto "Poch" Cid, Jr., managing director of ACNielsen Philippines.

Much of these innovative retail and marketing strategies such as the use of sachets were borne out of a detailed study and profiling of consumer behaviour. The sachet business is now being copied by other countries like Indonesia and has so far, been proven to be a successful retail strategy.

Such innovative ideas could not have been possible if consumer preferences have not been accurately mapped out. ACNielsen Philippines, the country’s largest market research company has been studying the attitude and behaviour of Filipino consumers for the past 30 years.

According to Poch Cid, the demand for research will continue to grow over the years as competition tightens in the market place. With this challenge, Cid believes that as a research agency, ACNielsen Phils. is in the best position to meet the needs of their clients because of the vast information and systems they have accumulated and developed over the years.

He explained that they have four fields of expertise namely: retail audit and scanning, consumer panels, consumer research and advanced analytics consultancy. These four services help them determine the consumers’ likes and dislikes, preferences, frequency of shopping and habits.

First expertise, according to Cid, is that they have institutionalized their retail audits and scanning to get information.

In fact, ACNielsen has existing tie-ups with big outlets like SM, Robinsons and smaller ones like groceries and sari-sari stores. For the big supermarkets, the scanning devices immediately record purchases daily.

By sharing this information with ACNielsen, it is easy to track what items are the most sellable and which ones are not. The outlets also benefit from this information as it will help them and their suppliers determine the most efficient and attractive way to sell their products.

Sari-sari store audits, though done manually, play a major role since these outlets are the most commonly patronized by the Filipino consumer. It is the fastest growing retail outlet in the country for the past several years. That partly explains the success of sachets from food to personal care products.

And in order to get an idea into the consumers’ preferences- likes and dislikes, what products a certain group of people buy and where they buy it, ACNielsen has formed consumer panels. The panels are divided among various groups of people "A,B, C,D, E; singles, family, etc." This way, it is easier to track down what are the preferences of each classification group.

With this wealth of data, ACNilesen can now use this information for their consumer research. In this phase, the consumers’ habits, behaviour are now easily be mapped out. As such, the results derived from consumer research can be used by companies for their advertising strategies and even product development.

Cid said that to further upgrade their market research, ACNielsen will be re-launching its Advanced Analytics Consultancy (AAC) this March. The AAC uses various modeling techniques to determine the effects of possible changes in a product. These changes may be in the form of a price increase or decrease, upsizing or downsizing of a product. It gives the company an idea of the impact such changes may have on their products.

In order to ensure the success of AAC, Cid said a lot of training have been done to prepare the team handling the project. Experts from ACNielsen New York, Australia and Thailand flew in to train the team. ACNielsen Phils being a VNU company has access to training and other research programs of other VNU companies worldwide. (VNU stands for Verenigde Nederlands Uitgeversbeddrijven)

To take things a step further, Cid said he plans to speed up the whole research process. "It’s not going to be easy but we are working on the whole process and taking field information more quickly – the thrust of ACNielsen Phils. is consistent with the direction of the global company in what we have built so far – more intensive and reliable research processes."

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