Working with RetailersWorking with Retailers
How does a leading supplement manufacturer deal with its retail customers? With a mixture of old-school and new-school techniques, writes Amber Cerda, NOW Foods’ marketing communications manager.
December 16, 2015
One of the most important ways natural products retailers set themselves apart from the Internet and big box sellers is by having an informed and educated staff that can provide information and answer customer questions. Since many of these stores are small businesses, providing marketing support gives them better tools to compete in today’s business environment.
At NOW Foods, how do we do that?
One of our educational tools is NOW® Product-ology, an online retailer training program that is designed to create experts in the aisle. Each of the free 60-minute training sessions provides nutritional ingredient education that will empower retail staff with the knowledge they need to answer customer questions and provide information about a variety of healthy topics. The newest course, Supplement Quality, Safety & Regulation, presents regulation, cGMPs, and testing of dietary supplements to provide a thorough understanding of the industry.
“Product-ology" is part of the NOW Retailer Portal, an online information hub to serve the needs of our retail customers. Once they have logged in, retailers can access a digital asset library to download NOW logos, product images, and labels. They can also place an order, view order history, and much more. The portal supports retail customers in ways that help them manage their time more effectively and grow their business. NOW also recently introduced a mobile ordering app, NOWFoods, so retailers can order faster and easier than ever! (The app is available for free in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store.)
NOW offers free customized marketing materials to help support NOW product sales in the stores. This turnkey service, arranged through the retailer’s NOW sales representative, lets retailers order custom print materials, such as posters and store signage, which NOW will design, print, and ship to the store—free of charge.
For the last 17 years we’ve hosted a retailer conference in Itasca, Illinois that includes a series of educational presentations as well as a tour of our Bloomingdale facility so they can see top-notch GMP compliance and state-of-the-art product testing in action. When customers arrive with concerns sparked by the latest negative headlines, describing how much care the true industry leaders put into making the products the store sells is a powerful rebuttal.
One of NOW’s longest-standing education services is the Product Information Nutrition Department, staffed by nutritionists who answer questions about our products over the phone and via email on a full-time basis. We also send out exclusive weekly and monthly emails to our retail customers so they stay up-to-date on NOW specials and news. Through the years we’ve offered web seminars, education sessions at trade shows, published books, and more to educate and support natural product retailers.
We encourage our competitors and colleagues to do the same. Natural product retailers are the core of the healthy lifestyle movement, and key to all of our growth and sustainability. They deserve our support.
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