Consumer & Retail


Disruption is the name of the game in the consumer goods sector.

These are challenging times for consumer products companies. The internet has transformed shopping and buying habits, increasing the penetration of omni-channel retailers and creating better informed consumers. Leisure spend is adapting to changes and across all sub-sectors and consumers are placing increased value on high-quality experiences.

Continually evolving consumer needs create challenges for retailers and brand owners in addressing a more fragmented and demanding market, including:

Shifting demography: An expanding, wealthier and ageing population based in a smaller number of urban centres creates a new set of challenges and opportunities for retailers and consumer goods companies.

Move online: online retail is continuing to skyrocket, and small authentic brands have increasing power over traditional companies.

Shifting tastes: consumers increasingly demand healthy, minimally processed and more artisanal and locally food products, but without compromising on taste, price and convenience.

Experiences vs ownership: millennials value services and experiences over ownership, and new entrants are responding by offering services in the sharing economy, focusing on improving shopping experience and creating a more personalised offer.

Focus on value: consumers are also trading down and buying on the basis of value and convenience, as they seek budget retailers, online shopping and more frequent purchases from smaller stores.

Smaller competitors: the world’s largest food and beverage companies face declining top line growth as a plethora of smaller companies emerge to meet new consumer needs. These large companies now face a major growth gap and pressure from activist investors, and are required to launch more new and successful products to compensate.

Squeezed shelf space: in many non-food, specialty and also consumer healthcare categories, manufacturers must develop new go-to-market strategies as consumer buying behaviour changes and shelf space gets tighter.

Margin pressure: consumer good businesses are facing increasing complexity in global supply chains and intensifying competition. It has become more difficult to drive higher levels of growth and productivity.

Sustainability expectations: consumers, retailers and governments now expect food and beverage companies to minimise their environmental and social impact, whilst simultaneously maximising production and minimising costs.

However, with the challenges come new opportunities and imperatives:

Digital vs physical retail: the ability to pivot to a new way of retailing becomes a top priority, from the perspective of digitalisation, as well as making the best use of physical retail asset.

New shopping experiences: there are opportunities for fast movers to provide new shopping experiences, using m-commerce channels and home-based assistants combined with physical retail outlets as showrooms and experience centres rather than traditional high street stores and hypermarkets.

Data analytics: data analytics and machine learning offer opportunities to both improve supply chain operations and increase revenues by targeting specific offers to customers based on their shopping history.

Account teams: which retailers merit dedicated account teams and how should those teams be structured? How can manufacturers improve the skills of these key account teams to maximise their effectiveness?

The challenge is to maximise the impact and relevance of messaging so that it resonates with consumers, creates brand loyalty and guides their choices. This is critical at every stage of the path to purchase and at the point of purchase itself.

How we can help

Retailers are in a battle to find, understand, and connect with customers. We work with some of the most innovative consumer goods companies in the world to help them improve their processes and products, and satisfy customers in new and surprising ways.

Our experienced consumer products consultants help companies take advantage of these new realities, from strategy through execution. We understand the consumer products industry and its pricing, sales and distribution challenges. We’ve worked with companies across Europe to develop solutions for go-to-market and sales strategies, innovation processes, branding strategies, and pricing.

Our capabilities include a toolkit which addresses a broad spectrum of consumer businesses, including consumer packaged goods, food and beverages, and retail.

Consumer products: we work with businesses across the value chain, from private label manufacturers and suppliers to well-known branded goods.

Food and beverage: we work with manufacturers and brands ranging from established names to fast-growing start-ups.

Retail: our experience includes both bricks-and-mortar and online-only players.

We have experience advising both management teams and investors in fast growing and leading consumer businesses.

Strategy development: market research and opportunity assessment, revising competitive strategy, business analysis and consultancy.

Brand development: including brand positioning and developing brand portfolio strategy.

Innovation: aligning a dynamic product / service portfolio, innovating around new ways of creating customer value beyond the core business.

Value proposition design: proposition differentiation and value-based selling strategy.

Marketing: including consumer or market insight, digital marketing, sales effectiveness, customer management, pricing channel strategies, and operating models.

Marketing effectiveness: understanding the impact of sales and marketing promotions and improving the marketing mix by identifying which tactics provide the biggest returns (ROIs) and optimising the marketing spends.

Multi-channel: helping to transform organisations into seamless, customer-centric, omni-channel businesses.

B2B sales: supporting and improving key account and sales force management.

Analytics: customer segmentation and providing deep insight and foresight into consumer and customer trends, and improve the information and product flow around suppliers, stores, and customers.

Market entry strategy: research, analysis and prioritisation of new markets, finding the best way to launch (or relaunch) a market, or scale operations into new markets.

Emerging markets: developing go-to-market strategies in emerging markets as both retailers and manufacturers look to capitalise on growth by reaching untapped consumers.

Digitalisation: formulating key challenges, experimenting with proofs of concept and designing / scaling out new digital solutions and business models.

If you would like to learn more about our experience, please contact our consumer practice team.

Case studies

We have international experience advising consumer companies in multiple areas, including:

Strategic orientation: creating key guidelines of the go-to-market approach.

Product development: developing and pricing new products and service offerings.

Retail brand management: address the gaps to achieve growth and correct for undesirable brand image.

Promotion strategies: maximise marketing spend and outline the right promotion for the right consumer.

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Henderton acts as independent, trusted advisors to innovative companies throughout their growth lifecycle.

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