Solution Provider Spotlight: NAILBITER

June 13, 2023
by Amishi Takalkar, Co-Founder and CEO of NAILBITER

Tenure With Current Company: 9 years
Years of Industry Experience: 18 years

Give us a brief history of your company, when and how did you get started and what is your high-level mission statement?

NAILBITER was started in 2014 by industry veterans. Prior to NAILBITER the founders and investors were key leaders at a startup called Affinnova that was acquired by Nielsen

The goal of the company was to imagine the Market Research world post online surveys. Online surveys have made MR cheaper, faster but they have one key flaw: recall and rationality. People are not good at remembering what they did or what influenced them, especially in CPG categories.

Behavioral Science based techniques had been gaining momentum over the past 10 years but no one was focused on scale (how many people have VR headsets?)

Our mission is to scale behavioral research and uncover unique insights that other technologies and methodologies cannot pickup.

What would you like CMA and SIMA members to know about your brand/company?

We have built several new to the world tech platforms to enable our video based system.

Videometrics are a fundamentally better way of getting Shopper Insights than other methods as it is both observational but also scalable. It helps you understand not just the What but also the Why.

Because we leverage mobile tech, we are able to reach shoppers and consumers globally. We’ve conducted research on every continent (except Antarctica!) across various channels of trade (modern, traditional, online).

However our #1 asset is our people. We employ smart, knowledgeable storytellers that make our data highly actionable. Clients will often make BIG decisions right in the meeting where they are seeing data for the first time.

Last but not least, NAILBITER is minority owned and we are proud to have female leaders in all key parts of the business.

What is the most common question you hear from current and potential customers, and how do you answer it?

There are two big ones.

The first goes something like this “We have a meeting at XYZ retailer and we want to be strategic partners …”

This is a rather vague and difficult problem to solve. After many years of just using our consulting skills, 2 years ago we launched the NAILBITER Shopper Tracker. This platform is always on and scanning for marketplace opportunities.

  1. Walmart changed its planogram … we can answer the question on performance before it even gets asked!
  2. Competitor launched a new product … we will inform you (and predict its trajectory) before you even hear about it!

That last bit is the other big question we often get: “We just invested in this big new product launch, but it isn’t performing as expected!”

  1. This is another spot where observing what’s happening is really important. We frequently see that the product is good, but its shelf execution is poor which hurts performance. Forecasting and concept testing don’t factor in the real shelf context!

Any white space in the industry or areas you are looking to expand into?

More work needs to be done to optimize displays and merchandising before they hit the store floor.

We’re developing Augmented Reality solutions to help visualize and capture reactions to new displays or merchandising tactics.

Today, there is a lot of opportunity to build better displays and shelves, but the affordable, scalable tools don’t exist to consistently address this need.

Retailers should also be investing in understanding interaction between offline behaviors and online purchasing, and vice versa. In-store and online are becoming intertwined so observational understanding of where and how they intersect is vital!

What is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the category management and shopper insights disciplines going forward?

Shopper Insights has come a long way in the past 10 years.

I recall hearing of the CMA/ SIMA for the first time in 2015 and thinking of it as a fringe organization compared with the BIG MR conferences and industry groups.

I am pleased to say that CMA is our #1 investment today, because top manufacturers are waking up to the fact that Consumers are Shoppers first (and Consumers second).

We find that Shopper teams are free from the shackles of “this is how it’s always been..” and are open to trying new things and investing in new methodologies.

What needs to be addressed: Shopper Insights needs to get more centralized and global to facilitate information sharing across the organization. CI did it many years ago – centralized teams, sharing best practices at a global level, etc.

However, today, Shopper Insights is still very regional (if it even exists as its own team in many markets) and those regions often don’t talk to each other as much as they should.

How are you thinking about the next 3-5 years in retail?

We are seeing a sizable pendulum swing back to traditional retail.

COVID pushed the shopper far into the eComm world but now they are coming back for Price as well as the pleasure of the in-store shopping experience.

Of course, that doesn’t mean eCommerce is not important. It’s here to stay, but it is (and will continue to) merge with Brick ‘n’ Mortar in ways that bring the Convenience & Availability of Information of eCommerce to the Experience of shopping In-Store.

Additionally, Retailers must address inflation but at the same time think about a better user experience for their shoppers. Shopping should be fun and not a chore. There is more to driving value than Price alone!