3 Ways A Supplier Relationship Can Help Boost Micro Market Offerings

Oct. 31, 2017

Sourcing new products in micro markets can be a heavy feat for any size operation. That’s why Buffalo Rock Co. works with suppliers who can help find the right product for today’s customer. The Birmingham, AL-based company currently operates several micro markets throughout its 14 sales centers. The company minimally introduces a new product into the micro markets each quarter, in a process that takes about four weeks to set up on the backend. “Introducing products is a little bit of a guessing game,” said Dick Hanson, executive director of marketing and sales for Buffalo Rock Co. “Sometimes you get surprised, without a doubt, at what sells at locations and what doesn’t.”

Buffalo Rock stays on top of product offerings through its supplier partnerships. Here’s why you should, too:

No.1— Suppliers can provide insight

Hanson relies on supplier insight before purchasing products. “[Suppliers] will give you a good idea of what’s selling and what’s not,” he said. “They also tell you about what products they’re having issues with.” But Hanson notes that operators need to have a good relationship with suppliers first. “You have to be able to work with your supplier,” he commented. You absolutely have to try and work with them the best you can. Communication is key.”

No. 2— Suppliers can recommend products based on your needs

Buffalo Rock uses two distributors; Hanson is in communication with them at least once a week discussing products. “I look for recommendations from distributors, suppliers and brokers,” he said. “They have an idea of what I want and what I don’t want. I think suppliers are doing a much better job at providing micro market products.” It’s a partnership, he says, all sides want to turn product quickly.

No. 3— Suppliers can access and resource products efficiently

Hanson advises operators to build a good relationship with suppliers, as they are a tremendous help in the success of micro markets. “They can access and resource product information far better than we can,” he said. “They will help you out and work with you. When they know what your go-to-market strategy is, they are very helpful.”

When it comes to adding new products, Hanson looks for anything that is new and different. In his area of the country he specifically looks for products that have a unique flavor profile. Those products, he says, generally do well early. The office demographics matter, too. “Millennials purchase different than Baby Boomers – we all know that so we’re always trying to find a niche for all of the demographics.”

The hardest part is that not every market is alike. “There is no “cookie-cutter” process out there,” he said. “We as a company have to make sure we are offering enough product to satisfy all of the demographics.”


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365 Retail Markets

July 16, 2012
365 Retail Markets is the global leader of self-service convenience technologies and strategic partnerships with foodservice operators worldwide. 365's combination of micro market...