HOW TO GET YOUR PRODUCT LISTED, BY A WAITROSE BUYER.

By

Ariana Palacios Newham

Reading time: 2 min

WORK OUT WHY YOUR PRODUCT COMPLEMENTS WHAT THE BUYER ALREADY HAS ON THE SHELF INSTEAD OF CANNIBALIZING IT

We met Waitrose Buyer Joanna Lynch at the Natural and Organics Products Europe show. She gave a talk advising brands wanting to stock their products in Waitrose, she’s a buyer for Medical, Healthcare and Wellbeing in the Family, Household and Personal Care team. 

These are the main points from her talk:

WHAT FRUSTRATES BUYERS:

These are the main points from her talk:

Long e-mails.

Be mindful of buyers’ time, they get hundreds of emails a day. Communicate effectively, be friendly in tone, keep it simple.

Long presentations.

Just as with e-mails, long presentations should be avoided. Make sure to cover what’s your point of difference, how you stand out, show understanding and knowledge of your products, the category and the market. Keep your presentation to the point.

Chasing e-mails or phone calls.

If they like your product they will contact you. Don’t keep chasing them. Remember, you need to be someone they want to work with. A well-prepared e-mail and presentation is more likely to earn you a response from buyers, chasing them is likely to do the opposite.

Not knowing your figures.

Buyers will definitely know theirs. If you try to make something up, exaggerate or simply don’t know key figures, buyers will spot it. They need to be able to build a relationship with you. If you fail here it won’t be a good start. Know your markets, growth, dynamics, competitors etc.

Samples. Don't send them unless they ask for them.

They get loads of samples, if they want them they will ask. Buyers are constantly asked to keep on top of piles of samples they didn’t ask for. Don’t become part of that pile, be helpful.

WHAT EXCITES BUYERS:

Suppliers who understand the client and their customer really well.

Never underestimate this, as it’ll not only help you drive sales but keep customers.

Understanding of the market.

Having a great product is, of course, essential, but an understanding of the market will help you reach your customers in the most effective way.

Point of Difference.

Do your research and work out why your product complements what the buyer already has on the shelf instead of cannibalizing it. Buyers won’t be excited if they have a brand that already covers the need you’ve identified. This is especially important in the beauty section, where products have a long shelf life.

A partner they can work with.

It’s much easier to work with someone you feel you can trust and with whom you’ve built rapport, don’t forget that.

Passion.

Not only is it contagious, but you equate someone who is passionate about what they do with someone who is committed to it and will work hard to make it work. Naturally, buyers find this appealing.

Category Focus.

Don’t spread yourself too thin, chances are that if you dip your toes into too many ponds you won’t get to know any of them particularly well. It’s much easier to work with someone who shows commitment to a particular sector.


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