James Butcher of S4RB considers the tools required for a c-store retailer to make their own private-brand products successful.
Brands are important business for Scottish c-stores. Years of sustained price-driven competition have seen retailers battling it out to offer best-selling national brands at the cheapest prices – a tactic that doesn’t always end well.
But with discounters and chain stores challenging shoppers’ perceptions of own-brand products, isn’t it time c-store retailers did the same?
“Convenience is still a key driver for customers, but importantly, convenience store products must perform well,” said James Butcher, managing director of Solutions 4 Retail Brands (S4RB). “The Co-op is currently demonstrating success in this by refocusing its store estate on a convenience, own-brand led shopping experience.”
Developing private brands for convenience stores should not be a case of simply copying what other retailers do, he said. Instead, it is essential to differentiate products and give customers what they want.
“To develop competitive new and existing private-brand products, the retailer needs to have a true picture of their product performance. For instance, gathering and combining feedback from call centres and social media can provide a very clear picture of product performance and customer preferences.”
In response to this, S4RB developed its UBX Cloud Services. The platform provides ‘One View’ of product performance based on collating customer feedback from multiple sources including call centres and in-store and online comments.
“Having one consolidated view of product performance is not just useful for supermarket and convenience store private-brand teams, but also to store franchisees and wholesalers who can benefit from having visibility over feedback,” said Butcher.
“S4RB’s UBX ‘One View’ software allows c-store managers to collate information on the products they stock. Data from call centres, returns and social media provide a starting point for the retailer and supplier. ‘One View’ highlights areas with potential to increase profit, drive sales and ensure the brand’s value proposition is being delivered.
“Most c-stores are run with very small teams, and this means they rely heavily on their suppliers. Using S4RB’s ‘One Team’ solution, retailers can build effective communication with suppliers and work closely together. Suppliers can collaborate with store managers, speeding up processes to meet deadlines with increased accuracy.
“With a small number of product lines, the value of sharing ‘One View’ of performance with suppliers becomes even more important, not least so the retail team is not facing the challenges alone.”