FMCG manufacturers must take lead on retail range reviews, says Bridgethorne

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Many FMCG manufacturers still haven’t grasped the importance of taking the initiative in the annual round of range reviews by the major retail multiples and are at risk of having their products de-listed, reduced in distribution or losing space on-shelf, according to category development specialist Bridgethorne.

It claims too many manufacturers are going into the range review process focused on the factors of greatest importance to their own businesses rather than addressing issues of importance to the retailer.

“With shopper traffic passing only 30% of stock on shelves and then spending just one minute in each aisle retailers want to ensure they get their ranges absolutely right and minimise the risk of lost sales,” said Bridgethorne director John Nevens.

“Retailers want to see manufacturers offering genuine consumer and shopper insights and evidence of real brand innovation. They are increasingly looking to their suppliers to make informed recommendations on everything from range and distribution to promotion strategy and space optimisation. To show how their recommendations will lead to incremental growth for category and retailer.”

Range reviews for example, Nevens adds, are regarded by multiples as a vital tool in their effort to become the retailer of choice for shoppers in an increasingly competitive market.

“Retailers want suppliers to help them ensure their ranges offer the best choice for shoppers while delivering the maximum possible return. They want to understand what new products shoppers want and in so doing to optimise their return from the space they have available.

“If suppliers help retailers achieve this they can benefit from the process as well. It will ensure the categories in which their products sit are ranged correctly so they deliver the optimal reward to their business.”

Bridgethorne said it uses its 14 years of Range Review experience to work with retailers and suppliers across different categories to ensure they maximise opportunities within the range review process. According to the company, it helps retailers optimise range and space and helps manufacturers gain an internal view of their brand and own label opportunities.

Bridgethorne uses its software-based best practice tools and processes to provide a platform from which to launch new products, defend current and gain new listings, and increase distribution on lines where merited. 

“It is important for manufacturers to be proactive with the range review process before it is too late, so they shouldn’t wait for ‘the’ call. Early engagement will give them the opportunity to change what they have been doing to ensure success rather than failure, to ensure the retailer is seeing and interpreting the same data as the manufacturer and, most importantly, to have that seat at the table where you are talking the same language as the retailer and moving towards a more strategic rather than tactical relationship.”