How to Attract the Attention of Distributors

Posted September 20th, 2018
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Cotswold Fayre is a fine food wholesaler supplying independent retailers with quality and gourmet products. Here, client of our sister company Escapade PR, and Chief Executive, Paul Hargreaves, gives his advice on how products can attract his attention:

What kind of launch offer do you prefer…we assume it’s not always about price?

Certainly price helps to engage the retailer to get things on the shelf. A launch price offer also helps to erase the thought from people’s heads that speciality food is much more expensive than the supermarkets as now retailers are realising the value of passing on the saving to their customers.

So when considering a new product, what advice do you have for producers considering how to price their product?

A new product can be the most innovative in the world, but unless it is at the right price, we may be able to sell it to the retailers, but they won’t be able to shift it from their shelves.

Shoppers don’t expect speciality products to be cheap, but they still need to be good value for the quality and there are certain price points for certain products that you cannot go over. For instance, anything in a jar must retail at under £5.

We would certainly like to sell larger volumes of higher priced products – if we can’t sell a pallet a month of a brand then it’s probably not going to work for us.

What are your main frustrations with approaches from suppliers who would like Cotswold Fayre to stock their products?

I think the main one is that too many suppliers simply do not realise how crowded the market is. They assume if they have a good product, we will have to stock it. However, it might well be the best product in the world, but if they don’t have a marketing budget, then it’s going to go nowhere.

To launch a brand requires a lot of very hard work. We find that a lot of the younger brand owners believe they can launch with a great social media campaign and it will all happen for them. I don’t think they realise just how busy the buyers are – for every one product in the category there are another nine sitting rejected somewhere.

We are generally looking for people that have been in the market for a year or two. We always ask potential new suppliers how many retailers they are stocking; if it’s only 20, that’s only one every three weeks or so for the past year. When we started Cotswold Fayre we had three or four brands and got into three or four retailers per day.

To ensure we take on the right brands, we put lots of hurdles in their way from the start, such as asking what their marketing budget is, expecting them to attend seven or eight launch events around the UK and expecting them to already have healthy retail distribution. If they can give a positive response to all our questions, then we know they are reasonably committed.

If you are interested in enrolling onto the Elevation Marketing programme for SME’s in the food and drink industry, please email info@elevationmarketing.uk for more information.