Performance Matters. Here’s Why:

Performance Matters for Proper Assortment. Here's Why:

When you shop, what is most important to you?  Do you buy the most expensive products, desiring the latest innovations?  Or do you prefer to save money, purchasing the lower priced products?  For many of you, it’s probably a combination of the two, depending on what you’re buying.  But what decision are you really making?  Is it based on price? Or performance?

For retail professionals, the most stressful time of the year is determining their “shelf.”   Picking the products that they will sell and that their customers will (hopefully) purchase.  They have lots of products to choose from, and of course, every product comes with a pitch that points out how it is the best in class.

But whom should the retailer pick?  The options are seemingly limitless with varying price points and multiple brands competing for a spot.  Even more importantly, how should that decision be made?

The answer is proper assortment, based on performance.  Proper assortment, or diversifying product space with varying price points, gets you halfway there.  The classic solution is carrying an Opening Price Point (OPP), Middle Price Point (MPP), and High Price Point (HPP).  While it sounds directly related to price (and it often is), the second half of the equation has to be performance.  After all, this is how customers view their purchasing decisions, isn’t it?  If I pay more, am I going to get more?  Every consumer looks at the shelf like this:

  • HPP – Best price & performance
  • MPP – Mid price & performance
  • OPP – Lowest price & performance

Sounds simple, right?  Unfortunately, with many retailers, we have found that performance does not always correlate with price.  Often, a poorly performing product will come with a high price tag.  Occasionally, a less expensive product performs better than expected.  Consumers are more educated than ever before, and the best seems to rise to the top through independent reviews, comment sections on webpages, and many other sources of information.  In this educated environment, retailers HAVE to analyze the performance of potential products BEFORE they put them on their shelves.  It’s like test-driving a car.  You wouldn’t buy it before driving it, right?  Those who don’t properly test risk disappointing their customers with crappy products, losing business to competing retailers as consumers find brands they can trust.

If you are a consumer that has identified a trusted brand, stick with it and share it with your friends.  It is likely that this retailer has the steps in place to ensure proper assortment based on performance and therefore, you get a great experience.

If you are a retailer that is not conducting product performance testing BEFORE selection, consider embracing the future.  Spending a little up front can reap tremendous benefits down the road.

Have you ever paid too much for a poor product or gotten a great product for a low price?  Share your experiences by commenting below!

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Rethink How You’re Buying


Best Product…Satisfaction Guaranteed…Best Value on the Market.

What do these and similarly appealing titles mean?  Whether you represent a consumer, a buyer, or a vendor, these terms regularly appear regarding an item’s performance.  But how are these statements made?  Who is the authority giving validity to these claims?

Believe it or not, there is rarely a consistent methodology behind these claims.  One manufacturer tells you one thing, followed by a competitor that tells you something else. While most products must pass safety and regulatory guidelines in order to be on the shelf, these levels are minimum standards.  Barriers to entry.  They have little bearing on the TRUE performance of a product.

Ok.  Then who do you believe when determining which product to buy?  Which product is the best performer, the best value, the best for YOUR shelf space or for YOUR home?

That’s where this blog can help.  Positioning itself as the leader in Product Intelligence Consulting for over 3 years, 4th Strand helps determine true product performance that cuts through the marketing bias.  This blog will bring you tips to use and things to avoid when making purchasing decisions.

Here is an example: when buying something as personal as toilet paper, what are you looking for?  Softness?  Durability?  Whiteness?  If that is the case, what do you do at the store?  Do you consider which product satisfies your needs at the best price?  Or do you just buy the brand you have always used?

The next time you see an impressive label or are faced with differing facts, rethink what you read.  True product performance is defined by your customer experience, not by what you read on a label..

Moving on Up!


OK. We totally ran out of space. So… we moved our office… not too far as you can see in the video, but you wouldn’t have known that unless I told you.

I asked one of our Managing Directors how we were able to do this. He explained, “We acquired the unique opportunity to increase our office space and staff due to an increase in workload and sustainable client relationships.Yes, that’s really how he talks. Luckily, you have me to translate. Sustainable client relationships simply means our customers like us because we go the extra mile to make them happy.

Psst! Here’s a secret, it got so bad; we started hiring people and asked them to work from their cars so they can still access the server on WiFi. Just kidding. We stopped doing that because it started getting cold. I’m still kidding!

The good news is healthy growth is a good thing. What do I mean by healthy growth? Well, our increased demand matches our organizational support strategy. In other words, we made sure we had the steady workload first, before we hired new employees.

Behold! The transformation.