Getting Shelf Space in IrelandSimon Harkin
Getting Shelf Space in Ireland
It’s a challenge. There’s a colossal amount of research involved in getting a good overview of the market, particularly for niche products, to find out how to win shelf space for your brand.
Some information may have been documented and available for general viewing, but newer or niche/specialty products may not have been through enough sales cycles to generate any kind of publically available report yet. If you’re trying to research the market on your own, be prepared for an enormous amount of legwork, coupled with many hours of desk work.
Invaluable Insight on Current Competition
TBS offer insight into consumer trends and shopping behaviour, and more importantly they are familiar with each store on their network, from the decision makers to the floor space; the planogram to the local consumers – and the current competition to your brand.
They regularly audit the range of products and know brand names, price points and pack sizes, as well as promotions that have worked and those that have led to lots of excess stock.
This allows them help you in determining which retailer best suits your product; how it will fit within their existing range and where you should be with your pricing for the end user.
Opportunities within Categories
As buyers for multiple retailers and discounters are invariably very busy, they must depend on tried and trusted distributors like TBS to understand all of their categories and know where the opportunities lie for bringing in new products and brands.
TBS see the bigger picture (nationally and internationally, so larger opportunities may arise) and know what is on offer throughout the wider market place and on shelves in Ireland.
You should be aware of all of your competitor products; how they are packaged and priced. You also need to know all the details that may apply to your product when it comes to statutory regulations like insurance, labelling, food safety, etc.
TBS help you define your product offering, as they need to be able to go to decision makers and articulate the USP of your brand.
Why will the retailer want to stock it? What is different or appealing about it? Is it your ingredients, or the style of your product – does your branding and packaging accurately represent your identity and the perception you want to create?
Practical considerations in securing shelf space
As the Irish market is so very competitive, and securing shelf space is tough, your packaging and presentation need to be on point. You’re not going to be standing next to the shelf to hand it to the consumer, so it needs to be able to sell itself, and a good distributor will constantly fight your corner for premium space; customer eye-line and ensure the product stands out.
TBS will help you with all of the practical considerations that must be addressed. For example, is the product stackable? How many can fit in allocated shelf space? Is it an odd size or is it easy to slip into the space the retailer has given it- products with odd dimensions are a pain in the neck for retailers.
Do you have SRP (Shelf-ready packaging) for your product? This makes it easy for the retailer to just slip the package containing units into place on the shelf, particularly for multiples and discounters.
If you have SRP or if it is suggested to you, you’ll need to think about its design. For example, your brand name will need to be clearly visible on the box itself but the box mustn’t hide the individual packs – think along the lines of a protein bar, easy to slip a box onto a shelf with its own eye-catching branding and easily accessible units inside, front and centre for the taking.
The TBS team constantly visit stores and will monitor how your product looks, checking things like is someone constantly ‘fronting’ the product (pulling it towards the front of the display once the first couple have sold, rather than leaving what looks like a hole) and generally ensuring your hard-won presence in the store is being optimised.