It’s always cool to hear industry veterans validating your philosophy. At Repsly, we’ve seen brands earn lucrative exits by being super detailed and data-driven in their approach to retail. And during last week’s BevNET Live show in New York, I heard from key players in the food and beverage world who reiterated the importance of getting the retail piece right.
BevNET Live is a premier event for entrepreneurs in the beverage community. Held semi-annually in Santa Monica, CA and New York, NY, respectively, the show features several big-name speakers, as well as ample time for brands, suppliers, investors, and others in the industry to network.
Of all the speakers, the one quote that stood out to me above all else was from Vita Coco’s CEO, Michael Kirban: “Our biggest strength is retail execution."
That’s simply put, but the theme continued to come up as brand after brand took the stage in New York. With all that in mind, I put together a roundup of the best retail execution tips from BevNET’s standout speakers.
Read on to see how innovative brands are tackling (and winning at) today’s fierce retail landscape.
What happens if your products are flying off the shelves, but you’re receiving pressure to introduce new SKUs or even whole product lines? According to Jody Levy, CEO of WTRMLN WTR, sometimes you need to hold off on releasing new products if the market isn’t ready for them.
In the case of WTRMLN WTR, Levy had seven additional blends of her watermelon-based drink formulated, but had to wait years to release them at retail. She ultimately decided that it was more important to build a strong foundation with her one SKU, which was a first-of-its-kind product. She knew that consumers would need some education about the benefits of watermelon water before they’d be interested in infusions.
In the meantime, the brand focused on creating top-notch displays that would draw in consumers, and expanding its footprint in conventional grocers, drugstores, and mass retailers. As we can see from the brand’s obvious success, it’s safe to say that this strategy of patience and perfecting was worthwhile.
Perhaps your brand is in a position to bring new SKUs and product lines to market. One thing to consider before doing so, though, is whether or not your retail accounts are ready for them. Brad Barnhorn, a former board member at KeVita, warned that extensions could cause a brand to sacrifice SKUs of its core products if trying to slot the two lines on the shelf concurrently.
Something else to keep in mind is that even the most strategically introduced products are still brand new to the world. Barnhorn advised brands to carry out product demos paired with thoughtful education for a new line the same way you would with your core line.
Sparkling Probiotic Drinks. Fermented with our water kefir culture. Contains billions of live probiotics. Vegan. USDA Organic. NON-GMO Project Verified. pic.twitter.com/jchcW6aTsh— KeVita (@KeVitaDrinks) May 2, 2018
We’ve already heard from Vita Coco’s CEO on the importance of retail execution. But how is the brand actually getting this accomplished? We’ve seen that they’re heavily focused on field sales as they constantly add retail accounts to their repertoire.
We also know that field reps carefully track POS materials in the store, as well as audit which SKUs are sold in individual accounts. This kind of consistency is what has led the brand to become the global powerhouse that we know it as.
We're showing off our new gear this #cybermonday! Visit Amazon.com & check out lightning deals on some of your favorite Vita Coco flavors--and while you're at it, grab an Amazon dash button to make sure your fridge always looks like ours 😍 hit the link in our bio to check out some of our favorite deals!
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Chobani is a brand that’s stayed true to its yogurt roots while constantly reinventing itself. As the company’s president and COO, Tim Brown, commented, “complacency is killer.” Hence why in recent years the brand has added traditional yogurt (as opposed to Greek) and drinkables to its product line in order to touch as many consumers as possible.
However, all this innovation needs to be effectively managed in order to achieve the desired results. Brown recommended that brands bring their sales and marketing teams in-house whenever possible to increase efficiency. You don’t need to wait two weeks to pull a report or get in touch with a salesperson regarding a specific account when these functions are all being managed under the same organization. It’s this kind of agility that separates the good from the great.
Even the most well laid out plans can fall apart if there’s no follow-through, which is why the “last leg” of the retail race is critical to keeping brands a step ahead of the competition. Check back here to see what other events you can find Repsly at this year.
Victoria is a Marketing Associate at Repsly, where she leads the company's P.R. and social media efforts. You can also catch her prepping for slew of exciting industry events. A New England native, Victoria has spent time living in Italy and traveling throughout Europe before settling back in Boston. When she's not planning her next trip, V is probably tasting wine or brushing up on her Italian.