We asked leading brand manufacturers and suppliers for their BEST TIPS for selling products into the FMCG / CPG Industry Segment.
Each year, thousands of new products are introduced to hundreds of retail categories. In such a competitive FMCG / CPG environment, the reality is that very few of these new lines will ever make it to the retail shelves.
85% of new FMCG products fail in the marketplace!
Although its consumers that drive the requirements for new products and categories, it really comes down to the value proposition you make to the retail buyer, the growth drivers of the category, the available shelf space, AND of course your sales pitch!
New, low-cost technology and innovation has seen a trend towards an influx of young brands and start-up companies entering the market, but how do they get in front of the major brands and win the battle for shelf space?
For over 20-years, rev™ Branding has been providing specialist product development and brand launch programs for 70 of the top 100 FMCG / CPG brand.
Over the last 6-months, we’ve been asking our clients what they think is THE MOST significant factors to selling into the food & beverage segment.
Selling into the FMCG / CPG Market
Identify gaps in the market
Sometimes the biggest opportunity can be to fill a gap in the marketplace that your competitors have missed? Instead of trying to be like them, or better than them, try to work out what they have overlooked e.g. the products or services that they don’t offer, changing trends in the category.
It’s these ‘gaps’ in the market that can potentially unlock previously untapped revenue and open your business up to a new customer channel.
Focus on innovation
The FMCG and CPG industry is fast evolving, and in order to survive in the market, brand manufacturers and suppliers need to keep up with ever-changing trends which are driven by the consumer. As technology advances and its cost reduces, companies can now design (or procure) and launch new innovative products faster and at much lower supply costs than ever before (even your competitors).
Think outside the box when it comes to product development and manufacturing. We now have access to cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital assistants, and robotics, aiming to enhance operations and improve customer experience and satisfaction.
Consider the many eager start-up companies (disrupters) who are keen to be associated with a successful product launch.
Get your packaging right!
Well-designed packaging and branding will communicate a lot about the brand.
It indicates who you are and your target segment, and gives greater insights about the products to the consumer e.g. see, touch, feel, smell etc. Packaging plays a vital role throughout the supply chain and through to the category management and visual merchandising.
The packaging design must provide the consumer with insight into what they will experience when they purchase and use the product. Packaging designs can also bridge the consumer purchase decision process e.g. the ‘need versus the want’.
Regardless of how much money you spend on marketing and merchandising when it comes to a consumer decision ‘at the shelf’, your packaging plays an important role.
Get your branding right!
Branding isn’t just about a fancy logo and graphics. It comprises of a range of elements that make up your brand identity and message.
Today’s consumer resonates with brands emotionally rather than on a rational basis. They crave for a total brand experience which is engaging, educational and most importantly will build their trust and confidence.
Trust is the most critical component in building and maintaining a strong, emotionally driven and enduring brand. However, in a world of promotion-driven-marketing tactics, many brand owners forget that building trust is the only thing holding the relationship with the customer together.
In an environment where customer expectations are increasing daily, and the competition is fierce, trust can become a brand differentiator that could make or break a successful launch.
Take the time to design your brand identity, message and positioning. Work with a brand agency who can help you to create your Brand DNA [Learn More].
Category is King!
The fight for valuable shelf space is won or lost in the category and range review process, also known as a business review.
To ensure that the right products are being introduced to already limited shelf space within each category, retailers will conduct category reviews throughout the year.
An effective category and range review process is your opportunity to develop a collaborative working relationship with your retail buyer. Your goal should be to align the KPI’s of your business and the buyer and to decide the BEST range and shelf layout that will grow the category and ultimately benefit the consumer at the shelf.
NEVER underestimate the category review process. Regardless of how reputable your brand is, or how active your category is, or even how much money you spend on marketing, it WILL come down to the relationship you have with your buyer and the quality of your category argument.
Embrace the digital marketing age
Consumers today are more exposed to smartphones and internet platforms more than the traditional mediums like newspapers, radio and television.
Social Media and Digital Marketing allow consumers and brands to interact with each other like never before. Digital technology and the use of Artificial Technology (AI) tools can automate engagement workflows between the brand campaign and the shopper, with their feedback posted in ‘real-time’ for the world to see.
When Digital Engagement Tools such as social media, AI, automated email and messenger tools come together, it can help you your brand to relay its distinctiveness, relevance, and overall endurance.
Work with a digital agency who understands the consumer purchase decision process within the FMCG / CPG segment to build an effective and engaging brand launch.
Businesses have forgotten the full business power of marketing. It’s not just used to acquire and retain customers — it needs to be leveraged to create new markets.
Stay focused on the end goal
Like all brand manufacturers and suppliers in the FMCG / CPG market, they are juggling multiple product launch campaigns across several sales channels.
The complexities of a full product development and launch process will, by default, cause you to drop the ball and forgot something that could be crucial to its success.
It’s BETTER to start with one product and focus on completing its launch first.
Take advantage of the many NPD Workflow systems that are available that will help you to keep control and visibility across each project and allow each department to remain on the same page and focused on the same goal.
Empower your sales team
You don’t need a huge sales team, BUT the ones you do have MUST be competent in the art of selling to retailers and managing order fulfilment and store compliance.
Invest in sales training, coaching and mentoring for your account management and business development teams. Arm them with the right information around category and space, so they are comfortable AND confident to answer questions from the retail buyer on category range and space decisions.
Make sure you build a sales presentation toolkit that containing;
- Category Development Plans
- Retail Activation Plans
- Promotional Plans
- Presentation decks
- Product forms and GS1 Reports.
Sales teams are more ‘valuable’ when they’re driving maximum sales and developing the category as a whole. What can you do to enhance your teams ‘sell more’ capability?
Automate or outsource
Don’t get bogged down, trying to manage non-essential tasks.
Technology is the enabler of business process automation (BPA), and it can automate every day, repeatable tasks to the point where human intervention is unnecessary e.g. NPD paperwork, development & launch meet-ups.
Where you can’t automate a task, but still find the role non-value-adding to your core staff capabilities, think about outsourcing it to people who specialise in that task (and can perform it more accurately at a lower cost)
By streamlining your processes and empowering the right people with the right tasks can improve your speed-to-market timelines, reduce operating expenses, and retain your profit margins.
Listen, learn and adjust
Take ALL feedback seriously.
Listen to what the market is telling you by analysing customer orders, marketing engagement and of course sales data.
Your first campaign will be dependent on several factors e.g. packaging, marketing, merchandising, supply and distribution. It’s critical that you stay across all of these areas to rectify any issues s they come to hand.
Listen to your customers.
Meet regularly with your retail customers to keep across any supply or sales issues.
Listen to the shoppers.
Monitor your social media and customer service centres to manage any negative brand experiences.
DON’T TRY AND BE AN EXPERT AT EVERYTHING!
Know what you are good at, and then surround yourself with trained, qualified people who can perform specific tasks across your product development and launch process.
Work with a specialist brand agency which focuses on the FMCG / CPG segment, and validate their experience. They need to understand the complete NPD, NPI and Product Lifecycle Management process.
Lastly, numerous companies we spoke with during this survey recommended that you should engage a mentor who can work with you throughout the journey. Someone whom you respect and has relevant experience that you can use to bounce ideas off [Learn More]
FMCG / CPG Optimisation Solutions!
rev™ Branding is a specialist Brand Marketing Agency for Brand Manufacturers, Suppliers, and Retail Distributors. For over 20-years, our rev™ Go-to-Shelf Solutions has helped 70 of the top 100 Global CPG / FMCG brands to optimise their New Product Development, Brand Launch, and Brand Marketing process.
Need help to improve your new product development and launch process?
Please speak with us about how we can optimise your brand performance through market-leading category, shopper and sales activation services.
Contact us on +61 3 9863-7444 or email [email protected]