HANDBOOK Nonfoods HANDBOOK
health & beauty care
16 HA NDBOO
Among home products, Reynolds says the impact of design and
the emergence of new materials is inspiring people to decorate,
organize, clean and reinvigorate their homes. “Some retailers are
able to feature larger assortments and refresh their assortments
semi-annually. Others are dedicating endcaps to emerging products or trends. But on the competitive advantage side, no retailer
sees the customer more frequently than grocers do,” he says.
However, while frequency is a clear advantage for grocers, is
it enough to carry them long-term? One of the grocery channel’s
weaknesses has been its struggle to be among the first to jump
on new products and opportunities, especially in nonfoods. Other
retail channels have taken note of this in the past and used this to
Officials at Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Global Market
Development Center (GMDC) are looking to reverse this issue
through a series of new programming. Earlier this year, the association launched its Retail Tomorrow initiative to enable innovation
at a much faster pace than others can deliver. GMDC’s goal was to
present to its retailers and wholesaler members start-ups and scale-up companies focused on solution-based products and services.
“The general merchandise and health, beauty, wellness spaces
are rapidly changing in an era of disruption and evolving consumer
behaviors,” says Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC. “We
are constantly working to enable product/trend discovery and
connecting our members to market-facing innovation.”
Officials at GMDC created a new website to act as a hub for the
Retail Tomorrow initiative, retailtomorrow.com. The purpose of
the website is to help accelerate the retailer “next practice” process
for the fast-paced change of consumer shopping habits.
One reason grocers have remained competitive in nonfoods is
that for the most part they have learned how to partner wisely.
Rick Chambers, president of Big Time Products, based in Rome,
Ga., says choosing the right partner is crucial if one hopes to grow
sales in a category. “From a supplier’s point of view it is imperative
to our success and the success of our retail partners that we offer
them quality products and brands they trust and always back up
with comprehensive support,” says Chambers.
A partner that can anticipate the need in the market is also key.
“Whether this is through an innovative solution, a desire for a new
color palette or a new product in general, a good supplier partner
will work with retailers to achieve their goal,” says Chambers, not-
ing that none of this matters if product quality is lax. “Products
are developed with the understanding that technology, trends and
consumer demand are essential features in every product we offer.”
There is no shortage of companies producing personal care
products, but Matthew McCarthy, senior director, men’s personal
care for Unilever North America, based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,
says you only get to be the category leader in men’s personal care
by having a true understanding of the type of products men want
and need. He notes that Unilever’s men’s personal care portfolio
was developed on these insights, and brands including AXE, Dove
Men+Care, Degree, Vaseline Men and Suave Men deliver with
products specifically designed for men.
To be a leader companies also need to have their pulse on how
men like to shop—something many fall short on. “Men are looking for products specifically designed for them and their personal
grooming needs,” says McCarthy. At the same time, he says that
while men are buying their own personal care products today,
their shopping style is entirely different from that of women.
“Guys like to get in, grab what they need and get out, something
we refer to as ‘commando shopping,’” he says.
To capture the attention of the male shopper, Unilever has partnered with retailers to create dedicated men’s grooming sections
and disruptive in-aisle marketing that connect directly with men.
McCarthy says thus far the concept has proven to be overwhelmingly popular in building awareness in the category, which has
translated into sales growth for retailers.
Hannah Farmer, marketing campaign manager for Cheyenne
International based in Grover, N.C., says finding a partner that is
trustworthy and reliable is key. Having a partner who is constantly
working on new concepts designed to build sales in the category is
also important. “Being a long-standing leader in product innova-
tion is an extremely critical piece of who we are as a company,” says
Farmer. “Every one of our product launches focus on the features
retailers require—they are relevant, high-quality products with
profitable margins that are desired by adult consumers.”
The household cleaning category is both large and dynamic,
not to mention heavily shopped in grocery. Brand loyalty is strong
here, and some may say rightly so. Many of these companies are
observant and know what it takes to bring ideas forth and make
things happen. For instance, Whink Products Co., based in Eldora,