Syrup supplier celebrates direct action

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Retailing Online shopping

Syrup supplier celebrates direct action
Malmesbury Syrups, a supplier of flavoured coffee syrups, is witnessing impressive growth thanks to its online sales through Amazon.

Malmesbury’s positive experiences, together with those of other food suppliers, such as Scottish meat supplier Donald Russell, which now sells almost 40% of its output online – including through Amazon, could signal a radical change in the way many more niche food producers market their products.

It could also be a sign that the teething problems Amazon experienced​ following the launch of its online grocery store last year are now being resolved.

Even during last winter’s blizzards, which hit high street sales, business boomed, Malmesbury Syrups’ founder and md John Taylerson told a recent Food, Drink and Agriculture group conference at The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

“In November we were rushed off our feet. While the high street was suffering, online retailing was doing very nicely,”​ he said.

November and January generated Malmesbury’s highest sales, Taylerson added: “Increasingly what you find is as people find you online, they come back to you online … we are moving people away from traditional retail,”

Malmesbury has now extended its product range into mulling syrups for wine and cider. “On the back of that we shifted about 10,000 bottles in the run-up to Christmas, although not all online,”​ he said.

The company originally began selling his products via Amazon in February 2009. “A big proportion of the turnover of the business is now online and a lot of that is done through Amazon,”​ said Taylerson.

He added: “[Consumers]like Amazon more than perhaps our web site because they get the Amazon branding that says it’s okay and the guarantee that they will sort stuff out, as well as direct feedback and endorsement from other people who have used it.”

Taylerson said that it was important that what is done online is done carefully, because suppliers are so visible. “You can talk to consumers and consumers can talk directly to you. As a way of communicating; as a way of connecting with customers it is brilliant.”

Malmesbury Syrups has also produced a YouTube video, which provides a ‘guide to making the perfect coffee’​. “We’ve had a lot of fun using these things and it’s a lot cheaper than using trade advertising,”​ he said.

An added advantage for small producers is online sales margins were better than those achieved via retail, Taylerson said, with online sales like a “virtual farmers’ market”​, but with consumers more representative of the population as a whole.

Related topics Ambient foods

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