Getting a 'read' on an unusual competitor

Desirable, high-visibility impulse-purchase space near retailers’ checkout is growing increasingly crowded.

Most of you pay heed to the competition, determining how you can economically produce a superior packaged product that better meets the needs of your customers. Those efforts don’t leave much time to ponder the fact that as a packaged goods company, you too are viewed as the competition. But this time by an unlikely source: consumer magazines.

“Other magazines are no longer publishers’ biggest fear on the shrinking newsstand. Today, consumer packaged goods and soft drink products backed by manufacturers with deep pockets are making a play for traditional magazine space at the checkout. How many publishers want to get into a spending war with Procter & Gamble now that the CPG giant is looking for more shelf space for recently acquired Gillette?” So asks the article, “Challenge at the checkout,” in the March 2005 issue of FOLIO:, a publication for magazine management.

The article quotes John D’Aloia, chief marketing officer of Source Interlink Companies, as saying, “You’re seeing products and companies competing at checkout that you would never imagine…Advil, Chapstick, Benedryl, and credit card companies.”

Check out your competition

Just like real estate in a prime location, checkout and front-of-store displays merit a premium financial investment. With that investment in mind, it’s one thing to note that magazine publishers see packaged goods as a competitive threat at the checkout. It’s quite another perspective to consider that those consumer publications may pose a sales threat to the packaged products your company sells in these high-rent displays where impulse purchases rule. Your packaging can make all the difference!

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