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How Retail Technology Can Revolutionise How You Get In front of Buyers


The most dangerous phrase in the English language is “We’ve always done it this way”, renowned computer scientist Grace Hopper famously said. Over the last year as planes were grounded, key retail trade shows cancelled, and face to face meetings replaced by boxes on a screen, these words have proved harshly pertinent to the retail industry, with many FMCG suppliers left scratching their heads as to the best way to get in front of buyers.

But just as other areas of the business world learned that, actually, employees worked smarter and harder at home, skipping flights to conferences dramatically cuts carbon footprints, and those virtual meetings that seemed awkward at first turned out to save a huge amount of time, suppliers and retail buyers have found online communication such as virtual trade shows and pitch events to not only be a successful replacement for in-person networking but a key component of their future sales strategies.

The challenge of meeting retail buyers pre-pandemic

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: the pandemic has been an incredibly tough time for many. As the dust settles on the damage that’s been done, a unique opportunity has been presented for the retail sector to reflect on previous methods and question whether they were the most effective after all.

The last year has accelerated adoption of digital retail technology, taking online product discovery platforms and virtual trade shows beyond early adopters to the majority of retailers. Prior to COVID, small and mid-sized FMCG businesses relied heavily on outreach methods such as cold calling, emailing, and retail trade shows, the latter of which could be costly, time consuming, and potentially damaging to the environment if it involved taking flights. However, with the option of in-person trade shows off the table, digital alternatives have been embraced by brands and retailers who hadn’t previously considered them a priority sales and buying tool. For these businesses, such technology has moved from a “nice to have” to “must have."

How Product Guru can help FMCG businesses get in front of buyers

So in the future, how will FMCG businesses meet buyers? We might have reservations about retail trade shows but we're not discounting the power of face to face communication completely. Instead we envisage a hybrid model of networking, involving a combination of in-person events and making full use of online retail technology.

An example of such technology is our online platform Product Guru, which has helped some of the UK’s most exciting small businesses get their products onto the shelves of John Lewis, WH Smith, Pets at Home, and many other large nationwide retailers, all without staff leaving their offices.

Our platform allows brands and producers to showcase products to buyers from UK retailers and book a place at our virtual pitching events where they can sell to and communicate with retailers directly.

The best news? It's free for suppliers to join Product Guru and to list products on our site.

Learn more about how Product Guru can help you reach retail buyers and sign up for free.