Too many product manufacturers don’t have an effective retailer strategy in place and, as a result, are severely minimising their chances of success with major retailers.  That’s the message from one of the UK’s leading specialists in category development, shopper marketing and customer management.

Bridgethorne, which works with suppliers to find the best way of influencing the shopper and retail agenda to deliver category growth, believes that decisions made at the point of purchase are pivotal to growing categories. However, not enough suppliers understand and influence either the commercial journey taken by the product or the shopper journey to the point of purchase. As a result businesses which don’t fully understanding their category, shopper or buyer needs, often have less influence with retailers are therefore less effective in helping their categories grow.

“It is becoming more and more evident that there are a large number of suppliers who may be producing great products but who simply don’t understand retailers and how they work,” explains Bridgethorne director John Nevens. “From our regular conversations with retailers and their buyers we know that there is frustration among them that, when it comes to trying to get products listed, they often are missing solid category based rationales.

They are often awash with data but aren’t extracting the best insights from it and, in the current climate, many either don’t have or can’t bring in the kind of expertise that will enable them to create an effective retailer relationship.”

This, says Nevens, is one reason why demand for Bridgethorne’s capability development services has increased.

“Suppliers must get to grips with how best to manage their side of the retailer relationship. So, for example, how they can assist with range and category reviews or demonstrate that they understand key areas like category development and shopper marketing. This includes often technical issues to address from including how to introduce new products to the trade effectively, how to build incremental business with the multiples and even how, as an existing supplier, you counter a potential de-list threat based on robust evidence.”

Bridgethorne is offering a series of bespoke capability development programmes to help suppliers build the capability of their organisation and people in the areas of category development, shopper marketing and customer management, and in so doing help give them the tools to be able to engage effectively with top level retailers.

“Training is based on real-life scenarios delivered by both experienced trainers as well as practitioners taking time out from their day jobs. It is practical and business-specific and designed to have an immediate impact on an organisation,” continues Nevens.

“We share up-to-date and best practice tools and processes that we know work, that will help a supplier show how their products will not just lead to growth for their brand but how they will grow the overall category, thereby adding value to the retailer. And that means helping them understand why the point of purchase interface is so critical to success and the importance of appreciating both the product’s commercial journey and the shopper’s journey to that point of purchase.”


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