Wide choice is the best way ahead

With reference to Alan Mitchell’s piece “Time for all to embrace ECR’s logic” (MW January 31), the problem is one of sagging profits, as too many retailers chase an inelastic consumer purse. This purse is unable to keep up with the cost of the retailers’ reckless expansion of outlets, price-cuts and costly loyalty schemes.

The long-suffering brand manufacturers have gone as far as they can go to help fund this over-heated competitive battle.

But now, along comes ECR, based on the theory that all retailers and brand manufacturers can work together, sharing information and knowledge so products may be offered to consumers at a “better” price.

However, a key result of this “partnership” is a marked reduction in brand choice and marketing support. Money spent “unnecessarily” on npd, advertising, sales promotion, point of sale and PR may be better employed reducing prices.

It is probably right at this time for me to confess to being a supporter of ECR in its purest form – the basic principle being to provide the consumer with brands “better, faster, and at less cost”.

By all means make every component of getting a brand into production, and then into the consumers’ hands, accountable for making a profitable constitution to all involved parties.

But let’s not be seduced away from the need to offer the consumer a wide variety of choice in both product type, price, selling approach and presentation.

At it currently stands, ECR is being warmly welcomed by the “big boys”. But those companies only constitute a part of total consumer purchasing. Thousands of other brands need retail outlets to present their propositions to the consumer.

Alan Mitchell asked an important question in his article: “Who says that consumers want 1,500 different lines of yellow fats, 149 alcopops and 360 variants of hair styling products?” Well, Alan, I can enlighten you on that- the consumer says so. If they don’t the products don’t stick around for long. But even if some do, so what? Do we really want restricted brand availability, and restricted to the big boys to boot? Do we really want a regimentation of choice and presentation?

Nevertheless, if the consumer demand for ECR is there you will not find us wanting.

Mike Leeves

Director

LGM

London

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here