How can you hit the ground running in a brand-new market? From moving up the supply chain to targeting a trophy customer, we look at four ways to give your sales volumes a boost from day one.
A kick-start can get you moving in a new market – and it needn't be a short-term gimmick. Two food retailers reveal the levers they've used.
Go direct to the vendors
Marmalade maker Paul Grant, who owns Scotland-based Mackays, plans to target US grocery chains directly, rather than selling through a wholesaling distributor. The savings will allow him to knock a third off the shelf price.
"You do need to find partners who are prepared to go direct," he warns. "Some of the traditional importing companies are sometimes reluctant to change the supply chain route, but our importer has been very flexible."
Make a smart move
Grant is also experimenting with a technique called 'smart value positioning', which has been used by fashion brands in the US.
There, high-end products which are sold for a premium price in department stores are stocked in mid-market stores at a better value price.
Capture a trophy
Upmarket chocolatier Richard O'Connor targets a trophy customer in each new market to give his firm, Chocolate & Love, a seal of approval he can use for leverage with smaller outlets.
In the UK, a deal with Harvey Nichols led to subsequent deals with 90 independent fine food shops. An approach to Copenhagen shopping centre Magasin Du Nord likewise put the company on the 'pre-approved' list for Denmark's smaller specialist outlets.
Ask the experts
The two-year-old company exports to Nordic markets as well as France, Belgium and the US, but the overseas orientation by definition exposes O'Connor to markets in which he has few or no contacts. The key is finding the right partner in each market.
O'Connor's advice is not to be afraid of asking trusted companies in the same industry for help. "In the tight-knit fine food business, trust counts for a lot. I was lucky enough to meet an entrepreneur with more experience who was willing to share her contacts."