Business Summit Spotlight: Learning How to Maintain Competitive Advantage at Retail
Navigating the retailer-supplier relationship and returning a good profit can be a challenge, especially as you work towards scale within major retail. The truth is there’s no secret sauce, and even those who’ve been in the aisle the longest are jostling to maintain a competitive position amongst the wave of new challenger brands.
Jessica Gordoun has been on both sides of the fence. A former buyer for Coles Supermarkets and The Reject Shop, she is now a snack company founder and co-founder in Ranged consultancy. Jessica now negotiates with buyers daily across major retail channels for high-performing brands.
This year Jessica was one of more than 14 speakers presenting on a wide range of business topics at the 2022 Naturally Good Business Summit.
Here are the highlights from her Business Summit presentation – Maintaining Competitive Advantage at Retail.
Which new brands work best in retail
“New brands that have already built brand awareness and a following online tend to work best. This usually means the brand can mobilise their vast, loyal community to buy in retail stores, which guarantees immediate sales for the brand and retailer.
“The types of products that are most successful have broad appeal in a category gap. This means they don’t cannibalise existing sales but rather bring incremental customers and sales to the aisle. This is what buyers are looking for and in major retailers this is a key metric.”
How to supercharge your retail sales and maintain a competitive advantage
Jessica says for maximum success it’s all about the rule of 3’s to get to LEVEL 3:
Improve competitive sales of existing SKUs
- Be proactive with your sales
- Refine, refine, refine your funding strategy
- Retailers don’t build brands, you do
- Think broadly about distribution
- Volume isn’t everything
- give more, get more with distributors
Build an effective new product development pipeline
- Brand clarity is key
- Inspiration is everywhere
- Keep your friends close and your buyers closer
Keys for maximising appeal to retailers
- Have a brand with a unique selling point
- Address a strong customer demand
- Have an impressive set of commercials (inc. RRP, Cost, Pricing, Promotions and Marketing Funding)
- Have a track record of effective marketing building brand awareness and following
- Get runs on the board with small retailers to have a sales history where they can share data
Tips for pitching a product to a retailer
“Firstly, make sure you know what section/category you are pitching for, do multiple store walks to understand the category/layout/competitor set, and request the margin expectations from the buyer. Also ensure you have worked through your commercials, and put together a concise, commercially focussed presentation. Focus on how you differ to the existing range and rehearse the presentation!
“Remember buyers are just people, there’s no need to get nervous. Be on time, make sure the tech works, and talk to your brand and key points. For anything you can’t answer send a follow-up email within 72 hours.”
When not to pitch to retail
“Do not pitch if you’re not ready from a financial or operational perspective. You’re doing yourself a disservice if the buyer chooses to range your product but then you have to pull out. Problems include a late supply due to your financial position, COGs inflating, not having your operational ducks in a row or an inability to meet timelines. Australia has a tiny retail industry – your reputation is important.”
Businesses that have cracked the retail market
“Getting ranged at retail is a major achievement. One brand my business Ranged represents is Muscle Nation. They already had a huge following online for their apparel business which they started in 2016. Last year they launched protein bars and powder in Coles and have driven huge sales. Today it is the top brand in the Health Food category.
“Another brand that had a phenomenal launch with Coles is Monday Hair Care. Founded in New Zealand it very quickly took market share from dominant beauty brands within the first four weeks. They’re now stocked world-wide.”
Whether you’re in the start-up phase or an established player, the Naturally Good Business Summit delivers the information and connections to help transform your business.
Returning in 2023, make sure you’re in the room to gain the hottest industry insights and build new and meaningful business relationships. Find out more here.