Thursday, April 25, 2024

Embracing independents

With their strong community connections and seemingly endless ability to customise, independent supermarkets are a sales and marketing opportunity not to be dismissed by FMCG brands.

Coles, Woolworths, ALDI and the various independent supermarkets in Australia are all retailers of food and grocery items. But in terms of operational policy, they’re miles apart. This diversity opens up a huge opportunity for FMCG brands.

Independents, says Activate Group Australia CEO and Chair Keith Quigg, aren’t operating under an all-encompassing set of rules like the major chains. And while they must toe the line, they’re free to make their store suit the local environment.

“This makes the independents a great place to build quality promotions on a more specific format,” he says.

“Each independent has the ability to lift or lower the level of brand promotion, and while not all will be forthcoming with additional space, those that do will allow for volume sales – hard to manage for marketers but a boon for the local representative or merchandiser.”

Strikeforce Category and Insights Manager Stephen Wilson says independent supermarkets tend to be more “promiscuous” with their range, often stocking brands and items not found in the major chains.

“This provides opportunity for artisan brands to gain exposure and build a level of brand equity with shoppers,” he says.

“This is ideal for smaller brands, with 70 per cent of independent supermarket shoppers stating that they mainly or only use independent supermarkets for top-up shops, so would be more likely to be open to an incremental purchase of something new or different [source: Focus Insights survey, n=410].”

Independent grocers also have a unique ability to connect with their communities in a way the majors cannot, says Saleslink Group Director Dayle Beaverson.

“Independent grocers are local, live and work in the communities they serve, and have a great link to their customers, both through superior customer service and being heavily involved in community organisations,” he says.

“Ranging is tailored to local markets and demographics, allowing the ability to order one-off or special items for specific customer requests, and stock products from local suppliers that wouldn’t be able to supply to the chains.”

Read more about sales and marketing opportunities in the independent sector in the latest issue of Retail World.

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