It’s safe to say that 2020 is not turning out how anyone expected it would. The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry has had to do its fair share of pivoting and adapting to the new normal in which businesses and consumers are operating. One of the biggest changes that has affected CPG is the shift to online product discovery, which has quickly become an essential outlet for buyers and retailers to source new products their consumers want and need.
Online discovery is critical to today’s retail environment
As the global pandemic gained speed this past spring and summer, a day didn’t go by without the CPG industry hearing about another canceled trade show, nipping in the bud a supplier’s chance to have face-to-face meetings with potential buyers. For many, these trade shows are a supplier’s biggest lead generators and their most prime opportunity to break into retail. So when COVID-19 took down the trade shows, and severely limited travel, and ultimately limited the way brands can connect with buyers, both brands and retailers started leveraging new technologies to keep the momentum for new product discovery going through the pandemic.
The pivot to online product discovery was—and remains—essential to brand and retailer success. In the early days of the pandemic, many retailers turned to online sourcing seeking emerging brands to stock their shelves as customers in need of those products were willing to give a new brand a try. When things return to normal, or rather, the new normal, we are hopeful that in-person trade shows will resume, though they may look quite different than those of trade shows past. The biggest change the CPG industry is likely to see when tradeshows resume is further integration of technology. We’re already seeing trade show organizations and retailers use more digital practices like virtual trade shows and online product sourcing campaigns to engage retailers with brands. A more hybrid approach to in-person and digital events wouldn’t be a crazy idea, and what’s more, provides that much more opportunity for brands to engage with potential buyers at a much more convenient and affordable cost.
RangeMe provides tools brands need
You may be wondering what it means for buyers to engage with online product discovery, and there are a few different ways. For example, social media campaigns can be a resource for buyers, and the virtual trade shows as mentioned above. But one of the top places retail buyers are using for online product discovery is via online platforms like RangeMe. On RangeMe, buyers can use the platform to source and support their product needs all online, and all in one place. They can view digital sell sheets, message suppliers, and request samples from any supplier on the platform. And that’s no small feat, given that RangeMe has more than 175,000 brands using their platform to grow their business.
70% of the Top 100 retailers have buyers on the RangeMe platform.
As beneficial RangeMe is for buyers, it’s as much so for brands. RangeMe acts as your digital sell sheet where you can showcase your products, certifications, company details, and everything a retail buyer would need to discover your brand and determine if your products are the right fit for their stores. Brands can showcase their products to thousands of retail buyers–70% of the Top 100 retailers have buyers on the RangeMe platform. Brands can also submit their products directly to those buyers, and use RangeMe Insights to make better informed business decisions with understandings on the search terms that are most active with buyers, and how a brand’s products compare to similar products in the same space. And those brands that get RangeMe Verified™ see up to seven times more buyer visibility than brands without that verification checkmark.
Breaking into retail can be a challenge, and using RangeMe provides brands a much-needed opportunity to boost their visibility with buyers. As they move through the online discovery process, buyers can set specific search filters to narrow down their searches for new products—and this is where brands can really stand out.
Daily, buyers are searching for products with certifications, from certified organic to women- or minority-owned, to Fairtrade. Retailers are aware of and are embracing the consumer want of certified products, and know that bringing in certified eco-friendly products also brings the potential for new, loyal customers. Adding an achieved certification to a brand’s profile can boost visibility in searches, making a brand that much more likely to engage with a buyer. Since January 1, 2020, suppliers with the Fairtrade America certification received 17,000 product views and over 142,000 brand views by retail buyers on RangeMe. As the most recognized ethical certification on the planet, it’s no surprise that buyers are eager to find products that meet this standard—one that consumers highly value—and that help them meet their sustainability goals. Retail giants like Walmart, Target, and Walgreens, for example, are developing sustainability action plans that include bringing in products with sustainability certifications.
The future of product discovery
Without a doubt, CPG will continue to adapt and evolve in response to an ever-changing world. New avenues for discovery are needed, and online product sourcing is meeting that need. As a brand, standing out in the crowd is a necessity, and sharing your Fairtrade certification is key. By leveraging your certification, you’ll gain more visibility with retail buyers, and ultimately, reach more consumers.
RangeMe, an ECRM company, is the leading online platform that streamlines new product discovery between suppliers and retailers. The platform empowers retail buyers to efficiently discover innovative and emerging products, while streamlining the inbound product submission process. For product suppliers, RangeMe enables them to grow their retail relationships with a platform that gives them the tools to manage their products, market their brand, and build awareness. Now integrated into the ECRM product offering, RangeMe adds increased breadth and depth to the industry’s most complete sourcing solution for top retailers and product suppliers in the US.
Brandon Leong is Vice President of Marketing and Growth for RangeMe, the online sourcing platform that streamlines new product discovery between suppliers and retailers. Seventy percent of the top 100 retailers in the U.S., and thousands of independent retailers, use RangeMe as an efficient way to discover innovative new products and manage the inbound product submission process.
We’re in this together
Fairtrade America partners with brands on the journey to certification and beyond. We can help with everything from finding a certified supply chain to marketing your newly certified product.Get in Touch