gies may be constantly realigning, but some basic concepts have staying power. A cover from Oct. 4, 1993, pointed to an evolving order of strategies for supermarkets. Efficient Consumer Response was an oft-repeated catch phrase, but a survey conducted by Marketing Corporation of American in conjunction with SN highlighted a power shift in retailer-manufacturer relations that was making ECR a much lower priority for supermarkets.
The strategies of supermarkets and mass merchandisers were drifting further apart as supermarkets positioned category management as a top priority. Continuous replenishment, the retailer end of the ECR chain, ranked far lower on a scale of priorities for supermarkets. Mass merchandisers, however, dramatically reversed those priorities, rating continuous replenishment as the most important strategy they had.
The competitive impact of those diverse approaches was apparent, even in 1993. Now almost a decade later, the catch phrases have changed but the strategies remain the same. ECR is no longer a front-burner issue, but category management principles and value-added services are still hailed as key tools for the competitive survival of supermarkets.