How to identify and capitalise on viral product trends

The Better Retailing team finds out how retailers identify the latest product trends and then get hold of what their customers want

Prime hydration energy drink

Paul Thomas, One Stop Coity, Bridgend

“We’re governed by One Stop, as 95% of our stock has to come from them. When we see a trending product, we nag them to get it. They were behind the curve on Prime, but they’ve managed to secure some now and we’ve got some coming in.

“We do a lot of social network marketing and video adverts with a local minor celebrity fronting them. We know what offers are coming up and so the morning we knew we were getting the Prime in, the advert went out on our social media saying we’ve got it in stock and how much we’re selling it for.

“To find out about product trends we use social media and read the trade press. But I’ve got teenage kids as well, which helps, because they’re more of top these things than I am. It’s also important to keep an eye on what other retailers are doing. I’m in regular contact with other One Stop franchisees, and if someone has a good idea, we share it.”

Tariq Chishti, Netherlee Post & News, Glasgow

“We use traditional media such as newspapers, TV, magazines and radio, but social media is faster. It’s also important to talk to your customers, especially the younger ones. They’ll ask us if we have something, which prompts us to source it for them.

“If we can cater to younger customers, we’ll also get their parents. They’ll ask for something, and if we can get it, then it’s like we’ve struck gold. If we can’t, then we’ll apologise to them. We go through the usual sources, such as wholesalers and cash and carries, but I also use Facebook. There are various closed pages for retailers and they’re proactive in highlighting and promoting products. So, we make contact and see if we can get hold of it as well.

“Prime is the most in-demand stuff, but we won’t stock it because of the exorbitant prices being asked. Once it’s available at a reasonable price, we’ll bring it in.”

Mohammad Shakoor, Weaver Row Newsagents, St Ninians, Stirling

“There are lots of bandwagons at the moment and I’m all for being there at the front or being the first few people that get in on them. Most of these trends appear on social media first of all and then they’re also driven by them. TikTok is the massive one – anything that goes on is blown completely out of proportion.

“At the moment, American pickles – jumbo pickles that come in different flavours – are catching the imagination of people on TikTok. Then you’ve got Prime, which is the number-one product in demand that you can source, but it’s still very expensive. I managed to source them in December using Plus Marketing in Birmingham. They cost £8 a bottle, but I took a plunge on them, asked people if they wanted them and then spent thousands of pounds for them. They started selling slowly, but they were on children’s wishlists for Christmas. I ended up ordering three times the amount of stock the second week.”

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