Building a Strong Customer Base in IrelandSimon Harkin
Building a Strong Customer Base in Ireland
Understanding of the Irish retail landscape is key to determining where you want your product to be in order to attract customers; drive sales; increase brand awareness and build brand loyalty.
In order to first win and then grow business within the Irish retail sector, you’ll need to know who the players are.
Concentration of Largest Irish Retailers
The large stores with a number of locations are multiples (for example; Dunnes Stores; Musgraves Supervalu/Centra; Tesco Ireland).
You also have the discounters whose market share is on the rise like Aldi and Lidl, as well as independent specialist shops in each area of Ireland.
To build a brand with a viable level of volume, you will need to get your product into shops, either locally or nationally. As the Irish retail market is quite concentrated, with the top three Tesco, Dunnes and Musgraves owning the lion’s share of the market overall, there’s healthy competition from the growth of discounters Aldi and Lidl.
Through the recession these discounters changed consumer perception about product quality in their stores, and now in 2017 Irish consumers frequently complete part of their weekly shop there.
The range of products and choice is a little more limited than the larger multiples, so many consumers will visit both multiple and discounter stores whilst shopping to get all the items they want or to try new products in response to promotions.
Engaging with the Top Five Retailers
Suppliers need to engage with at least one of the aforementioned top five retailers. If your product is a niche or speciality one, such as a ‘free from’ or healthy eating product, you’ll need more than a good provenance to get noticed on the colourful and engaging shelves of busy stores.
Branding and packaging need to stand out, and positioning in-store is just as important. Trying to capture the attention of consumers who are bombarded with visual information is a challenge, which is why a savvy distributor makes an excellent partner.
Your product may be organic; home grown or free-from, but those characteristics aren’t enough on their own to guarantee repeat sales when you’re trying to build a business.
Products must firstly meet a need (perhaps one the consumer didn’t know they had until they saw your product); offer excellent quality and value for money, and offer something that piques consumer interest.
TBS is an Experienced Distributor with keen sense of brand development
TBS have years of experience in watching products succeed and fail. They can help you hone in on selling points to consider when developing your brand. What need can you meet for the consumer? Will it be a long-term need, such as the demand for convenience, or a healthy habit? Will it form a fundamental, regular part of the weekly shop or is it considered a treat?
The recession made consumers extremely savvy as they had to be more frugal with their spending habits, and despite a degree of economic recovery, many shoppers adopted and kept the habit of making a list before entering a store.
Consumers will also seek promotions in-store and pricing reductions in-store and aren’t shy about comparing prices online to seek the best value.
Understanding consumer behaviour and monitoring market trends is another advantage TBS can offer suppliers, as they have an informed overview of every region and market intelligence they can put to work for you.
A great distribution partner will work with you to develop the kind of comprehensive plan to ensure a coherent approach to scaling your business. TBS have the know-how to implement it, and they can help you with the following steps to enter the market and build a strong customer base.
- Identify your target market (who is your end-user? What matters to them?)
- Clear definition of your product offering
- Your production plan and packaging
- Current production ability to meet listing demands
- Pricing structure
- Volume projections and impact on price/economy of scale
- Choosing optimal retailer for your product and your target market
- Gaining access to those multiples/retailers and determining the steps from agreement to list to getting on the shelf
- Full logistics plan; EDI ordering and all administrative issues
- Credit risk (once TBS buy your products they are responsible for selling them; no risk to supplier)
- Working with you to develop an overall implementation plan
TBS work hard to represent suppliers’ best interests, and their detailed knowledge of the market means they are welcomed by busy retailers. The TBS network is an excellent tool to build a strong brand; increase your sales and establish a strong foundation for your business.