Advice From One Supplier to Another:
How to Succeed on RangeMe
Here are a few best practice recommendations from innovative suppliers crushing it on RangeMe. By Joseph Tarnowski, VP of Content & Global Media, RangeMe
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What makes a supplier successful on RangeMe?
That’s a question I sought to answer by getting it directly from the horse’s mouth – those suppliers who have landed on the shelf at retail from connections or direct purchases made on RangeMe.
During our discussions, these brands – which sell a variety of products ranging from candy and condiments to flatbreads and sweet potato pies – shared best practices that lead them to success on RangeMe. And while each brand leverages RangeMe in its own unique way, the overall takeaway was clear: If you want to get the most out of the platform, you need to be an active user. You can’t just create a profile and sit back expecting things to happen; you have to view RangeMe as another tool in your arsenal for connecting with retailers, large and small. It’s all about buyer engagement.
Here is a roundup of the best practices shared by these successful product innovators.
Go Premium and get verified!
RangeMe Premium is an annual subscription plan that unlocks enhanced features for suppliers. One feature includes the ability to create a digital storefront that enables wholesale purchases from buyers directly on RangeMe. Premium brands are also given exclusive opportunities to submit their products directly to retailers and can receive category review alerts that reflect when buyers are searching for products within their categories. It also gives Premium suppliers access to insider insights of buyer behavior on RangeMe, as well as their activity on your profile.
Additionally, suppliers with a Premium subscription have the opportunity to get RangeMe Verified™, which lets retailers know you are ready and capable of doing business with them. “You want to be verified, because buyers look for that checkmark when they are searching,” says Joye B. Moore, CEO of Joyebells Sweet Potato Pies, a verified Premium RangeMe supplier who landed on the shelves at Food Lion and Sam’s Club from initial contacts that began on RangeMe.
Keep your profile pages fresh
As with any digital medium, it’s important to keep the content up to date and refresh it on a regular basis. What may grab someone’s attention today may be less relevant tomorrow. “It’s very important to refresh your product and marketing images every so often,” says Billal Sidiq, CEO of Bolani, another RangeMe Premium supplier who has landed retail deals and received direct purchases on RangeMe. “Sometimes a new image can make all of the difference in a key buyer being attracted to your product.”
According to Joyebell’s Moore, the cover image on your RangeMe profile should be viewed as your brand ambassador and must include a super-high-quality image of your product. And if you have certifications, she highly recommends that you include them in the banner image (Moore uses the Canva app to create hers).
It’s also important to have all of the information on your profile fully completed. “Make sure that all of your information is posted, including your specs,” says Moore. “Keep it simple, direct and to the point about what you do and what your product is. Fill out everything, don’t leave anything undone. Keep your pictures up to date and include video links if you have them.”
Suppliers with a Premium subscription can use the buyer activity metrics to test out different images and see which ones drive more views, which will give them a better sense of which types of images work, and which don’t.
Check in regularly
Every brand I spoke with at the show who are seeing success on RangeMe logs on at least several times per week. This helps them keep tabs on buyer activity, get a sense of which of their products are garnering the most interest, and quickly respond to any inquiries that may come in.
“Every morning I check my profile so I don’t miss any opportunities,” says Bolani’s Sidiq. “If a buyer asks for a sample and you are two weeks late getting it to them, they may no longer be interested.”
Be VERY responsive to buyer inquiries
We all know how busy buyers can be, so when they are giving you attention on RangeMe, either via a direct message or a sample request, it’s important to respond quickly while their interest level is still high. Answer any questions in detail, and ship samples promptly.
Create a digital storefront
Several of the brands I spoke with have digital storefronts set up and have already received direct purchases from SMB retailers through RangeMe. The consensus among these brands was that their digital storefronts open up many opportunities to reach, attract, and entice independent retailers. Most brands – emerging brands in particular – simply don’t have the bandwidth to reach out to independent retailers directly. A RangeMe digital storefront solves this issue.
Zolli Candy is a great example of this. They’ve had tremendous success with larger retailers through ECRM sessions, while at the same time, their digital storefront on RangeMe has received direct purchases from small and medium-sized (SMB) retailers. It’s a great way to extend a supplier’s potential sales reach with minimum effort.
Get involved in sourcing campaigns
Throughout the year, RangeMe teams up with retailers to help recruit suppliers to participate in retailer sourcing campaigns around various categories or themes, such as supplier diversity, sustainability, and store brands. If your brand is eligible for one of these sourcing campaigns, take the time to apply. It could be a game-changer! RangeMe Starter and Premium subscribers can participate in all sourcing campaigns.
It certainly was for Yasameen Sajady, Co-Founder and CEO of Maazah Chutney, which she launched with her sister, Sheilla. Last year, Yasameen submitted an application through RangeMe to be considered for the Kroger Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator discovery event.
Kroger reviewed more than 1,000 applications, selecting 15 finalists to participate in a pitch competition, and Maazah became one of the five finalists selected in that year’s cohort. Their products are slated to be on the shelves this year.
Category Reviews and Submissions
Premium subscribers can submit a product directly to each retailer once per year, and have access to category review alerts, which notify a brand when a participating retailer is gearing up to review their category. For Joseph Trousdale, Founder and COO of Houston, Texas-based food brand PhoLicious, which makes authentic Vietnamese pho that can be prepared in minutes at home, these are the features that led to several major retail deals.
“I learned from the Category Review section of RangeMe that retail buyers review my category at specific times of the year, and many of them indicate the timing in this section,” says Trousdale. “If you follow the category review guidelines for these retailers it will be more likely to get their attention because it’s when they are specifically looking for products in your category, and that’s half the battle.”
PhoLicious, incidentally, also got on the shelves at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club from the retailer’s Open Call event. Brands must submit their products for consideration via RangeMe.
There you have it – some in-the-trenches advice from those suppliers who have been crushing it on RangeMe. Looking to up your game and join their ranks with a RangeMe Premium membership? You can get started by clicking here.