depot managers: plan for niw now

It’s worth reminding wholesalers of the fact that they are the custodians of the only positive national generic consumer public relations and trade marketing campaign which promotes the value of independent retailers – their customers.

If the Competition Commission does not eventually bring some relief to the sector, this campaign, as valuable as it is now, will be worth its weight in gold as a future generic promotional platform.

MSYS was launched by FWD in 2004 to remind consumers of the value of the independent c-store, newsagent and rural shop in the local community. It’s a value thing, and not a plea such as “Use it or lose it”. Independents add value to the neighbourhood.

The campaign also inspires independent retailers to maximise their involvement in the local community as a trading benefit and footfall driver. In 2007, National Independents’ Week (NIW) succeeds the previous National Independents’ Day. This was decided by FWD – following the success of NID – to give a broader platform for the public relations and trade activity which has been implemented in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Independent retailers will look to their wholesaler for support and wholesalers will now be working with suppliers on promotional activity linked into NIW. It’s important that depot managers plan their in-depot theatre, displays and specials for retailers in the promotional period which falls in May just ahead of NIW (w/c June 4).

Ask your suppliers about this. Those who are supportive can be encouraged to help you make this the biggest ever sales bonanza for the wholesale sector.

GROWING AWARENESS

There is a growing awareness of this activity among independent c-stores, newsagents and rural shop owners following intensive publicity in the trade press and consumer media. It is a given that retailers first look to their wholesaler for information and guidance.

Without question, NIW gives the wholesaler a unique opportunity for promotional activity. Unlike events such as the soccer World Cup or other sales opportunities, which are shared with the multiples, this big week gives wholesalers there own promotional platform.

MSYS is based on clear differentials which distinguish the local independent from the multiple. First, it implies that the store is “My shop” with the retailer owning the business – something a multiple manager cannot claim.

Second, the slogan “Local And Proud Of It” cannot be claimed by multiple managers who do not “live over the shop” and who are often moved around a corporate estate on a career path.

Third, the “localness” of the independent is highlighted by the fact that he is a natural member of the local community. The independent can join local societies, school committees, sports clubs, charity organisations as an individual and not as the representative of the giant multiple.

Involvement of this nature will lead most consumers to support the store where they can. Consumer research shows people are increasingly “local” minded.

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=== WHAT HAPPENS ON JUNE 4 ===

Activity for NIW, which breaks on June 4, is in the final stages of planning by the FWD PR Action Group (PRAG) consisting of suppliers, wholesalers and retailers.

First a sustained public relations programme using local and regional press, radio and TV is being planned. This will alert the shopper to NIW. Millions of “consumer hits” have been achieved through the media by the campaign since launch in 2004.

Under this PR “umbrella” independent retailers can put on displays in their stores, create or join in local activities, offer price promotions, put on wine tastings and so on. In-store theatre kits of T-shirts, caps, balloons and stickers will be available to those retailers who apply for them – and to wholesalers who wish to purchase bulk orders.

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