New and exclusive

Thanks to an innovative programme of continuous product launches, and the introduction of new and exclusive brands to broaden its selection, VOW's new product strategy can help dealers navigate the testing business climate that we’re currently experiencing.

Innovation, energy, positivity. Three words that the team at VOW believe will be crucial to the success of resellers going forward, especially given the uncertainty and continuing change we’re likely to see in the marketplace over the coming months.

“The way we all work and what we sell must change and, thankfully, it is changing,” says Helen Wade, product marketing director at the wholesaler. “Resellers and wholesalers have realised that doing something because we’ve always done it doesn’t work. We all need to be innovative and to work hard to create new opportunities.”

VOW’s new product strategy is a good example of innovation being used to create sales' openings. In operation since January, the product conveyor breaks the rigidity of the traditional merchandise and annual catalogue cycle to offer resellers VOW’s newest products as soon as possible throughout the year.

“We believe that our product conveyor is totally changing the way the industry launches new products, shifting away from the annual cycle to a faster, more agile approach that can see a product hit the market in just 10 days,” explains Helen. “We want to be at the forefront of product launches, providing resellers with the products they need to be as competitive and as up-to-date as possible.”

Much of the thinking behind VOW’s product conveyor is the fact that product lifecycles are getting shorter and resellers need to have the right products at the right times in order to fulfil changing customer needs. By innovating, and moving away from the annual catalogue production cycle, product launch barriers are being knocked down and this allows a successful product rollout strategy driven by consumer demand and manufacturer innovation.

The strategy also means easier diversification, as Helen explains. “We’re always looking for new products that are outside of our traditional core areas which will bring opportunities for resellers. The product conveyor allows us to be far more flexible with our product portfolio and it also enables us to introduce new products from a range of vendors that are exclusive to VOW. Because they’re exclusive, they provide an opportunity for the resellers to sell new lines and avoid being drawn into a pricing game. They’re exclusives from EVO that can’t be purchased anywhere else, which helps to protect margins. We definitely see it as a complementary offering that provides alternative sales options for resellers alongside products from the major brands.

“We’re being positive about our business to ensure that we remain relevant to dealer businesses going forward. They’re having to change so we’ve got to keep pace and provide resellers with the solutions they need to evolve, survive and thrive."

Generating a buzz

Emma Nourry, head of channel marketing at VOW, adds that the continuous stream of new products is a great excuse for resellers to actually talk to their customers. “Anything that’s new and exciting provides a reason to talk to customers and, because it’s happening on a regular basis, it helps relationships to be maintained. The new products that we’ve already launched this year are different to what the dealer channel is used to working with and have generated a real buzz. Resellers were genuinely excited to have something different to talk their customers about.

“And it’s not just about products. We’re also working hard to provide the tools resellers need to diversify and, most importantly, make more money. For example, we’ve launched our 2018 marketing programme which moves away from the traditional programme of producing a main catalogue and standard mailers, launched at a set time of the year. Instead, in line with the product conveyor and exclusives, we’ve had to look at the marketing programme very differently for 2018 and will be doing much more with new product mailings and vertical sector-specific publications on a rolling basis.

"Everything we do will always feature the new products, have a seasonal bias, have more editorial content and be launched with a full sales toolkit. We’re positive that, along with the product conveyor innovation, resellers will be well placed to succeed.”

“Our innovation and change in strategy has energised the team at VOW and we hope the excitement is contagious and spreads through to the dealer community,” Helen concludes. “It’s great to be bringing something different to the market that adds a new dimension to the channel and removes the barriers to new products that have, historically, held resellers back. As a result we’re confident about the future and sure that, by working closely with us, resellers can be too.”

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Posted by Austin Clark (95)

Written on 24th July 2017

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