Get your product into Irish storesSimon Harkin
Get your product into Irish stores: what you need to know
Like many businesses, success within the Irish retail sector depends largely on not just what you know but how well you know your customers.
Companies who wish to sell from Irish shelves can make intelligent savings and drive volume by using a savvy distributor.
Experienced retail distribution companies know the market; are abreast of spending habits and have established relationships with stores at all levels that can be of enormous benefit to product sales.
Marketing specialty foods in Ireland
The Irish consumer palate has become increasingly sophisticated, and consumer trends indicate people are willing to spend on health and specialty foods.
Food products, particularly those packaged fresh for convenience, demand a quick cycle to meet the demands of their sell by and consume by dates.
Suppliers who need to move freshly packaged or limited shelf-life products quickly will benefit from partnering with a well-connected distributor. Getting products into new stores; increasing sales in current stores and ensuring stock levels are regularly replenished are the goals.
Dynamic approach for timely placement
A good choice of distribution partner, particularly in the niche and speciality foods arena, is one with the ability to react quickly and to work outside of fixed delivery schedules.
Having a wide network of retailers who trust the distributor allows them to trial products that may not have yet been listed for certain stores. This dynamic approach allows far sighted companies to ride the crest of a speciality wave and firmly establish their brand in the mind of the consumer.
There are a number of factors to be considered when establishing a marketing plan for food, from tests and trials in specific stores to positioning, branding, packaging, consumer research and a detailed market entry strategy.
Add to this the challenge of the perishable nature of food products, as well as any seasonal ingredient availability, and you’ll need to be very well organised to meet demand and grow sales.
A distributor will allow you to get into the market, providing increased opportunity to put your product under the nose of the consumer.
Brand Building and leveraging loyalty
Once a brand has achieved a ‘top-of-the-mind’ position – people who want a certain product will actively seek your brand – suppliers may wish to further develop their line using the success of the existing brand name. Your distributor will work to capitalise on existing brand loyalty and be selective about product placement in the store for a brand extension product.
They know how to benefit from the consumer tendency to buy from a preferred brand, even if there may be a lower priced offer from a competing product. A strongly developed brand loyalty is leverage to interest people in new items from your brand.
There’s a challenge in this that a distributor must remain active on, because building loyalty concerns more than the shopper merely deciding to pick up your product – they have to still opt for it even in the face of a promotional offer from a competitor selling a similar product.
Some people will switch loyalty when presented with a ‘better offer’ or well-placed promotion; so you should always be aware of activity within your category. A good distributor will either combat the competitor or ensure you’re not wasting your budget by running promotions at the same time.
For companies intending on selling their goods on the Irish market, choosing the right distributor will provide you with the tools for informed decision making; established relationships and market-specific knowledge.