Posted: Thu 12th Jul 2018
Helen Jarvis, Enterprise Nation adviser member and a business consultant with 15 years experience in the buying industry, writes about the importance of a strong pricing and promotional strategy when launching a new brand for retail.
You've spent years perfecting your formulation and packaging, have sweated blood, tears and every ounce of your creative juices reaching the point where you are finally happy with your brand.
Now comes some more hard work; finalising the commercial element!
This might be something that is out of your comfort zone as a creative, brand-led business owner but here I will de-mystify some of the decisions you need to make next to ensure you deliver a fully rounded presentation to the retailer of your choice.
The first question to ask yourself is what is your strategy when it comes to commercially launching your brand. There are several options here.
Do you want to gain as much product reach as possible; penetration of your brand into as many household as you can?
Do you want to drive average weight of purchase (AWP) to ensure your customers are spending as much as they can on your brand?
Is it frequency of purchase (FOP) that you are targeting and getting customers to buy your product more often?
Penetration, AWP and FOP are the key levers that will generate sustainable brand growth.
You can use a selection of these levers during the product lifecycle to drive different customer behaviour at different times.
At this point in your product development, you should have finalised your target consumer. You should therefore have a good understanding of their spending power and their sensitivity to price.
This should formulate a huge part of the recommended retail price (RRP) decision. Don't price your target customer out of your brand.
Ensure you make the RRP and any promotional activity achievable for them.
Also, your promotional activity must support your strategy as above. to drive penetration, a price point promotion would be most sensible but if you are focused on AWP a multibuy would be preferable.
Market and competitors
It is imperative to carry out a full assessment of the market in which you will be launching. You will need to ensure that your brand is priced and promoted such that it either fills a gap in the pricing hierarchy in the market or is accessible to new customers so that they can trial it with limited risk.
Be aware of the pricing ceiling in the market place also. Very few new brands can launch at a higher price than the brand leader.
Visit the stores or online shops of the retailer/s you are looking to launch in to assess the viability of your RRP and promotional activity.
Is your RRP in line with the competitors listed in that retailer? Does it give you a clear position in the range of that retailer?
Look at what type of promotion the retailer is running in your category. Do they often run cross-category promotions, for example, three for two across all skincare or are there more single price point promotions?
This will give you a clear idea of what activities are successful in the retailer of your choice so that you can create a promotional plan to fit.
When working through your promotional plan, also think about the purchasing pattern of your brand.
Think about how often a customer will return to purchase your product and create promotional timings that work within the re-purchase pattern.
If your brand is highly seasonal, ensure you are maximising the potential within the season with some promotions that will generate you a high level of market share.
Obviously, throughout this entire process, you need to hold your future profitability at the forefront of your mind.
Ideally, your RRP and promotional strategy would be decided prior to finalising your formulation, packaging and branding as then you know you have a rounded commercial proposal that will be profitable for you in the future.
However, at the very least it is imperative to have a clear pricing and promotional strategy before you present your brand to any retailer.
Not only are you confident that you can financially deliver what you promise but they also have belief in the commerciality of your brand.
This may seem like a time-consuming process but those business who get it right first time are the ones who have a higher chance of being profitable, gaining a loyal customer base, having a strong position against their competitors and being able to invest in the future of their brand. Good luck!