Mission-Driven Brands Winning Listings… Made Easy

Phil McMahon | B2B

Mission-Driven Brands Winning Listings… Made Easy

Phil McMahon | B2B
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Congratulations, mission-driven FMCG start-ups! You've embarked on a journey to create ethical and sustainable products, and now, it's time to take your message to the UK's biggest and best retailers. Achieving listings in the UK’s ultra-competitive retail landscape may seem like a daunting task, but fear not. We're here to guide you through this process with practical steps to make it as smooth as possible.

1. Know Your Buyer:

Do Your Homework:
Understand the supermarket's ethos, and their commitment to ethical and sustainable products.  Reach out to other brands that have secured listings with the same supermarket chain. They might offer valuable insights into the buyer's preferences and expectations.

Tailor Your Pitch: Customise your presentation to align with the supermarket's values and demonstrate how your products meet their criteria.  Drive home the relevance of your product to their customers.  

2. Showcase Your Impact:

Quantify Your Impact: Use data to demonstrate the positive social and environmental value of your brand.  Maintaining your product’s Really Good Score is one easy way to do this.

Tell Your Story: Share compelling stories about your mission and how it resonates with consumers, supporting your ethical and sustainability claims.  Direct the buyer to available video reviews of your products.

3. Be Retail Ready:

Packaging Matters
: Ensure your product packaging is eye-catching, informative, and aligns with your ethical branding.  Don’t forget to make sure you have a cohesive, shelf-ready packaging solution that can work in various retail store formats.

Logistical Excellence: Demonstrate your ability to meet demand consistently and manage supply chains effectively.  This is important as failure to fulfil demand can see your products de-listed and do long-term damage to a buyer’s trust in your supply chain.

4. Collaborate and Innovate:

Propose Collaborations:
Suggest partnerships with the supermarket for exclusive products or sustainable initiatives.  

Stay Innovative: Don’t fall into the trap of becoming too internally focused on what is happening in your brand or category; make time to be continuously aware of emerging consumer trends and what’s behind them.  Use this to inform your new product pipeline.

5. Certifications and Compliance:

Ensure Standards:
Make sure your products meet all necessary ethical and sustainability certifications and regulatory standards.

Transparent Communication: Clearly display any certifications on your packaging and promotional materials, and explain what they mean.  Consumers are increasingly aware of greenwashing, so you need to show consumers examples of your ethical and sustainability credentials.

6. Follow Up Strategically:

Professional Persistence:
Maintain a professional and courteous follow-up strategy after your initial pitch.  Buyers are incredibly busy and every other supplier is vying for their time too.  Be patient, be brief, but be persistent.  Have something new and relevant to share every time you follow up.

Customised Engagement: Tailor your follow-ups to address any specific concerns or queries raised by the buyer.  This shows you were listening and that you are action-oriented, and will help to build trust with the buyer.

Engaging with buyers at UK grocery retailers, especially the major supermarket chains, is undoubtedly a challenging endeavour. However, as a mission-driven FMCG brand with strong ethical and sustainability credentials, you're already on the right path. The key is to know your audience, align your pitch with their values, and showcase your impact and innovation.

In this journey, perseverance and preparation are your greatest allies. Be retail-ready, communicate your ethical story effectively, and remain flexible in your approach. Remember, these supermarkets are increasingly interested in partnering with brands that share their commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices.
You have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the shelves of these major retailers while staying true to your ethical mission. With dedication and the right strategy, you can earn your place and help drive positive change in the FMCG market. So, go ahead – make winning listings seem easy, one ethical and sustainable product at a time!

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