Martyn Fisher learns how the bottled water category can provide real sales growth in 2018

How has Danone helped wholesalers grow bottled water sales in the past 12 months?

We have put even more energy into understanding what wholesalers want and need using. Danone knows that retailers’ margins are important, so we have provided simple range solutions with year-round value. We know that almost all retailers are using wholesale websites to check pricing, so we have increased investment in helping wholesalers with online promotions. 

What is the greatest challenge the wholesale industry faces?

All the recent liquidations, mergers and acquisitions mean there is likely to be more competition in the channel. While this may provide good opportunities for some, others might be challenged. Importantly, wholesalers need to ensure they offer a stable supply to retailers to ensure shoppers can still buy the products they love.

What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?

There are four clear macro trends: health, convenience, quality and value. Shoppers are now searching for products that deliver on these needs. As a result, categories such as bottled water provide an opportunity for growth.

Wholesalers have a chance to offer this advice to retailers to ensure that both wholesalers and retailers alike can realise the growth potential of these trends.

What was Danone’s greatest achievement in the past year?

We continue to be extremely proud of our efforts in driving bottled water sales inside all year round.

As part of that, we recently landed our biggest-ever Q4 activation, ‘Find Your Force’, where we partnered with one of last year’s biggest film releases, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Importantly, this brought new shoppers into the category and accelerated growth within it.

What would you like to see happen in wholesaling in the next 12 months?

As online delivered wholesale continues to grow the market, wholesalers will need the support of the supplier base in building effective online shopping platforms. It is important that these platforms keep pace with developments in online grocery shopping, so that retailers can take advantage of the opportunity to restock smartly.

Are you planning any activity of which wholesalers should be aware?

In April, we are relaunching Touch of Fruit Original with new packaging. The launch will include a full through-the-line campaign. Specifically, we will be launching a new 12-pack case for Touch of Fruit 50cl, which will allow even more retailers to access its benefits.

What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales of bottled water?

Success in bottled water is often determined by how prepared you are for sharp spikes in demand. The category is popular in summer, and this can often catch retailers out.

It is so important for wholesalers to help retailers prepare for warmer weather by encouraging them to ‘stock up’. This could be achieved by communicating with the high traffic on delivered wholesale platforms.

As we see a thirst from retailers to buy across the portfolio, delivering individual online range solutions could provide wholesalers with a real opportunity to step-change retailer conversion online.


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