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Winning brand-retailer partnerships: Dabur and Reliance Retail

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10 outstanding success stories of collaboration exemplifying how brands and retailers can create a winning playbook by leveraging each other’s capabilities and resources

By collaborating, brands and retailers can reach out to new customers and expand their reach in the market. Retailers can help brands distribute their products more effectively by leveraging their existing distribution networks. Brands can benefit from retailers’ expertise and resources, such as data analytics and omnichannel capabilities, to enhance their operations and offerings. Together, they can collaborate on marketing and promotional activities to drive sales and raise brand awareness besides helping each other to tap into new revenue streams, reduce costs, and improve overall profitability.

We bring you 10 outstanding success stories of collaboration between food and FMCG brands and retailers in building new consumption/ product categories or transforming a traditional category with innovation.

Dabur and Reliance Retail come together for a new Real juice variant

The collaboration has helped Dabur sell over 2.4 million units of its fruit masala juice in the past year and a half and yanked up its share of the category from 1.4% to 15% besides whipping up 4x sales growth for the real fruit masala range

How many of us have tried juices at a local street cart or a neighbouring fruit-vending kiosk? As a common practice on such occasions, many of us ask the vendor to add a dash of masala to the juice to lend more pep and pizzazz to the drink. Picking up this consumer insight became the basis for collaboration between Dabur’s Real Fruit Masala Juice and Reliance Retail. It’s one of those partnerships that also speak most eloquently to the post-covid era of grocery retailing.  

When the product development team at Dabur was picking their brains for formulating a product that could be the right market fit for the post-covid era, it felt that even though it shouldered the mantle of leadership in the juices category, there were some product-related issues that needed ironing out. 

As a category leader, Dabur knew that it had the onerous responsibility of increasing the category’s size and take it to another level. It had to figure out a way for meeting the unarticulated and unmet needs of customers, especially as many juice lovers had to face a lot of issues regarding health and hygiene when it came to indulging their love during the pandemic. Venturing out and hotfooting to a nearby road-side juice vendor during the pandemic was deemed to be a health hazard, not discounting the fact that even finding a juice vendor was very improbable during the period.

Elements of the Collaboration 

Taking these issues into consideration, Dabur set out to find the solutions. It approached Reliance Retail and pitched a few ideas to the retailer. The brand felt encouraged to move forward once the retailer extended them a welcoming hand. But first, Dabur needed to come up with a new variant of its Real fruit juice range. 

After some serious brainstorming and thinking through, Dabur was ready to formulate and bring on a new product, which was a new masala range from its juice brand Real. As a result of this collaboration, the two sides were able to co-create a subsegment in the nectars category.

Since then, there has been no looking back. The new variant turned out to be a blockbuster product. But the product’s whopping success could not have been possible without Reliance Retail chipping in with a powerful retailing and merchandising strategy for the brand. 

Although brand Real was very well established in the Nectars category, yet the new masala variant had to be put through the paces of consumer testing and exposure before it could become a recognized product in its own right. To test the new product and get consumer feedback on it, Reliance Retail frst tried the product on its own store operator. “If my store operator is convinced about the product, they become a brand promoter as well and actively promote the product in the store to end-consumers. With the help of Dabur, we did a product sampling for our store operators. Once, they were convinced, we counted on their support to push the product,” says Mandar Shinde, Sr. Category Manager, Reliance Retail.

Nectars constitute a big chunk of the juices category and it’s closely associated with breakfast as an ideal morning drink and also as a healthy and nutritious accompaniment for the occasion. But people identify a masala juice as something to go for during the day or evening. “So, we agreed to promote the product as an evening drink and also as a welcome juice drink for families looking to entertain guests at homes. We also made sure that the product radiated favorably on the price-quality equation and despite the high quality of the product, it was attractively priced to encourage strong consumer uptake,” says Mandar. 

Outcome 

The product strategy and its retailing gameplan worked like a breeze for both Dabur and Reliance Retail and helped both to grow their business. 

“In the past year and a half, Dabur has sold over 2.4 million units of its fruit masala juice. Also, from a meager share of 1.4% in the category, the brand has extended its share to 15% as of Nov. 2022,” says Jay Mehta, Key Account Manager – MT – Dabur India Limited.

“Currently, the sales growth of Real Fruit Masala range has touched 4X and the range has a 15% share in the Real Juices category. We have created a new sub-category within nectars and have been able to bring in new customers for the overall juices category,” says Mandar, pointing out that along the way, both partners have dominated key parameters such as average selling price (ASP) and per store throughput with this new product.

This article first appeared in Images Group’s Progressive Grocer Magazine, February 2023 Issue.

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