An app that helps SME producers find appropriate buyers for their products has been adopted by one of the largest supermarkets in Australia.
RANGEme, a network that brings buyers and suppliers together with the help of a web application, will soon add supermarket giant Coles to its list of more than 500 buyers.
Speaking to SmartCompany, founder and CEO Nicky Jackson says she is really excited about the bringing Coles on board.
“They really have embraced it with open arms,” says Jackson.
Jackson first thought of the RANGEme idea in 2013 after she launched a range of baby skincare products and found it difficult to secure a buyer.
“I did the whole process of getting the product ready and came across the common problem – how am I going to get retailers to look at my product?” she says.
“It was my ah-ha moment.”
Jackson says the biggest roadblock for suppliers was that supermarket buyers have been traditionally inundated with proposals, often directed at the wrong category for the product.
She says for time poor SMEs, one of the biggest challenges to getting a foot in the door is the time it takes to find an appropriate stockist or even speak to the right category manager.
“Often the secretaries are the gatekeepers and its’ impossible to speak to the right person,” she says.
“RANGEme streamlines the process for both supplier and buyer.”
For a subscription fee, starting at $79 a month, producers can upload their products via the app. They are prompted to provide a variety of information, including details on pricing and quantities, which will help buyers find the products they are after.
Buyers are then served up weekly notifications about appropriate products within the categories they are looking in, which range from everything to fresh produce and personal care products.
They can zoom in on products or even watch YouTube clips uploaded by suppliers to demonstrate how to use their products.
Jackson says some buyers – including Coles – have even bothered to give feedback to SMEs on why they have not chosen their product this time.
“It offers a genuine lead to genuine buyers,” she says, pointing to several success stories since RANGEme’s launch in March.
An SME who makes unique watch pedometers received interest from a pharmacy just 24 hours after listing, despite having previously been rejected by a string of supermarkets, while a muesli producer named Farmer Joes was picked up by a supermarket chain within three days of listing.
Jackson says she will look to expand RANGEme into other retail verticals, such as department stores, and into international markets in the future.