Change! It's a word that scares and excites me.
Here is what I have learnt with my health.
What I did yesterday may not work for me tomorrow.
Same with Switch.
The other day on Instagram and Facebook stories, I called our Customer Friends our board members! We don't have an official Board of Directors and I don't have someone I report to or I can go to for guidance.
So that got me thinking, we are thinking about making some changes to our product selection strategy and I would love to hear what you think.
How we started (2017)
"We carry brands you won't find anywhere else "
"We focus on selecting only one product per category to support our customers with making faster and easier purchase decisions!"
If you want to read more about us, you can find that here.
How it's going (2021)
Our Customer Friends know what they get when they come to our store (1 baking mix, 1 sweetener, 1 meal replacement)
We help our Customer Friends make easier and faster purchase decisions because of our "selective" selection (you know what I mean!
We have deepened relationships with our suppliers where they now test new products with us and ask us for feedback
We carry about 250 products compared to other online stores that may carry 1,000's of products. This contributes to our long term sustainability as we have lower dollars tied up in inventory compared to a store with wider selection
This is limiting for our selection for our Customer Friends! We met an incredible Canadian company recently that checks all boxes (great sourcing of ingredients, invested team, passes the "does the team eat everything they sell check"). They want to work with Switch and will share savings with us to pass to our Customer Friends! BUT they are sold in other grocery stores.
Discoverability! We have found that our Customer Friends mostly start shopping at SwitchGrocery for US brands. But guess what? You "discover" Canadian brands in our store! So by carrying only a Canadian brand in a category, we are limiting discoverability. For example - we could benefit our Canadian brands like Vancouver Island Sea Salt Company by carrying a US brand that we also like and I know our Customer Friends love (Redmond Sea Salt).
We have a lot of reliance on few brands which contributes negatively to our long term sustainability.
Do you delist brands or products from your store?
As a store that has 2,418 product reviews (as of June 25, 2021) with 86% 5 star reviews, we strive to carry delicious and healthy food products in our store!
But we have never de-listed products or brands.
There is an argument to be made here that if we launch a food product and it's not doing well (reviews or volume), it could be due to fit, taste, preferences.
We need to be more open at sharing that with our suppliers.
Our suppliers also go through cycles, including expansion to many stores in Canada or contraction during COVID-19 - reducing # of products, scaling back.
By not delisting brands or products:
- I am diluting our store's selection by carrying products that are not the right fit for our Customer Friends at this time
- I am avoiding uncomfortable conversations with our suppliers which means sharing meaningful feedback that can help them in their business
- We can't expand as quickly to carry new products because our $ are tied up in inventory
A mentor of mine told me - Your biggest strength can also become your weakness.
Let. That. Sink. In.
Your biggest strength can also become your weakness.
How selective we have been for the past 4 years is our strength, but it can also become our weakness.
What can we change?
We want to expand our categories to include more than one brand per category. This will allow us to carry 2 - 3 brands in a category which cater to our Customer Friends. For example, we want to carry a grain free cereal and a low carb cereal.
We want to carry a wider selection of products and this may include some that you can find in your grocery store.
For example, the Canadian brand that is excited to list their products in our store is Organika. They have the best selling collagen products in Canada, reasonable prices, strong sourcing, attention to the environment and are coming out with low carb collagen products. They are available in more stores but they want to work with us and support our Customer Friends with experiences - including access to new products, samples, fair pricing, and education.
Carrying Organika could also support discoverability of a marine collagen creamer that we launched recently from Nova Scotia called Sun under the Sea.
I would love your input!
I like the thought of changing our strategy of carrying hard to find products to be a philosophy, and not a rule.
We will always search for the most delicious, healthy and innovative food products and bring them to our Customer Friends as quickly as possible.
Would you like more selection on SwitchGrocery?
Have you ever been on our store and wanted more products?
Do you agree with our intention to delist brands as long as we do it in a meaningful way for our suppliers?
Do you think carrying more brands might dilute our brand and what sets us apart?
Is there something we are not thinking about?
Please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts!
Thank you for shopping with us and we appreciate you so much!