MegaFood CEO Robert Craven told NutraIngredients-USA that the goal of the program, which is rolling out in a beta test form, is both to support the local retailers and to retain the loyalty of the company’s core consumers. The two go hand-in-glove, he said.
“I firmly believe the natural retailers are core to our brand’s success. MegaFood is the most expensive brand for all of the right reasons,” he said.
“It takes store staff to explain to our consumers why that is,” he said.
Helping support brand’s key partners
Bricks-and-mortar retailers of every stripe are under increasing pressure from online sales. Bigger chains have the resources to manage and even profit from these transitions, such as programs offering online ordering and in store pickup. But Craven said the independent natural channel retailers are at a distinct disadvantage in this evolution.
“We don’t want to abandon them,” Craven said. “Natural retailers don’t have the resources to compete that way and to do so would take away from one of their strengths which is a curated product set.”
Craven said MegaFood, whose parent company is FoodState, now part of Pharmavite, has been wrestling with how best to support these retailers for several years.
“About three years ago we had a summit in New Hampshire. We brought in experts from Amazon and Pharmavite to talk about what the value of the natural retailer can be. It’s dangerous to try to copy the online sellers; you are not going to beat an Amazon on price,” he said.
“This out of stock program really seemed to fit the bill,” Craven said.
In the program, customers at natural channel stores that sell MegaFood products will be guaranteed to be able to either buy the product they want at the store or be able to order it immediately as part of the store visit for shipment directly to their home.
Omni channel experience
Craven said MegaFood will keep track of where the orders originate from and share of the profit will be turned back to that retailer. And in the future that customer, should he or she acquire the buying-direct-from-MegaFood habit, will be tagged to that retailer so the store will continue to benefit.
“If a customer were to visit one store on one day and another on another day, those are some of the things we are still working out, which is the reason for this beta test,” Craven said. “The intention is to make sure that the natural retail channel can provide that omni channel experience and not lose that customer.”
“People often look at this as just a channel strategy, and then there is every incentive for brands to drive traffic to their own websites, because you can make more money,” he said.
“In a store, consumers can talk to staff person who may have taken a tour of our facility, may have seen our dryers. You are not going to get that same experience in an online environment,” he said.
“Our mission is to cure the wold of nutritional poverty. We think that a great natural retailer in a community does more to achieve that goal than anything else,” Craven said.