As highlighted in The Grocer last week (‘Sainsbury’s improves delisting decisions using Self Serve tool,’ 11 May), it is high time more retailers started to improve the way they use data and tools to forecast and determine the fortune or failure of young, up-and-coming brands.
There needs to be a longer-term view and more situational factors built in to allow fledgling brands to have their chance of success. A dash of informed, human intuition wouldn’t go amiss, either. How often do we hear about the number of innovations that fail? Are retailers partly responsible?
Too many entrepreneurial brand start-ups are held to ransom to retailers’ hard-and-fast rules of success. One minute they are there, elated at being given their first major listings, six weeks or so later they are gone if the sales data doesn’t stack up. Innovation and brands are not developed like that. They need to be nurtured and grown over time, delivering to a clear strategy and plan. Do retailers lack the right people with the right vision making these decisions?
Aimia’s Self Serve analytics tool highlights just one way to plan and grow categories more effectively it certainly benefited Grape Nuts, clearly showing how much loyalty the brand had despite poor sales in-store. Loyalty matters - yet so many brands do not achieve it.
” To be delisted on sales data alone feels naïve and outdated”
It’s tough enough trying to launch a new brand and hit the growth targets and margins required to secure listings. To see a brand delisted on the basis of sales data alone feels naïve and outdated. The future has to lie in more partnerships, with people who show mutual respect and understand how to grow brands and categories. People need to work together with a longer-term vision in mind and focus less on the here and now.
Encouragingly, at Cranfield Ventures Day last week, Gü founder James Averdieck shared how he had really benefited in the brand’s early days from one retailer that had a longer-term outlook and “with a bit of undignified begging” gave the brand a second chance sales-wise. As Averdieck put it: “The weather was simply too hot and chocolate doesn’t sell when it’s hot”. In his case, situational factors were listened to and factored in - the brand has since grown to £30m-plus.
It was also encouraging to hear David Beardmore at Tesco talk at the Zenith UK soft drinks conference last week about how the chain intends to work more closely with new brands to help them help drive new, innovative brands. May many more follow. It will be great to see the results speak for themselves.
Claire Nuttall is founding partner of Thrive