Metro Fuels retailers will soon be able to test a range of new products on the market thanks to a product discovery program run by Stock Box.
Samples of new products will be delivered to Metro Zone members, in order to trial and provide feedback that will guide product ranging in Metro Petroleum outlets.
Metro buying group manager Andrew Sylvester said the program will begin in August and run each quarter, fast-tracking product discovery and introduction. Results of the trials will be available to Metro within four weeks of the initial distribution, after which Metro head office will determine ranging and negotiate final terms with product partners.
“We see this unique product discovery program as a fundamental step in providing a greater level of service and support to our membership, and offer potential product partners a greater level of buy-in,” Mr Sylvester said.
Product manufacturers and suppliers wishing to participate in the program will be required to pay a service fee to Stock Box and cover sample costs.
Stock Box director Craig Matthews said the program would not only give Metro Petroleum retailers convenient access to up to 12 new products in each box, but also offered suppliers the benefit of direct retailer feedback and engagement in a very tactile way.
“The program will enable Metro to focus on their key business activities, while we take away the noise of all the suppliers looking to engage with Metro,” Mr Matthews said.
“We manage the pick, pack and deliver process of the program, and then we follow-up members with a survey, and provide the feedback to Metro about which products their members were interested in.”
Mr Matthews said this type of service would have potential benefits for many banners and groups, saving them from having to employ additional resources to canvass retailers.
“There’s a lot of product out there, and there are a lot of suppliers who struggle to get in the front door, because you just don’t have the time to talk to everyone,” he said.
“I think that we can provide a value added service by removing that noise and streamlining the process, creating better retailer buy-in and decision making.
“The other benefit is that for decision makers in those businesses, category managers can make decisions about whether to have a conversation or explore an opportunity in an informed way, because most of the time they go through all the pain of negotiating and putting a product out to market, only to have their members not support it.
“This way we’re finding out in the first instance whether there’s any merit in pursuing these opportunities.”