Speaking at the 2018 UK Bottled Water Industry Conference last week, Nick Kirby of shopper analytics consultancy Bridgethorne told attendees suppliers needed to align their thinking with retailers to create market opportunities.
“The most successful suppliers will be those that form open, trusted and collaborative relationships with retailers, agreeing shared targets and goals and working together on planned activities and new product development,” said Kirby.
“But that demands a well-resourced, multi-functional team of the right calibre, a strong understanding of the market, category, customer and shopper and an ability to work collaboratively to develop and tailor plans.”
Suppliers would need to cultivate a strong understanding of their customers’ businesses, priorities and requirements and work towards their goals, urged Kirby. Instead of working to secure a short term contract with retailers, suppliers should work on long term goals to keep working with customers for the long term.
“They need to differentiate their offer and provide some exclusivity or first to market opportunity to help a retailer be competitive versus other retailers and the discounters,” added Kirby.
“They also need to demonstrate a long term vision for category growth. That means adopting an unbiased category approach rather than simply pushing their own agenda or product range, and sharing shopper insights and trends with clear recommendations.”
Look differently at consumers
Manufacturers and suppliers were also encouraged to look differently at consumers too. Kirby believed that consumers chose where to shop based on personal experience and were not limited to just online on in-store channels.
“There are simply shoppers, choosing to buy from different stores depending on their shopping mission, the consumption occasion, their lifestyle, their previous experiences and the ability of a retailer to meet their needs and expectations,” Kirby said.
“Shoppers can be influenced by a greater number of messages and purchase choices. Suppliers need to understand that and factor it into their approaches.”