Substitution Behavior

s-image001Our marketing efforts are often closely tied to our version of the structure of our category. This structure may be derived from any number of sources, including internal agreement, maps based on attribute ratings, brand-switching maps from household panel data, just to mention a few.s_image003

Each of these data sources and the techniques for analyzing those data have individual quirks that make interpretation difficult. 4D Shopper lets us get to the basic question – if a product I want goes out-of-stock, will I switch and buy another product or will I leave the category?

To do this, we bring up a sign saying “Sorry, this product is temporarily unavailable. Please select another product or exit the shelf if there is no substitute” when a selection is made. 


The product disappears from the shelf, creating a visual out-of-stock situation. We can look at what the shopper next:

  • Do they buy another product of the same brand? Flavor? Size?
  • Do they switch brands?
  • Do they leave the shelf without making another selection?


This data can be cross-tabbed to get to primary loyalty factors (and further broken down in a chain, step by step). We often put this data through factor analysis, treating switching as a correlation coefficient, and through hierarchical clustering, to show you visually how consumers see the structure of the market.

Related Posts:

A Research Perspective on Portfolio Management” discusses ways of thinking about brand assortment and how to research solutions with virtual reality.
View or download by clicking here

Understand how consumers think about your category in a product-oriented research simulation!

To see a case study on substitution, click here.

To learn more about how 4D Shopper works, click here.

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