Amazon Enters the Retail Mainstream

For the first time, leading consumer packaged goods manufacturers ranked Amazon among the Top 10 in this year’s Kantar Retail PoweRanking study. The survey, now in its 17th year, benchmarks how trading partners view each other in the most important areas of the manufacturer-retailer relationship. Amazon was especially recognized as a future Power Retailer. A manufacturer participant commented:

“As online shopping continues to grow, Amazon is set up perfectly to continue capturing share of the market. They have an incredible equity and trust with shoppers, what appears to be a solid business model, and strong leadership in place.”

The top seven retailers maintained their overall rank in the PoweRanking, with Walmart continuing as #1 for the 17th year. Walmart continues to stand out for its excellence in supply chain management, where efficiency and availability have become more critical. They are also recognized for providing partnership opportunities. A manufacturer comment underscores this:

“Walmart, being by far the largest retailer, will continue to evolve and adjust to consumer/shopper needs. They are open to building strategic partnerships with manufacturers and they capitalize on the available information to build their plans.”

On the manufacturer side, retailers have ranked Procter & Gamble #1 in the PoweRanking Composite each year for the last decade. Retailers have continued to recognize them as #1 in four of eight measures – Clear Strategy, Important Brands, Innovative Marketing and Insights/Category Leadership. However, Unilever has leapfrogged from #4 to #2 in the PoweRanking Composite and is on the heels of P&G. General Mills is nearly tied with Unilever, and surpassed Procter & Gamble to take the lead in Supply Chain Management and Customer Teams.

The 2013 PoweRanking report points to a more constant stormy environment as retailers overlap in geographies and offerings and as shoppers have the opportunity to buy more products anytime, anywhere. Retailer participants in the study consistently highlighted leading manufacturer partners who act as a beacon, providing a short-term plan and a longer-term vision for growth. As a major retailer explained:

“We need a short-term component of 12-15 months and a longer-burn view of two-five years. We won’t turn around anything in a year.”

Retailers noted that they are more ready than ever to test concepts for growth. They highlighted General Mills for its continuous test-and-learn philosophy:

“General Mills is willing to take risks with us to test new programs that allow us to learn and re-apply with other suppliers. We had some real tangible wins with them in 2012.”
Other key findings from the PoweRanking 2013 report include:
• Following Kraft’s split into Kraft Foods Group and Mondelez International, the new Kraft Foods Group debuted in the 4th rank in the PoweRanking Composite.
• Walmart regained its top ranking in Category Management/Buying Teams after being edged out by Target in 2012.
• Target maintained its second rank in the PoweRanking Composite. Manufacturers ranked Target as #1 in Best to Business With, Innovative Merchandising and Digital Marketing. Target also moved from #4 to #2 in Supply Chain Management.
• Whole Foods had significant gains in 2013, moving from #13 to #11 in the PoweRanking Composite. Manufacturers ranked them among the Top 10 in Clear Strategy, Branding, Future Power Retailer and Innovative Merchandising.

The annual study by Kantar Retail, the world’s leading insights and consultancy business, is comprised of customized questionnaires for retailer and wholesaler respondents in food, drug, mass merchandiser, dollar, convenience and club channels and manufacturers in food, household products, general merchandise and health & beauty care. The purpose of the study is to identify those manufacturers and retailers who are best in class and provide insight into what distinguishes them. PoweRanking Study included responses from over 500 retailers and manufacturers to benchmark the top partners in eight key areas.

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