Over the past week and a half, the acquisition of New Chapter has come up in nearly every conversation that I've had with retailers. Quite a few from the distribution/broker/manufacturer side of the business also have brought it up. And many retailers across the country have already expressed plans of action.
Overall, there are three major reactions that retailers can make to this change. Here, I explore each of them along with some of the potential risks and rewards.
- Change nothing. Carry, promote and endorse the line as you have been.
- Drop the line of supplements and refuse to carry it.
- Carry the supplements, but do it differently.
1. Change nothing
In your store, New Chapter looks the same to your customers as it always has. After all, it is the same quality product that you've recommended for years. We don't know what changes, if any, P&G will be making, so making a change now is premature. If we make a change now, not knowing what the future will bring, we may be making the wrong change.
If the brand ends up elsewhere, your store will seem less unique and specialized. After all, one of your featured brands is now widely available, thus reducing the need for people to shop with you.
You'll have continued sales in the short term and the potential of increased sales in the long term. If P&G flexes its marketing muscle, more people will know about it and your sales will increase.
2. Drop the line
Discontinue selling New Chapter supplements and put another brand on the shelf. After all, it is probably going to mass market so why wait until it gets there?
This line is very unique with cutting edge formulas. What can you recommend in its place? Also, what happens to your credibility if you were recommending it last week and then not carrying it this week? Does that rapid shift cause you to lose some credibility with your customers? And, speaking of losing, are you losing sales? Will people that love this line just buy it from someone other than you?
If you are going to have to tear the Band-Aid off, do it all at once and now. It is going to be hard to lose the sales from this line, but the sooner you do it, the sooner you can get your customers aware of other brands that you carry.
3. Carry it "differently"
Shoppers can find and purchase the supplements, but New Chapter is no longer a brand that you recommend. Instead, other brands become your “go to” ones. Rather than a prime location, you move the brand to a sub-par space.
Will consumers looking for New Chapter not find it in its new location and shop for it in a different store? Will the brands that you have decided to focus on instead not create as much consumer loyalty and repeat business?
You continue to service your current New Chapter customers while making fewer of them. You can slowly change consumer preferences to other brands whose market strategies are more in sync with yours.
How do you see this acquisition affecting your store? What do you expect to be different a month after the transaction closes? A year after? Tell me in the comments.