“We’re kept informed by retail magazines, newsletters and the cash and carry, but because we’re rural, we have to do things a bit differently. We could introduce lots of new lines, but it would just sit there. We have to have conversations with customers to see if there’s something they would like to try and then we’ll start to stock it.
“If we stock something and people buy it, we’ll get a second box because people will often have bought it first time around just to try it. If it slows down the second time, then we have to consider whether it’s a good idea.
“We’ve done really well with chocolate launches. We brought in Bounty Dark in price-marked packs and put it on the counter. People went crazy for it. We tend to put new stuff on the counter so people can see it, but it’s always worth moving products around because it brings things to people’s attention.”
“We use wholesalers, advertisements and Facebook groups to source new products. If it’s on social media, then it’s not just retailers who are aware of it, but consumers as well. If there’s a bit of a presence on social media, then we give it a go. Bringing in a new product often depends on the category.
“There are so many energy drink launches, for example. When Lucozade released Lucozade Alert, we thought it would do quite well, but there’s a finite amount of space to try it.
“One-offs work well – we’ve got bays for that – but introducing something into a fixture means you’re replacing something else. It’s easy to manufacture new products, it’s hard for customers to buy them. We work with a case a week to justify space on the shelf. If we can see enough marketing in it and we can find it online, we’re all for it. If we can’t find much info out there, we’re not going to stock it.”
“We’ve got a WhatsApp group with about 60-70 retailers in it from around the country. Someone always picks up a launch and then others do, and you can work out if it’s good to sell. A classic example was when Little Moons mochi came out or the new disposable vapes.
“Word of mouth and magazines are the best way to find out. Word of mouth can be quicker and you can find out whether it’s a good seller or not. Every store is different and success is decided on by area.
“We look at bringing in new products by considering our customer base. It’s very important to target the right products at the right people. If you have a product that’s not targeting your specific customers, you’re going to have stock left over. If a knitting magazine is coming out, we know we don’t have too many grannies around, so it probably won’t sell, and we won’t stock it.”