Understanding The Retailer
To be successful as a supplier these days, you’ve really got to understand the retailer strategies and what they’re doing and where they’re going. One only has to look at the growth of private label. And as much as branded players didn’t like it, the share of shelf, is controlled by the retailers and they’ve got their strategies. Their strategies, are not Australian strategies, they’re global strategies used around the world. The aim is to put better products on the shelf for Australian consumers. So from a supplier point of view, you need to have a look what is going on in the market, understand it and work with them.
For me, I did move across to Coles for a year. A great learning experience. It was a lot more different than I expected coming from supply side. The cut and the thrust of the weekly sales that they work through. The amount of data they’ve got at their exposure, and the number of people that are pushing the barrow was, was pretty amazing.
It comes back to the engagement within the organisation. It’s got to be bigger than the buying team. The commercial team need to involve not just a front end of the businesses, not just the front end or the sales side of a supplier, it’s actually to get other people within the supplier organisations involved with other people in the organisation of the retailers. It’s great to get the marketing people in front of them to make sure our insights and their consumer thoughts are aligned to what products will bring to market. You can do the best marketing plans in your organisation, if you take them to the retailer and the retailer says, well, that’s not what we’re thinking, then you’ve wasted your time.