Associated Wholesale Grocers recently announced a partnership with RangeMe, the online platform that’s been attracting buzz for its role in boosting discovery of new products for both retailers and suppliers. AWG sought the partnership to take advantage of RangeMe’s technology as it tries to scale its retail offerings for a few categories, including natural and organic items. We asked RangeMe founder and CEO Nicky Jackson about the partnership, the technology and RangeMe’s goals as a company.
What are RangeMe's goals with the AWG partnership? Does it change your offerings—and how so?
Nicky Jackson: The primary goal of the partnership between RangeMe and AWG is to help AWG scale its buying efforts for its member retailers in discovering unique and innovative items in the natural, specialty and organic categories as well as general merchandise, health and beauty. This partnership not only benefits our supplier community by giving them access to the buying power of AWG’s retailers spanning 3,800 stores and 11 wholesale divisions, but it also opens up the nearly 65,000 suppliers already active on the platform to AWG’s buying teams.
How can retailers get involved?
NJ: RangeMe is changing the way retailers and product suppliers do business by giving buyers an efficient way to discover innovative new products and manage the inbound product submission process. Retailers partner with RangeMe through a structured partnership whereby both sides collaborate for mutual benefit of streamlining discovery for retailers and suppliers in the industry—all on one platform. Implementation with retailers is seamless and simple; there is no downside for retailers to get involved. Every retailer is verified before they are able to access our closed and secure platform.
How do brands get into the system? Does that process look any different for large vs. smaller brands, and/or between categories?
NJ: With RangeMe, all brands are given equal footing—whether large or small—and brands can sign up for free via rangeme.com or through retail partner portals. One of our goals is to give buyers a standard way to look at products and brands that is easily digestible and allows them to save time while getting everything they need to make intelligent decisions. We give buyers the tools to narrow their preferences based on location, pricing, category, certifications, revenue size, years in business, distribution and more, to ensure that buyers are able to discover the right suppliers and brands for their retail offering.
How does RangeMe, and the collaboration with AWG, interface with distributors like KeHE and UNFI?
NJ: RangeMe is able to bring a new level of value to its retailer partners when working with the distributors that service them by fostering a tremendous amount of collaboration. This collaboration can be seen in the distributor finding a new innovative item on RangeMe and sharing the item with a customer (retail buyer) to get their feedback, all within the technology. Furthermore, retail buyers can find new items they want to take in store and simply share the items with their distributor contact right within RangeMe to facilitate the supplier setup.