Dan of Peppersmith shares his thoughts on getting distribution.Peppersmith is an independent British company that makes natural gum from quality ingredients : www.peppersmith.co.uk
Launched in January 2010, Peppersmith has just secured its first grocer listing, after growing success in the high-end independent trade.
1. Choose the right strategy for your brand: are you aiming for a grocery listing or to build a heartland in the independent trade? Understand the pros and cons of each, as this decision will have a fundamental impact on your business model. Only the very strongest brands are able to build demand in both sectors.
2. Remember where you are stocked is a key part of your brand. If a consumer first discovers you in a local deli it will leave a different impression than if it's in a big superstore. Not that one is right, and one is wrong: it all depends on what fits with your proposition.
3. Find good distributors who serve the right kind of stores in the right geographical areas. Get them to buy into your vision and work collaboratively to achieve it. Don't expect them to do all the work; to really succeed, you'll have to pound the streets, knock on doors and hammer the phones to build momentum.
4. Don't underestimate the importance and the time it takes to service existing outlets. It won't be possible to spend your whole time bringing on new stockists. It is much harder than you think just to maintain a stockist; every week they are approached by new brands promising them the sales opportunity of a lifetime. Make sure you get in touch regularly to check they are happy, well stocked up and have all the point of sale they need.
5. Track, learn and adjust. It takes time to get the processes right but tracking sales data is a must. Understand which types of outlet are working well, and which are not, and adjust your strategy accordingly.