Imagine this. You’ve just launched your FMCG brand out into the world, you’ve got a buzzing ecommerce presence and you’ve even managed to build a decent following through social channels. Things are going pretty well for you and your DTC business, but something is missing.
You go for a walk to your local Coles and look longingly at the shelves as you picture your brand being displayed alongside your bigger competitors. The idea seems exciting but unrealistic. But is it? You hurry home and find that there isn’t a clear direction of how to make this happen. Worst of all, everything is so jargon-packed, it makes your head spin.
That’s where we step in. Ranged has been helping small and medium Aussie brands just like yours get right in front of your customers through our team’s extensive experience as Coles and Woolworths buyers and account managers. We are your go-to FMCG account management support system and we cut through the industry jargon to get your brand seen where it counts.
We know that getting your products on supermarket shelves as well as your current ecommerce strategy can transform your brand’s presence and revenue. The benefits of being displayed in a brick-and-mortar store are plentiful, such as increasing your brand’s credibility, reputation and awareness to current customers as well as giving you access to a whole new target market and revenue stream.
But where to start? Managing Director of Ranged, Jessica Gordoun recommends the following insider tips to get you in the game and get your brand ahead of the pack.
1) Create a sturdy commercial plan
If you want to approach a major retail supermarket chain like Coles or Woolworths, you need to start working on what will best engage their interest in your brand. They get approached by small businesses every day and so you must get organised and succinct about the details of your business and determine the viability of supplying to these retailers.
The quickest and easiest way to do this is by building a commercial plan that will answer any pending questions they may have about your products. This should be an extensive document that outlines all major components of your brand’s costs, retailer expectations and forecast run rates.
Lay out each section and make sure to include the regular retail price (RRP) of each item, promotional plan, marketing funding and freight rate. Forward planning will go a long way with supermarket chains and if you can complete this step successfully, you’ll have a much greater chance of ensuring you have the commercial framework that will capture their attention and ensure you can run profitably.
2) Build rapport with a Ranged Account Manager
This is where it might get a little tricky. You’re an expert in your brand but you need to know how to get specific about the world of FMCG and how to reach important stakeholders. This is where one of our trusty Account Managers comes in - someone who’s already built a great reputation and ongoing rapport with Coles or Woolworths buyers.
If you want to leave the industry jargon, terminology, compliance and overall complexity of the FMCG sector in capable, confident hands - we can help. The Ranged team is made up of expert Account Managers that can help create a more resounding connection with the supermarket chains. We’re already in frequent contact with buyers so you can skip some difficult steps by leaning on our industry support and know-how.
Reach out to us, lock in a meeting time and get ready to present your commercial plan and pitch to us first so we can handle the rest with ease as the process to reach supermarket shelves continues.
3) Work on a memorable retail pitch
Once you’ve sorted out the commercial and operational elements of how to get your brand on supermarket shelves, you can now work on building the ultimate pitch to engage their interest and really stand out from the crowd.
Arrange an in-person pitch to the Coles or Woolworths buyer you’re in contact with and show them why your brand deserves in-demand shelf space for your FMCG category. Your pitch should be comprehensive yet concise, and speaks to your brand’s unique selling points (USPs), audience, marketing and commercial offering for the retailer.
This is your chance to show how passionate and excited you are about what you do but especially, what sets your brand apart - your Unique Selling Point (USP). What makes your products different, better, more captivating than your competitors to your target audience?
Expect more complex questions to be thrown your way so cover these in your pitch. Think topics like “why should we stock your products?” and “what makes your brand better than xyz [your competitors]?” Make sure you consider these curveballs so the supermarket chains know you’re dedicated and committed to what you do. Be sure to also include positive customer reviews and evidence of grocery retail demand.
4) Negotiate your terms
Based on the feedback we give you in a meeting - whether it be about product range, price point, packaging or anything else - this is your time to negotiate the terms you want to bring to your commercial plan and pitch to Coles or Woolworths when you present to them.
Our wealth of knowledge in the FMCG space means we’re able to find the opportunity gaps in your plan and pitch so your products have the best chance of being ranged the way you envisaged them.
5) Prepare relevant documentation
At this point, if you’ve decided to work hand-in-hand with us to ensure your products make it to stores, it’s time to prepare all relevant documentation and systems for the retailers. There is a fair bit to work through but don’t worry, we’ll guide you through it all so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
We’ll be here to answer any questions you may have about what’s in the supermarket ranging contracts and everything in between. Rest assured knowing we’ve got you.
6) Ensure compliance & last minute details
Compliance is key to get your products ranging in Coles and Woolworths without qualms. The production process of your brand and its operations must be 100% compliant with the specific retailer’s requirements.
This could be anything from barcoding, configurations, portal set-up and EDI testing etc. It is crucial you get formal confirmation of your product ranging and distribution so the process is as seamless as possible for both your business and the retailer’s.
Compliance-related issues are one of our specialties so feel free to ask our knowledgeable team about any pending questions you may have. We’re here for you as a partner, every step of the way.
7) Meet retailer deadlines
Coles and Woolworths have specific deadlines they require their brands to adhere to. You want to make the best impression possible to your retailer as they’re helping get your FMCG products into the hands of new customers. It is of the utmost importance that you stick to stock into DC and store deadlines if you want retailers to be satisfied with your brand and continue to range your products well into the future.
How did you go? We hope this article has helped you make sense of the ever-changing world of FMCG retail. The reception from your Coles or Woolworths buyer is often contingent on how well thought out your commercial plan is, your retail knowledge, your brand equity and your relationship with the buyer.
If you can tick off all the necessary boxes the big retailers are looking for, you can expect incredible returns and benefits for your brand and its reputation. And as always, Ranged will help bring all of these retail-facing components to the table to create huge success for your brand. Contact us today to see how we can make your business dreams come true!