Arla invested in merchandising at wholesalers – sales rose by 200 %


2017-05-24, BrandBuddy Group


BrandBuddy has been Arla’s field sales partner since December 2016. This time however, the work has been done at wholesalers instead of retail stores, and so also the clients are HoReCa-field professionals instead of the end users themselves.

”This is new, as brands are usually not as visibly displayed at wholesalers and the customer experience is not thought through as carefully as it is in retail stores. We wanted to improve the visibility of our products also for HoReCa-professionals, and that has proven to be a success,” says Arla Marketing Manager Fredrik Grahn.

There were two projects: In-store-marketing materials were designed and produced for Café-maito milk and the locations and overall way of displaying the product at the wholesalers were re-thought.  The other project focused on reorganizing how the dairy products were placed at the wholesalers.

Success story Café-maito

The BrandBuddy team implemented a whole new Café-maito in-store marketing campaign for 11 wholesalers, including planning and creating the marketing materials. The displays were built at the wholesalers and the wholesalers were then visited once a month to ensure products and materials were well displayed and the wholesalers were satisfied. Based on the work done and the campaign ran during January and February 2017, Café-maito was still in April among the bestselling dairy products at the wholesalers.

“The effects of in-store marketing on the sales of Café-maito at the wholesaler were spectacular. Café-maito sales rose by 200% during the first quarter of 2017. Sales continued to rise in March-April even after the campaign of January-February had ended. We will continue our partnership with BrandBuddy and may also include other activation campaigns such as product tastings”, says Grahn.

Re-organising the shelves helps the customer choose products

Arla wanted to focus on the rebuilding and re-organising of the dairy products shelf in the cold room at another wholesaler. Before the re-organising, the dairy products of different brands were not organised in any particular way and the comparison between similar products was difficult.

“When you have 4-5 different brands with slightly differing products, such as four different full creams, we want to try how visual guidance at the dairy product shelf helps the customer make the decision on which product to buy. Together with BrandBuddy we re-thought the whole layout of the dairy products category so that customers wanting to buy products for their café or restaurant would find it easier to make the purchasing decision.”

Arla, with the help of BrandBuddy and in cooperation with the wholesalers’ staff, reorganized the dairy products shelves. Booklets with tips for the use of the products are also available for customers to take with them. The BrandBuddy consultants have visited the wholesalers once a week to check the products are well displayed on the shelves and there are enough booklets for customers to take. The results of this campaign are not yet available.

”The campaign aims at making the purchasing of dairy products a better experience for the customer, as well as get the Arla products better displayed. The staff of the wholesalers’ do not often have time to focus on the display of products, and therefore we must do it ourselves. We re-built the whole dairy products shelves and also organised our competitors’ products”, says Fredrik Grahn.

Focusing of product visibility at wholesalers is new

Brands have invested very little in how visible they are at wholesalers. Arla wanted to try whether branding makes a difference in sales at wholesalers.

“ Many see wholesalers as distributors, but also the number of visiting purchasing customers is significant. There is less branding at wholesale than at the retail side, and we thought there could be more room for last minute purchase decisions also at the wholesales side. The milk shelves are full of similar products, which makes it difficult to choose the most suitable milk. When we focused on the display of a particular milk product, it was also visible in the sales figures.”

The success story of Café-maito milk has been used globally at Arla as an internal example of the impact and importance of effective displaying of products.

“ We outsourced in-store-marketing, as a partner specialised in such cases can do the job quicker and Arla does not have resources of its own to be out in the field. Choosing BrandBuddy as our partner was clear, as only BrandBuddy could offer the whole package including the marketing materials. BrandBuddy has given the project full focus and I am extremely happy with how they have managed the project. Everything has proceeded quickly and the field staff recruited for the project have gained the full trust of the staff at the wholesalers. This has been of great value and importance to us, as the field staff are the face and image of Arla out in the field”, sums Fredrik Grahn, the Marketing Manager of Arla.