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Insights to Accelerate International Expansion
Export Handbook
Our Mission: Help Manufacturers “Spend time Selling to Distributors versus Searching for Distributors”
Export is not easy. Demanding
retailers, overworked distributors,
and limited funds for marketing
investment create a tough
environment for international
development. Export Solutions goal
is to make life a little easier for
export managers.
This Export Handbook features the
most popular articles published in
our Export Express newsletter. More
than 400,000 industry professionals
have visited our web site to read our
strategies and suggestions for
building brands in overseas markets.
Inspiration for this Export Handbook
can be credited to the export manager
of a world famous brand. He stated
“It is important that Export Solutions
has compiled all the strategies and
techniques that we know about export,
but sometimes forget. Your articles
help refresh my memory plus provide
new ideas.” The industry’s future
growth will be determined by our
ability to expand beyond our home
markets. Export Solutions can help!
Greg’s Ten Tips
1. Good news travels fast and bad
news travels slowly
2. If you want to know what’s
really going on, spend a day
visiting stores
3. Pick up the phone and call a friend
or business partner versus email
4. Be positive. Think, “why not?”
5. Results are directly proportionate
to your investment: Marketing,
People, Focus, Time
6. A distributor (or Broker) “respects”
what the Brand owner “inspects”
7. Shipment numbers rarely lie
8. Put it in writing
9. If two people agree on the
principle of a deal, you can usually
work out the financial terms
10. There is more in common with
industry practices across the globe
than differences. Brand owners
everywhere desire more shelf
presence and retailers demand
more discounts. Recognize the
differences, but focus on the
universal requirement for superior
products, marketed at a fair price.
In This Issue
Sell to 96 Countries
Looking for new customers and
distributors in international markets?
Export Solutions’ distributor database
covers more than 9,200 distributors in
96 countries. Our database features
extensive coverage of leading food,
confectionery, and beverage distributors.
New! Export Solutions’ retailer database
now tracks 2,700 retailers in 96 countries.
Order now at www.exportsolutions.com.
Page 2
Making Babies Versus Babysitting
Page 15
A New Export Road Map
Page 17
The World in 2025
Page 29
Some BRIC’s are Broken
Page 33
Ten Tips
Sourcing New Sales from Old Markets
Page 46
What Distributors Want to Know ?
Page 61
Ten Tips
Increased Distributor Focus on Your Brands
Page 91
Ten Tips: Distributor Interview
Preparation and Insights
Page 100
What is the Plan?
Export Handbook
Tips for International Success
I learned a lot in 2021 through projects completed in 31 countries on five
continents. One of the important issues revealed is human resource allocation in
the world of export. Our function appears anchored to the title of regional export
manager. This export manager is expected to achieve their assigned objectives
through a combination of managing existing businesses and expansion into new
countries. In many cases, there is one export manager assigned to handle a huge
geography like Asia or Latin America. My observation is that most export
managers dedicate the majority of their time “babysitting” existing businesses
that deliver their annual sales quota. This shortchanges time available to “making
babies,” the process of new market development.
Our feature article “The World in 2025” unveils a snapshot of the world in
10 years. Most exporters jam their annual plans with futuristic projections for dynamic
business potential of China, Brazil, or the USA (European Brands). How can we ever expect
to take these businesses to the next level with one person allocated per region, perhaps even
located in corporate headquarters, thousands of miles away from the “action?”
Listed below are Export Solutions ideas for “Making More Babies” in 2022.
1. Shift Team From Mature Markets to Developing Markets
Most companies feature sizable sales teams managing, large, mature businesses growing at
5 percent or less. Then, they’ll have one person managing Asia’s 4 billion people and one
person allocated to Latin America’s almost 600 million people. The result is usually tiny niche
businesses growing by high percentages, but miniscule in terms of scale. There is a delicate
balance, but in general the shifting of some head count from the base business to international
can pay out plus supply a meaningful new career opportunity for your team members.
2. Create New Country Development Role
This business incubation position could focus on business start-up in a small number of
priority countries. The person should have access to corporate functional resources and work
closely with the area export managers. I know several companies that use this model with
exceptional results.
3. Redefine Export Manager Work Allocation
Split workload to provide more time for Making Babies versus Babysitting. Don’t worry,
markets like Puerto Rico, Belgium, UAE,and Singapore will be fine if you spend more time
in Colombia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.
4. David Against Goliath Won’t Work in Top 5 Countries
A one person team working with a distributor will not allow you to optimize your business
in enormous, complex countries like China, Mexico, or the USA (Europeans). Game changing
results can be obtained through a three-five year plan including local production, multi-
functional teams, regional activities, and serious investments in trade activities and marketing
support. Consider acquisition of a local brand in your core category.
5. Boots On the Ground
Brands with regional employees based in foreign countries are gaining more than their fair
share of distributor time and focus. These managers are closer to market conditions and
distributor sales teams than export managers based in distant USA or European headquarters.
Consider offices in Shanghai, Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Jakarta and Jeddah to make a difference.
Other choices include Singapore, Panama, and Dubai. USA managers are typically centrally
located in Chicago, Atlanta or Dallas, close to major customers and airports.
We are the “Brand Parents.” Making Babies and creating new businesses will provide a solid
home base for the future. Time is always required for babysitting and brand development in
existing markets. However, need to spend more time on activities to “expand the family.”
“Spend Time Selling to Distributors versus Searching for Distributors”
Making Babies Versus Babysitting
Greg Seminara
Strategic Services
Contact Us for
Export Solutions
1. Identify Best in Class
Distributors: 96 Countries
2. Best Practices
Export Strategy
3. Distributor Management
4. Export 101:
Let’s Get Started
5. New Market
and Launch Plan
6. Personal Distributor
96 Countries
7. Walmart International
8. Distributor Contracts,
Margins, and Fees
9. Meeting Speaker
10. International
Strategy Expert
Strategic Services
Contact Us for
Export Solutions
1. Identify Best in Class
Distributors: 96 Countries
2. Best Practices
Export Strategy
3. Distributor Management
4. Export 101:
Let’s Get Started
5. New Market
and Launch Plan
6. Personal Distributor
96 Countries
7. Walmart International
8. Distributor Contracts,
Margins, and Fees
9. Meeting Speaker
10. International
Strategy Expert
Retail buyers are challenged to maximize profits and sales from every available inch of shelf space. Every new item accepted must
improve on the performance of the brand currently occupying that space. Buyers are overwhelmed by new product offerings, all with
ambitious promises. Improve your chances of success by incorporating Export Solutions’ 10 point check list on how to excite your
category buyer about your new product.
How to Excite Buyers New Product Checklist
Buyers: New Product Assessment
High Interest Low Interest
Category Opportunity Large or high growth Declining or niche
Brand Owner
Multinational or proven local.
Category expert
New foreign supplier
or start-up
Something new, supported
by consumer research
“Me too product
Profit Margin
Enhance current
category margin
Equal to or less than
current category margin
Sales Generates incremental sales Cannibalizes existing sales
Marketing Investment Sampling, social media, PR None
Trade Programs Invests in retailer “push programs Periodic discounts/rebates
Brand Track Record Successful at other local retailers Unproven in the country
Terms/Conditions Attractive deal structure Typical terms/conditions
Representation Dependable local distributor Small, niche entrepreneur
A big difference exists in export strategy for SMCG (Slow Moving Consumer Goods) and companies committed
to FMCG Brand Building (Fast Moving Consumer Goods). Either model is okay. Many companies are en route
between SMCG and FMCG. Alignment between aspiration, investment, and perspiration drives realistic outcomes.
Export Journey: SMCG to FMCG
Aspirations Niche Participant Mass/Leader
Homesick Upscale Local
None Nielsen Consumer
Best sellers from
home market
Best sellers from
home market
Tailored to region
or country
Standard packs stickered Multilingual
Local language label
and pack size
Corporate HQ Corporate HQ Offshore
Super Premium Premium Competitive
None Sampling, Digital
360 Plans
TV, Digital
Trade Spend
None 10-20% Discount
Ad, Display
20-30% Discount
Route to Market
Niche distributor Mid -size distributor
Mass distributor or
Country Focus
Homesick Expats
Mid-size countries
plus USA
All countries
USA, China, Brasil
Homesick Expats
All channels
1 visit/year from HQ Regional manager Dedicated country manager
Low Moderate High
How much do you pay for a display or special promotion at
your top customer? Retailers from Argentina to Vietnam capture
manufacturers’ promotion money to drive sales and profits.
Brand development and market share are frequently
proportional to investment level. In the world of export, you
must “pay to play.” However, different models exist to fund
trade activities. Leading distributors confirm that they work
with a variety of different structures. “It’s all money” and the
key question remains: under which cost line do you want this
investment to sit in your price calculation?
Manufacturer Funded Promotion Budget
The classic approach is for the brand owner to develop a joint
business promotion plan with the distributor. A spending budget
is developed, funded 100% by the manufacturer. The overseas
distributor pays the local retailer and sends a billback to the
producer, with proof of performance. The rationale for this
practice is that the supplier owns the brand equity and can
change distributors. Distributors are reluctant to invest their
own margin into another companies brand.
Split Fund – “Skin in the Game
In some cases, the brand owner and distributor split the
marketing plan costs, usually “50-50.” A further variation exists
where the brand owner covers the cost of consumer marketing
and the distributor pays for the periodic trade promotion
discounts. The philosophy is that the distributor will benefit
from higher sales and will also be motivated to execute
successful promotions if their own money is invested. This
structure appears most frequently with an existing brand, with
a minimum three year history of shipments. In reality, the
distributor calculates the expected investment and builds it into
his cost structure. A “50-50” shared model will usually not be
accepted with a new brand pioneered for the first time.
Best Price Dead Net
Dead net pricing is the third model. In this scenario, a
manufacturer provides a distributor with his very best price.
The distributor builds in all promotional support and his margin
into his calculation. In this case, the manufacturer does not
receive a constant stream of requests for more promotion
funding. However, the brand may lose control of their pricing
model or be under supported if the distributor fails to promote
at adequate levels.
10% of Sales – $1/Case
Another common model is for a manufacturer to establish a fixed
funding rate per case sold which the distributor invests to build
the brand. Normal funding begins at 10% of case cost, but can
accelerate to 20% or more for a competitive category. Some
manufacturers offer a flat rate per case or amount per container.
As mentioned before, it ultimately converts to a pile of money
to invest in brand building. This approach functions best with
a brand with a current sales history, as percentages don’t mean
much when the brand has zero sales.
Listing Fees
These one time payments are primarily covered by the brand
owner as part of upfront launch costs. Sometimes these fees can
be rolled into introductory promotions, spread out over twelve
months, or paid via free goods. Please check out Export
Solutions’ article Ten Tips: How to Minimize Listing Fee Payments
for more ideas on how to reduce these payments.
Most Effective Promotion Vehicles
Every key account manager should know the best promotion
vehicles to drive incremental sales at their customer. At some
supermarkets, promotional leaflets drive tonnage. At others,
deep discounts (30% +) or displays are winners. Distributor
sales teams are market experts and can source best practices
from their other brands.
Post Promotion Analysis
Tools are available to measure promotion effectiveness. These
evaluate sales lift, boost in baseline consumption, and cost per
incremental case. A good idea is to analyze mutiple scenarios
such as different price points, seasonality, and display support.
Creativity Counts
Many of the best trade promotion success stories involve
field activated promotions. This allows a brand to break
through the clutter of too many “me too” events. The sales team
maintains ownership and enthusiasm to drive support. Another
positive strategy is aligning with a retailer’s favorite charity
to contribute to the community while building your brand.
Manufacturers must avoid the dull routine of repetitive
15% trade promotions. Boring!
Key Issue – Distributor Underspends
Distributors are businesses, aimed at achieving a fair profit, just
like your company. A risk occurs whenever distributors claim
responsibility for managing the trade discount plan for their
country. At times, these trade discounts can be under spent
versus category and brand requirements. For example: when a
distributor says that he will fund four promotions per year, does
that mean at a 10% level or 30% level? Will the distributor funded
promotions be for all channels and retailers or just a few
customers? How do you know?
Compliance and Audit
Most distributor contracts include provisions for audit of trade
promotion payments. Larger suppliers include trade promotion
payment software. Good practices are complex and require piles
of paperwork. A core message is that the “distributor respects
what the manufacturer inspects.”
Export Trade Promotion Funding
The Right Way New Country Launch
Retail buyers and distributors are receptive to brand launches from multinationals. Why?
Multinationals succeed, as they introduce new products “The Right Way.” Export Solutions recaps
30 components of launching “The Right Way.” Exporters create magic with limited budgets!
Winners check as many boxes as possible on “The Right Way” scorecard.
Product Retailer
o Meaningful innovation – not “me too” o Boost category sales, margin, and profit
o Consumer market research insights o Syndicated data (Nielsen) – category facts
o Technical confirmation of product differentiation o Invest in retailer “push” programs
o Reasonable retail price – premium (not sky high) o 4-6 high value promotional events per year
o Test market results – similar country or retailer o Retailer VP, distributor CEO at intro call
Marketing Excitement
o 360 marketing plan: TV, in-store, social, PR o Launch party – memorable location
o Sampling o PR, social media, trade press
o Social media o Celebrity endorsement
o Displays: end of aisle and shelf blocks o Distributor sales contest
o Special offers – retailer fliers o Donation to local charity
Team Scorecard
o Distributor – best in class, category expert o Year 1: invest; year 2: break even; year 3: profit
o Local manager – launch oversight o Sales volume (retail sell-out)
o Marketing, social media, PR agencies o Market share
o Brand/technical resource from headquarters o Retail availability (weighted distribution)
o Total distributor engagement: reps. to CEO o Year 2 commitment and enthusiasm
How big will your international business be
in 2025? A successful global strategy reflects
a realistic mix of aspiration and investment.
The road to 2025 contains speed bumps, with a
probablity of recessions, currency fluctuations,
and a precipitous decline in sales through
conventional supermarkets. The good news
remains that more of the world’s 8 billion
consumers will live better and eat healthier.
This will stimulate demand for the added
value food, beverage and personal care brands
we produce. One fact remains indisputable:
international development will dominate as the
primary growth engine for allmid- to large-sized
consumer focused companies.
E-Commerce Disruption
How large will e-commerce become? Can you
envision a world where e-commerce accounts
for twenty percent of sales and that Amazon
appears as your top customer? How will you
restructure your business to optimize sales through online
retailers? A logical first step is to select an e-commerce
channel champion and treat Amazon as a major global key
account like Walmart or Carrefour. Another initiative involves
rethinking your packaging strategy to supply selling units
that are “post friendly” and can be mailed cost effectively.
Companies will hire armies of data analysts to research online
purchasing habits and apply the insights to products sold
through brick & mortar. No physical space limitations appear
in cyberspace, encouraging brands to expand their product
portfolio and test options without the physical handcuffs
of shelf space and listing fees. Hire young people to lead
the cultural shift from marketing through supermarket
showrooms to menu based marketing choices from Amazon.
China Syndrome
The food industry spent the last ten years chasing futile
BRIC dreams in China and India. The expensive conclusion
indicates that it is difficult to convince Asian consumers to
change their meal habits to incorporate western staples like
breakfast cereal and pasta. The reality reveals that Asians
achieved better success at exporting their Chinese, Thai,
Japanese, Indian, and Korean food to us than we have in
converting them. Credit confectionery and snack, personal
care, and Starbucks as rare examples of western categories
achieving success. Asia will account for sixty percent of the
world’s mouths in 2025, including 2.8 billion people in China
and India. The Asian solution is to adapt our product recipes
to meet Asian taste profiles or to acquire Asian companies as
a platform to build critical mass.
Established, Developing, Pioneer
A critical decision revolves around resource allocation
between three market clusters.
Established markets represent the historical base business,
accounting for the bulk of sales and “paying the light bills.”
In these countries growth rates exceeding five percent are
challenging without buying market share in flat categories.
Developing countries are attractive green sprouts where you
have planted seeds of presence and are beginning to gain
traction. These countries may offer the largest potential
source of new revenue. However, brand owners must
acknowledge the initial progress and transition your route
to market model and thinking from “niche exports” to mass
market player to optimize results.
Pioneer countries emerge as large markets like the USA
(for Europeans), China, or Brasil where your company claims
sales, but fails to register meaningful market share. Success
in pioneer countries requires significant investment to build
your brand “The Right Way” (see page 6 chart).
Boots on the Ground
How many members of your export team are based outside
your home country? In the 2000’s, exporters managed from
headquarters, with roving missionaries swooping in for a
distributor meet and greet, store check, collect your frequent
flier miles, and off to the next stop. In the 2010’s, producers
established regional hubs in comfortable expat locations such
as Dubai, Singapore, and Miami for Latin America. Today,
success in important countries like Mexico, Saudi Arabia,
and Indonesia will be directly proportional to the size of
your market based team. Best in class distributor’s energy
is focused against brands with local management oversight,
leaving little bandwith for companies that show up once
a year.
Digital Distributor
Winning distributors will invest to create deep capabilities
serving e-commerce customers and facilitate the transition
to digital marketing. Owners will need to source new logistics
solutions for e-commerce and redefine the brand manager
role to pursue excellence in deploying social media strategies.
If they cannot adapt, old school distributors may retain
responsibility for the shrinking supermarket channel, while
a new modern breed of distributors handles the high growth,
e-commerce business.
Plan to Thrive in 2025
continued on next page
ESG Strategy
New consumers will support brands with a well articulated
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy.
Walmart recently shared a ninety four page update on their
scorecard progress. Unilever reported that their purpose led,
sustainable living brands were growing 69% faster than the
rest of the business and delivering 75% of company growth.
“Better for you, better for the environment” brands will enjoy
bright prospects for international expansion. New data
transparency tools will allow consumers to compare labels
and ingredients instantly online or in-store.
Private Label vs. Personal Label
European and Northern American retailers boosted profit
margins while sacrificing sales per unit through aggressive
private label expansion strategies. For many reasons, private
label development remains low in new markets of Asia,
Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The explosion of
e-commerce presents further challenges to private label,
as consumers will appreciate a broader selection of
competitively priced brands to choose from. A new initiative
could be the development of “Personal Label” products
where a consumer may enjoy more options in adapting
a product to meet their individual specifications.
Road Ahead
What changes will you make to your 2025 road map? Smart
exporters source clues from global trends and apply to their
planning model. Looking for strategies to thrive in 2025?
Export Solutions can help!
Plan to Thrive in 2025
5 Critical Questions to Thrive in 2025
1. Are we willing to pursue international acquisitions?
2. Would your company consider overseas contract
packing (versus export)?
3. Can we test a high spend investment plan
(“The Right Way”) in a strategic country?
4. Would your company invest aggressively
in offshore head count in advance of sales?
5. Europeans: can we develop the USA market
implementing the USA playbook? USA factory,
broker network, competitive pricing, USA team,
channel strategy, 30-50% trade promotions?
continued from previous page
Talk to an Expert
International Strategy Road Map
Fix Problem Markets
Entry Plans
Find Distributors in 96 Countries
Export Workshops
Motivational Meeting Speaker
Contact Greg Seminara at (001)-404-255-8387
to discuss your business development project.
If you launched a premium new brand,
would your first customer be Walmart
or a chain of upscale supermarkets?
Export managers frequently target the
largest overseas retailers, forgetting the
high cost and activation requirements
to develop a meaningful level of repeat
sales. A viable route to market exists in
every country for those with a rational
alignment of ambition and investment.
A key to success is an approach based
upon channel specific, retailer profiling.
Retailer Profiling
Every country contains similar channel
dynamics: value supermarkets, mass
grocers, upscale supermarkets,
e-commerce, hypermarkets, discounters,
convenience, gourmet, ethnic, natural
foods, drug stores, and specialty
retailers. Foodservice is dominated
by wholesale distributors and cash and
carry outlets. Bigger countries feature
well evolved channels with clear lines.
In smaller countries, channel blurring
exists, with conventional retailers
striving to serve as a “one stop”
shopping destinations.
A worthwhile exercise is to conduct an
analysis to segment your overseas sales
by channel and supermarket type. This
learning could supply a best practice
road map when entering new countries
or implementing a business
improvement initiative.
Prime prospects normally lead us to
upscale supermarkets, ethnic stores,
e-commerce, and gourmet outlets. These
channels tend to cater to consumers that
are more adventurous and affluent.
Their shoppers are less price sensitive
and search for brands not stocked by
mass supermarkets. Frequently, buyers
at these retailers study category
dynamics and seek to be first in the
country to support an innovation from
overseas. Listing fees continue to soar
and spread across emerging markets.
Many “on-ramp” retailers appear more
concerned with product attributes than
up front payments.
Upscale Supermarkets
High end stores serve as showrooms
for international brands. Other local
retailers look to them for inspiration and
execution. These special supermarkets
create a pleasant shopping environment
with well established programs for
product tastings and consumer
education. Your first stop in any country.
In the past, homesick expatriates would
lug big suitcases from home or scan
their adopted city for treats from home.
Now, it’s possible to log in to Amazon or
other e-commerce players and find your
favorite brands from home in a few
clicks. For example, I just searched
Amazon UK’s grocery store for USA
food and discovered more than 1,000
results from Jif peanut butter to Jiffy
corn muffin mix to the beloved Jelly
Belly. Other online specialists like
americanfood4U.de exist in Germany.
Ethnic Stores
These are stores dedicated to products
from overseas. In the USA you can find
stores dedicated to Italian, Mexican,
Asian, British, and German food
products. In Europe, there are fantastic
stores like Taste of America in Spain,
featuring all your favorites from back
home. These retailers are all about
“availability” and are anxious to partner
with leading brands from the home
country or successful innovations.
Discounters, small shops, and value
oriented supermarket chains tend to be
tough channels to penetrate in the initial
stages of your export development. Most
brands plan to sell to all retailers. This is
a logical ambition in your home country
where your brand owns critical mass. In
new countries, expanding too fast creates
risks. Where does your target consumer
shop? Support these retailers with
marketing investments. Your brand will
“die” on the shelf without high impact
promotional activity.
From High Class to Mass
The head of India’s distributor association
described export development as the
journey from “high class to mass.” Look
for clues in the requirements to gain shelf
access at target retailers in your home
country. Remember that you are the
premium newcomer from overseas, not
the local incumbent. “Crawl, walk, run.”
Channel Your Exports
Need more information? Visit www.exportsolutions.com.
New Country: Retailer Segmentation & Prioritization
Priority* Channel USA Example New Country
Phase 1
Harris Teeter
Phase 1 Ethnic 99 Ranch Market
Phase 1 E-Commerce Amazon
Phase 1 Gourmet Whole Foods
Phase 1 Specialty World Market
Phase 1 Natural Food* Natural Grocers
Phase 2
Phase 2 Hypermarket Meijer
Phase 3
Food Lion
Phase 3 Convenience* 7-Eleven
Phase 3 Foodservice Sysco
Phase 3 Discount Aldi
*May vary by supplier
Export Strategy Road Map
Export strategy is frequently mistaken
as a race to plant flags in as many
countries as possible. Top management
spends too much time reading economic
reports pushing the export department in
the uncertain direction of BRIC countries
while ignoring opportunities on their
doorstep. Exhibitors at Anuga or ISM act
as traders at a Turkish Bazaar negotiating
over terms and conditions without focus
on requirements for “brand building.”
The reality is that export development
is about creating a sustainable, long
term strategy that can deliver
consistent results.
Map to Future
A good strategic plan should be visionary,
conceptual, directional, and compatible
with the company’s overall business
goals for a 3-5 year period. This contrasts
with your annual business plan which
represents a short term operational plan
focused on measurable tactics. A viable
long term strategy identifies megatrends,
addresses important challenges, and
creates new sources of advantage.
Strategy requires making business
choices, including tough decisions
on which countries to enter, the right
brands to support, and where to allocate
company resources.
Lessons Learned
The first step is to conduct a “Lessons
Learned” analysis. This fact based study
should detail current metrics by country.
Evaluate sales per capita, market share,
profit margin, and three year sales history.
Results should be segmented by country
size and distance from your producing
facility as well as “route to market”
model. Export Solutions recommends
a second stage “20/20” analysis where
you look at all market metrics and you
separate the “Top 20%” performers
versus the “Bottom 20%” performers.
What are common characteristics in
the countries where you are winning?
Are there similarities in markets where
your company is “under- performing?”
A solid Lessons Learned analysis guides
our strategic choices for your new
export strategy.
Core Competencies
What does your company do well? Which
product categories, services, or regions do
you outperform your competitors and
drive category value? What factors
distinguish your company from other
category performers? Your strategy
should sync with segments where you
maintain a sustainable advantage.
Export strategies can be doomed from
the start when lofty business ambitions
are not matched by realistic investment
levels to meet desired objectives.
Investment comes in many forms:
research, marketing, trade promotion
and most importantly, human resources
dedicated to a project.
Strategy – OGSM
One approach that encompasses both
the strategic and operational aspects of
the business is “OGSM.” OGSM stands
for the process of developing a document
outlining “Objectives, Goals, Strategies,
& Measures.” This “plan on a page”
provides a clear and concise guide to
your expectations. OGSM serves as a vital
link between long term strategy and short
term business demands.
Successful international development
strategies reflect a focus on a narrow
band of countries and activities. Industry
leaders such as P & G, Nestlé, Kraft Heinz
and Barilla typically dedicate substantial
resources to the ten countries that account
for 60% of their business. This approach
must cultivate a mix of established
markets with “new frontier” markets
which offer exceptional potential. This
does not advocate ignoring smaller
markets and opportunities. It signals
a message that not all markets should
be treated alike with similar programs
and resource allocation. I remember a
client whose Latin America business
had been stagnant. My analysis revealed
that his area manager devoted his time
to customers in Central America and
Caribbean with minimum energy
dedicated to Mexico, a market with
130 million people, but tough to
penetrate. The new strategy committed
to exponential growth in Mexico, with
the manager spending 50% of his time
in Mexico. End result was Mexico
business doubling!
Export Solutions Can Help!
Export Solutions has participated in more
than 400 international development
projects on five continents. We frequently
provide guidance for export strategy
development as well as validating
proposed plans. Our export strategy
templates can be rapidly adapted to fit
brands for any supermarket category.
Customer feedback suggests that Export
Solutions strategy insights can save you
time, money, and “wasted” effort.
Export Strategy Road Map Template
What are your business ambitions for the time period?
What factors have contributed to export success?
What situations have led to export disappointments?
What countries represent your top 20% performers? Why?
What countries represent your bottom 20% performers? Why?
What is your competitive advantage?
Why is your brand unique versus international competitors?
What are the biggest export opportunities for your company?
What represent high percentage, profitable opportunities?
What is your investment model? Marketing, Promotion, People.
What alternatives are available?
One page plan defining Objectives, Goals, Strategy, Measures
What activities are required to achieve desired results?
What are realistic measures and benchmarks?
Countries Brands Partners
Strategic Priority Opportunistic
Lessons Learned
20/20 Analysis
Core Competencies
Big Opportunities
Low Hanging Fruit
Strategic Options
Strategic Plan
Strategy questions? Contact Greg Seminara at Export Solutions (001)-404-255-8387
Distributor 2022: New Skills for New Times
Priority Comments
Treat as major channel, not niche.
Social Media
Hire digital marketing team, link with local influencers.
CEO Engagement
Regular Zoom calls with overseas brand owners.
Promote young, energetic spirit. Embrace change and new channels.
Category Specialization
Laser focus on core categories vs. products in every aisle of the store.
Use Zoom tools for regular training events with brand owners.
Hire under 30's for social media and e-commerce sales roles.
IT Investment
Upgrade platform: E-commerce, retail reporting, sell out data.
Cost to Serve
Measure profitability by brand and customer.
Realign based upon 2022 reality.
Market Your Distributor Brand
Promote your distributor brand to leading
companies in your core categories. Export Solutions can help!
Aggressive investment in this A+ tool. Explore new sampling vehicles.
Invest in a “Best in Class” web site. Create modern company profile.
Incorporate e-commerce metrics: Page 1 results, consumer feedback, etc.
Brand Managers
Reward creativity and marketing excellence, not paperwork completed.
Promote meal solutions, not just brands.
Be positive. Think, “why not?”
Results Exceed expectations everyday.
Export Manager 2022: New Skills for New Times
Priority Comments
Treat as major channel, not niche.
Social Media
Create content library for distributors to “plug and play.”
Management Engagement
Zoom with distributor leadership team: CEO, CFO, VP Sales, etc.
Promote young, energetic spirit. Embrace change and new channels.
Category Specialization
Share category trends. Deliver product innovation, not “me too.”
Use Zoom tools for regular distributor training events.
Make your corporate functional experts available to your distributor team.
IT Investment
Upgrade platform: Brand portal, syndicated data, shipment status.
Cost to Serve
Measure contribution to distributor profit.
Look at pricing and margin vs. agreement.
Marketing Your Brand
Invest to adapt your global marketing plan to local conditions.
Aggressive investment in this A+ tool. Explore new sampling vehicles.
Invest in a “Best in Class” web site. Robust export resource page.
Monitor pricing/assortment at retailer web shops.
Incorporate e-commerce metrics in your distributor scorecard.
Brand Managers
Demand young digitally savvy brand managers.
Promote meal solutions, not just brands. Look for co-promotion partners.
Be positive. Think, “why not?”
Results Exceed expectations everyday.
Consider a revision to your country prioritization map as
your 2022 New Year’s resolution. All industry players identify
international expansion as a primary growth engine. However,
most companies remain anchored to the past, with resources
devoted to managing “old businesses in mature countries.”
Real progress can be achieved through research and
investment to multiply your sprouting sales in flourishing
regions of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. This
requires a tricky balancing act of maintaining your existing
business base while shifting focus to far flung markets.
Move From Your Backyard
Most USA companies count on neighboring Canada, the
Caribbean, and Central America for the bulk of their export
sales. This is natural, given the proximity to producing plants
and familiarity with “Made in the USA” products. Similarly,
experienced European exporters have cultivated strong
businesses in adjacent European countries. “Border”
businesses are a logical first export step. Nearby countries
tend to be easier to manage and may share comparable eating
and lifestyle habits. In many cases, these businesses were
optimized many years ago. Committed companies must place
serious new stakes in the ground in distant markets outside
your comfort zone if you desire to obtain more than your fair
share of future industry expansion.
Export vs. Strategic Brand Building?
I frequently raise the question of “What does it take to build a
brand in your home country?” during my export speeches and
workshops. The consistent responses focus on the fundamentals
of research, adaption to local tastes, in-country production, well
connected sales team, and investments in consumer marketing
and trade activities. This approach is often at conflict with
export reality. Export tactics involve shipping a standard
package from your home plant with a modest investment and
hoping for brand acceptance in a foreign country. Winners have
the ability to bridge the gap between strategic brand building
and opportunistic exports.
Regional Hub Model
Successful companies understand that you need to get close
to the consumer and your customers. Advanced suppliers
have already established regional sales offices in places like
Singapore, Panama, or Dubai. One model is to extend this
concept to create regional manufacturing centers. This can be
achieved through a new factory, contract packer, or acquisition
of a local category competitor. These regional hubs can export
to adjacent countries. General Mills and Heinz are two of the
most successful multinationals in Brazil. Both acquired local
food companies and leveraged this platform to sell their
international product portfolio. Recently, Pringles opened
a new plant in Malaysia.
New Flavors, Small Packs
Eating habits and practices are different in emerging markets.
Portion sizes are smaller and a meal may feature many dishes.
How well does your product pair with rice (or beans)? Candy
and Snack products are the exception, with a universal
acceptance for most “sweet segments.” In every country, upscale
shoppers exist, hungry for foreign brands at any price. While
this is your initial target market, you ultimately need to reach
the masses with products in sync with their cuisine. Affluent
western shoppers fill shopping carts with large sizes to store
in kitchen pantries. Emerging market consumers shop daily,
allocating limited funds to purchase essential food items.
International marketers need to consider small sizes with
affordable price points to be relevant in low GDP countries
like the VIP’s (Vietnam, Indonesia, & Philippines).
Commit to One Country
Too many export programs aim to plant small flags everywhere.
This does not impress anyone if you’ve created a handful of
minor businesses, particularly in large, high potential countries.
Better idea is to identify one country with superior growth
prospects. Study the market and commit financial and “human
capital” to the country. Encourage senior management and
functional team leadership visibility to the project. Set 3, 5, and
10 year objectives, as these investments will not pay out in the
short term. I recently helped one of my forward thinking clients
study 17 potential expansion countries. “Crawl, Walk, Run.”
2022 Hot Markets
Many global citizens continue to live better and eat better. This
expanding middle class creates new potential consumers for our
brands. Asia contains 4.5 billion people, more than 61% of the
world’s mouths. China and the VIPs represent the best potential,
with India a target for those further along the development
curve. Latin America population now exceeds 600 million with
GDP larger than the UK, Japan, and India combined. Brazil,
Mexico, and Colombia are strategic countries where all brands
should be performing at much higher levels. The Middle East
reflects a dynamic marketplace, particularly in the oil rich
nations of Saudia Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait. Population
A New Export Road Map
continued on next page
New Export Road Map
Current Top
Export Markets
New Export Focus Hot Countries
USA Brands
Central America
Latin America
China, SE Asia
Middle East
Mexico, Colombia
China plus VIPs
Saudi Arabia UAE
European Brands
North Africa
USA China, SE Asia
Middle East
USA, Mexico
China plus VIPs
Saudia Arabia, UAE
A New Export Road Map
totals more than 300 million and is growing exponentially
through birth rates and expatriate workers. These markets offer
attractive long term return on investment versus trying to mine
new sales from declining countries.
USA – Bigger than BRIC’s
The USA features a population of 333 million relatively affluent
consumers. USA citizens are open to cuisines from around the
world. A typical American diet would include Italian, Asian,
and Mexican food. Most international companies sell in the USA,
but per capita sales levels are small relative to potential. The
issue relates to the practice of treating the USA as another
“export market.” Success requires a USA based manager and a
hybrid organization including channel specific “Food Brokers.”
Consider construction of a small factory or a contract packer.
Be prepared to invest in consumer and trade programs, just
as you would in your home market.
Export Solutions Can Help
Our distributor identification services completed more than
300 distributor search projects on five continents. This year,
we’ve helped brands find distributors in tough to access
countries like Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Export Solutions has the unique ability to leverage the power of
our distributor database with prospective distributor candidates.
Our leading distributor database covers 96 countries and more
than 9,200 distributors and importers of supermarket products.
This includes more than 2,713 confectionery and snack
distributors. Our database has been recognized for excellent
coverage of emerging markets such as India, Brazil, and Mexico.
Contact us to learn more about how Export Solutions can
leverage our distributor contacts for your benefit in 2022.
continued from previous page
Greg’s Guidance: Export Strategy 2025
3 What are your Lessons Learned?
3 What are your Core Competencies?
3 Which countries offer exceptional growth for your category?
3 How much is your company willing to invest? Marketing, People, Promotion
3 What will our organization need to do differently?
3 What are realistic measures and benchmarks?
2025 is five short years away. The world will add another
billion citizens, with over 80% of them born in Asia and Africa.
Consumer marketers will likely focus on the “next billion”
consumers, a group of one billion middle class citizens living
in developing nations. Everywhere people will eat healthier
and live better with more access to the brands we produce.
Technology will revolutionize our business, with tools that are
waiting to be invented tomorrow. It is easy to foresee a future
which includes more online purchases, home delivery, product
info sharing, and brand personalization. As the countdown to
2025 begins, now is a good time to evaluate our strategies and
brainstorm about the road ahead.
Asia Pivot
Asia will contain almost 2/3 of the world’s population and
“mouths.” Global GDP will shift, with Asia’s share surging
towards 40%, equivalent to the USA and Western Europe
combined. A key industry challenge will be the number of
marketers willing to invest to build new eating habits with Asian
consumers. Currently, there are success stories with Coca Cola
and Starbucks leading the way in the beverage category. There
is also strong acceptance of European and USA confectionery
and snack products. Other categories are undeveloped, with
companies choosing a path of opportunistic exports versus
required investments in market research, adapted products,
and local factories. Asia will evolve from just another export
region to the key to future growth and profits.
India & China: Dynamic Duo?
Tough to underestimate the 2025 importance of two countries
that may total almost 3 billion people. It’s doubtful that India
will leapfrog China as an economic power. However, their
population gap will narrow significantly, with the stage set
for India to emerge as the world’s most populous country by
2035. China will be viewed as an established market, with more
national brands, retailers, and commercial structure. India is
the world’s great enigma. Will it finally break free from its
protectionist handcuffs and emerge as the ultimate growth
market? Or remain glued to its current path of country
development in their own independent manner? A broader
question could relate to a China-India alliance that could shift
dominance of global economic policy from the West to the East.
Meet the VIP’s
Vietnam, Indonesia, and Philippines represent high growth
countries with population exceeding half a billion people by
2025. This decade will likely see these southeast Asian “tigers”
graduate from emerging market status to more significant
sources of growth. Malaysia also fits in this cluster, with a
projected population increase to 42 million. I like Myanmar
as a new market. 54 million people, low cost of entry, and
very early in the development cycle.
Middle East: All About the Oil
2025 population will exceed 500 million in the region, with
population growth maintaining its positive upward trajectory.
Egypt’s population will approach 110 million and Iran’s may
surpass 90 million. Stability in Iraq would result in an important
new market with a population increase from 35 million today
to 46 million. As always, countries with oil like Saudi Arabia
and GCC nations will surpass countries without the mineral
resources. A big question is the evolution of alternate supplies
and sources of energy. Current oil pricing levels are creating
short term problems. Longer term, higher prices are required
to sustain development.
What About Africa?
Will Africa’s fragmented market of one billion citizens be “too big
to ignore?” Will the next 10 years represent the era when global
marketers finally aim their budgets at the last frontier? Partially.
I think that multinationals and forward thinking Chinese and
Brazilian companies have identified Africa as a high priority
region. Companies with long term horizons will find rewards
in Africa. My guess is that some exporters will discover Africa
by 2025, but businesses will remain in their infancy by 2025.
USA: Discover the Americas
The world’s number 2 economy will be a vibrant force in 2025,
with population growth of 20 million to 350 million people. The
USA’s Latino population will exceed 70 million people, 20% of
the population. Mexico and Brazil will remain giants, validating
the need to commit to serious plans for these countries. Other
Latin American countries such as Colombia, Chile, Peru,
Ecuador, and Central America are all expected to enjoy positive
momentum. These markets are especially attractive for Made
in the USA and brands from Spain.
Europe = Flat
Experts predict that European population will be flat, with
ambitious targets stretching to 1% growth over the ten year
period. Importantly, existing population is aging, with marketers
forced to grapple with consequences of dealing with a consumer
base at retirement age. European brands are viewed as high
quality and desirable by increasingly affluent consumers in
developing markets. Successful European companies will be
those that can shift balance of their business dependency from
the declining “continent” to new Asian markets.
The World in 2025
continued on next page
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Congo, and Iran
These countries are not for novice
exporters. For most companies, allocation
of resources to accomplish more in China,
USA, Mexico, and Brazil is a better
decision than rushing to plant small
flags in these risky countries. On the other
hand, multinationals with deep pockets
and long term horizons should consider
these markets. Send a company
missionary, hire a local team, expect
the worst and appear pleasantly
surprised when it works out.
21st Century Distributors
Outsourcing will continue as a preferred
route to market option for international
manufacturers. At the end of the day,
companies want to own the brand equity
and are content to outsource distribution
and in some cases production. This
allows them to focus on investments
in brand building versus infrastructure,
particularly in new markets. Successful
distributors will emerge as category/
sector experts versus generalists involved
in many aisles. Distributors must expand
their added value services, leveraging
their unique ability to serve as custodians
of your brand from port of entry to
supermarket shelf. Challenge your
distributors to refine their models to
accommodate exponential growth in the
online retail channel. Today’s distributor
model may be extinct. However, the 2025
distributor service organization can thrive
as an outsourcing solution.
2025 Strategy – Export Solutions
In 2021, I completed projects in 25 countries
across five continents. This provides a
unique, “close to supermarket shelf”
perspective on international development.
In addition, each year, we choose to work
with 1-2 strong European companies on
taking their USA business to the next level.
Looking to create your 2025 international
development strategy? Export Solutions can
help! Contact Greg Seminara in Atlanta,
Georgia. gseminara@exportsolutions.com.
continued from previous page
The World in 2025
10 Growing Countries
Country 2022 Population 2025 Population Increase
Brazil 215 230 +15
China 1,448 1,468 +20
Ethiopia 115 125 +10
India 1,402 1,450 +48
Indonesia 278 292 +14
Mexico 135 145 +10
Nigeria 214 230 +24
Pakistan 227 240 +13
Philippines 112 120 +8
USA 333 344 +11
5 Countries: Flat/Declining Population
Country 2022 Population 2025 Population Decrease
Germany 84 84 0
Italy 60 60 0
Japan 125 123 -2
Russia 146 144 -2
Ukraine 44 41 -3
3 7 Billion people live outside Europe and North America! Everyone eats!
3 Follow Global Retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco, Metro
3 USA Opportunity is “Bigger than BRIC” for most international brands
3 How do you win in your home market? Apply the same principles to large foreign markets:
Research, international factories, local teams, plus investment in Marketing and Trade support
3 Best way to predict distributor success is to evaluate in store visibility for his current brands
3 Big difference between having “any distributor” and a “Best in Class” partner
Greg's Guidance: New World New Business
How do you forecast for 2022? Most
companies approach cautiously, anxious
to accelerate international expansion, but
hesitant to over commit until it’s safe.
Fortunately, it’s a good time to be in the
food and consumer goods industry. Our
retail customers captured sales lifts averaging
+10% versus 2020. As the vaccination line
creeps forward, we all face the core question
of where to play and how to win in 2022.
Green = Gold
Retailers looking to refresh their assortment
seek brands that demonstrate credible
environmental benefits. Aligning with your
customers’ ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) platform
is good for the planet and positive for your business prospects. A
key initiative is to translate your companys strong commitment to
ESG in your home country to your global partners.
Digital Marketer: #1 Hire
Social media is an effective and efficient way to market to
overseas consumers. Influencers, Facebook marketing, and
YouTube videos are now standard tactics. Exporters’ top hires
should boost your international digital marketing team.
Distributors need help with proven strategies and content to
execute locally. Distributors must also join the digital party,
hiring young people to lead their efforts.
No Copy/Paste: Trade Promotion
Exporters repeat the same boring “price off” trade promotions
year after year. The world has changed, with supermarket chains
looking for creative special offers tailored to their customers, not
the general market. Try something new!
USA: Bigger than BRICs
Most international brands claim sales to USA, but market share
is always tiny compared to potential. USA is wide open to world
food. Our retailer database tracks 370 USA customers, all looking
for unique new food items. The path forward requires that
brands play by USA rules with brokers, slotting fees, and
promotion discounts, supported by a country manager. Don’t
forget Canada – an attractive country with 38 million people.
Middle East is Hot
The price of oil surged in the last twelve months and could
move higher with a post pandemic recovery – good news for
oil rich nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, and Qatar.
These countries were proactive and obtained vaccines early.
Saudi Arabia is always the big prize with a population of 35
million, bigger than the other GCC countries combined. Regional
tourism outlook is favorable with Expo Dubai and World Cup in
Qatar in 2022.
Meet the VIPs
Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines contain 500 million
people. Vietnam is a top performer, as companies shift
production from China to a lower-cost production location
and avoid the China-USA trade war. The Philippines maintains
strong ties to the USA. Japan appears attractive for exporters
due to the emergence of a gourmet channel featuring 10 chains
with more than 1,000 outlets featuring wide selections of
international brands.
Tackle a Tough Country
The time has come for some ambitious companies to tackle either
Mexico or Poland. Both countries offer exceptional potential for
those willing to invest in developing a brand the “Right Way.”
This includes consumer research, significant marketing, and
local oversight.
Big Wins: Small Markets
Consider Qatar, Ireland, Panama, and Israel. Small countries
import a higher percentage of their food and most use
distributors. This creates a level playing field for retail pricing
competitiveness. Export Solutions’ database tracks an average
of 84 distributors per country.
continued on next page
Hot Countries
1. USA
2. Saudi Arabia
3. China
4. Poland
5. Mexico
6. Japan
7. Vietnam
8. South Korea
9. Philippines
10. Qatar
Where to Play, How to Win 2022
E-commerce: 20% of sales?
E-commerce has emerged from niche to mainstream status.
Winning organizations have redesigned their route to market
strategies to incorporate e-commerce and digital marketing for
each element of the business. E-commerce is more than Amazon.
Strategies should incorporate unique requirements to service
“supermarket click and collect,” TMall, Ocado style, and other
platforms. For exporters, it is worthwhile to consider an
e-commerce “first” launch, particularly in Asia.
Export Solutions Can Help
Our distributor database covers 96 countries and more than
9,200 distributors and 2,700 retailers. The current environment
provides a unique window where its easier to contact distributors
regarding new business opportunities. Export Solutions has
launched several new programs which allows us to supply
distributor search services via Zoom/Teams meetings.
Where to Play, How to Win 2022
continued from previous page
2022 Winning Stategies
Geographic Accelerate USA Development for Overseas Brands
Saudi Arabia
Mexico or Poland
Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines (VIPs)
Sales Execution E-Commerce KPIs
Listing Maps – Every Country
In-store Visibility Guidelines. What is a Good Store (vs Bad Store)?
Team Upgrade Underperforming Distributors
Hire Digital Marketing Manager
USA Country Manager (Overseas Brands)
Looking for Good Distributors?
Export Solutions’ database covers
9,200 distributors in 96 countries.
Asia’s population exceeds 4.6 billion people,
59% of the global total. “Mouths plus money
equals opportunity.” During the last ten years,
export departments participated in the China
Gold Rush with disappointing results. The
majority of branded food companies sell more
to adjacent markets like Puerto Rico, Ireland,
and Malta than they do to China or India.
The China Syndrome reveals that Asian food
companies have achieved more success
marketing their food to Europe and the USA
than western companies have gained in Asia.
Meal Traditions
Asians enjoy different meal traditions, with
little overlap with western practices such as
cereal at breakfast. Confectionery and snack
products are the exception, as everyone loves
a sweet treat. Asia features multiple cuisines,
with clear differentiations between Chinese, Japanese, Thai,
Indian, Korean, and Filipino food. We learn to appreciate these
geographic specialties through restaurants sprinkled across most
USA and European cities. In Asia, the most common western
restaurants are fast food options like McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza
Hut. These chains do not inspire Asians about our premium
product ranges featured at every supermarket.
Too Big to Ignore
Asia’s population is young and too big to ignore! China and
India are the worlds two most populous countries, with around
1.4 billion citizens each. Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, and now Vietnam all boast populations surpassing
100 million. For most companies, it is time to admit that the current
approach to marketing to Asia has not created significant and
sustainable business relative to the enormous potential. Now is
the time to consider new strategies to tap into the most attractive
growth opportunity on the planet.
Asia Best Practices – Local Flavors
Brands like Oreo and Pringles succeed by adapting to meet
preferred taste profiles. Would you be open to trying Pringles
Crab, Seaweed or Raemen Noodle options? How about Oreo
flavors such as Wasabi, Red Bean Cake, or Lychee? Andros
extended their Bonne Maman category knowledge in preserves
to a new brand called GuoLeShi fruit purée. Market research
and consumer testing can reveal innovations more suitable for
appealing to Chinese consumers taste palates. Another source
of revenue may be introducing Asian variants of your product to
your home market. This creates product news and may position
your company as on trend to young consumers looking for more
adventurous food choices.
China e-commerce represents twenty percent of total retail sales
of consumer goods according to Fung Business Intelligence. This
figure surged sixteen percent in 2020 and is expected to further
accelerate in 2022 due to reaction to the corona virus outbreak.
South Korea and other countries are leaders in e-commerce
development. Brand owners may elect to execute an e-commerce
only strategy in Asia, skipping expensive listing fees and in-store
marketing requirements. Today, there are sales organizations and
marketing agencies dedicated to the e-commerce channel.
M & A Beachhead
“If you can’t beat them, buy them.” One strategy is to acquire
a local participant in your category. Leverage their existing
infrastructure, route to market, and production facility to launch
your own premium brand. An interesting alternative is to
purchase (or invest) in a manufacturer in Malaysia or Philippines
and use that as a launch pad into other Asian countries. Inter-
Asia trade in the food business is booming, significantly
outperforming European and USA exporters. Warning! We all
recognize the perils of acquiring companies in China and India.
Foodservice – Window to the World
Western brands normally focus market entry on modern trade
retail channels, especially supermarkets. Consideration should be
given to early marketing activation in the foodservice segment.
This creates awareness of your brand and food pairings in an
authentic environment. This plan may include promotions at
restaurants specializing in your cuisine or five star hotels that
feature special nights dedicated to world food.
Asia Success Recipes
continued on next page
Help Wanted – Your Team
CEOs speak of the importance of Asia, then assign one
manager from the head office to manage the entire region.
Winning requires advance investment in local teams, even
when working with distributors. Regional managers in expat
friendly spots like Singapore, are now supplemented by country
managers in more affordable locations like the Philippines
and Indonesia. China success is directly proportional to your
investment in multi-functional professionals based in Shanghai,
the primary commercial hub for our industry.
Costco Success Story
Costco appears as an important market factor in Japan, S. Korea,
and Taiwan. Costco maintains 26 clubs in Japan, 16 in Korea,
and 13 in Taiwan, representing some of the top performers
systemwide. Costco’s Shanghai store surpassed optimistic
expectations, with more than 240,000 paid members in the first
six months of operation. USA brands may consider a partnership
with Costco International as a new source of revenue. This
minimizes complexity, but may provide retailer pricing issues
later, if you decide to expand to other market customers.
Good Morning Vietnam
Vietnam’s population should exceed 100 million this year. GDP
is projected to continue to grow around seven percent. Many
industrials are shifting production to Vietnam due to lower labor
costs and to avoid tariffs associated with the USA-China trade
war. The Vietnam retail environment is evolving quickly. Start
now, before it’s too late!
Japan Gourmet Channel
A gourmet and specialty retailer channel has emerged in Japan
featuring more than 2,000 stores. These retailers specialize in
premium food brands, many from overseas. Their marketing
position is to offer high quality European and USA brands not
available at traditional supermarkets. These chains include Kaldi,
Seiju Ishi, and Meidi-Ya. Japan is receiving new attention in 2022
due to the popularity of this channel which serves as a gateway
to Japan’s population of 126 million affluent citizens.
Think Malaysia & Taiwan
Historically, exporters targeted wealthy expat bases such as Hong
Kong and Singapore. Today, these are considered small, mature
markets, with heart stopping cost of entry and brand building fees.
As an alternate, consider Malaysia with 32 million people and
Taiwan with 24 million.
India – Co-Pack?
India is difficult to penetrate for all exported brands. Regulations,
tariffs, and supply chains designed to protect 10 million small shop
owners all appear as significant barriers to entry. One solution is to
pursue an Indian co-pack operation or partner. This allows you to
localize input costs and offer more competitive price points. Your
manufacturing partnership must include direct technical oversight
to insure compliance with your company standards. India is not
easy, but following the traditional export model will not allow
you to capitalize on this enormous opportunity.
South Korea – Often Bigger than BRICs
2021 USA confectionery exports to South Korea ranked fourth
in the world, exceeding China and India combined. South Korea
is open for business, with strong retailers such as E Mart and
Lotte. Export Solutions tracks 134 distributors in our South
Korea database.
Export Solutions Can Help!
Export Solutions is active in Asia, with distributor search
projects across every major country in the region. Our
distributor database covers 1,948 distributors across 17 Asia
Pacific countries from Australia to Vietnam. Contact Greg
Seminara at gseminara@exportsolutions.com to discuss your
Asia development plans.
Asia Success Recipes
continued from previous page
Spotlight on the Caribbean
Would you be surprised to learn that
most USA companies sell more to
Puerto Rico than Brasil or China? Our
neighbors in the Caribbean serve as
important customers for USA brands.
These tourist destinations depend on
USA imports for essential food, beverage,
and personal care products. These
markets are easy to access with USA
packages universally accepted.
Country Segmentation: Core 4
The Caribbean consists of more than
700 islands across 28 nations. However,
80% of sales are concentrated in Puerto
Rico, Dominican Republic, Trinidad, and
Jamaica. Puerto Rico is the “big prize,”
accounting for around one percent of total
USA volume for most manufacturers.
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic
feature large supermarkets bursting
with a mix of America’s favorites and
local brands.
Foodservice: Small Packs
Tourism appears as an important
component of the economy for many
of our favorite islands. This causes
populations to surge during peak
vacation months. Your foodservice
business could be larger than your retail
business in popular holiday spots like the
Dominican Republic or Jamaica. Consider
small sizes to capture lower price points
and short-term renters who need only
one week’s supply.
Powerful Distributor Options
Some of the largest and most
sophisticated distributors in the world
are based in Puerto Rico. Distributors
serve as the top suppliers to the trade.
Few companies maintain subsidiaries
in these small countries. As a result,
distributors may represent companies
like P&G, Unilever, and Mondelez. These
distributors are trained by these global
leaders, adopting many of their operating
practices and philosophies.
Miami Consolidation Hub
A common practice is to ship to Miami
for regular freight service or distributor
pick up. Pricing is a key issue. Most
offer export pricing to avoid burdening
the value chain with USA overheads
that need to be replicated overseas.
Careful oversight must be exercised
to avoid diverting temptation. A simple
metric is to track sales per capita versus
mainland USA levels. Do not believe
stories about cruise ships, duty free, and
the infamous San Andres islands with
two supermarkets.
Winter = Peak Season
Caribbean sales surge during the winter
tourist season. This requires inventory
build up in September and October.
Normally, summer months are slower
and dedicated to planning.
Export Solutions Can Help
Export Solutions’ distributor database
covers nine top island markets and
around 300 distributors of supermarket-
type products. Export Solutions
completed six distributor search projects
in the Caribbean. Brands work with us to
quickly partner with leading distributors
and begin profitable shipments to these
“low hanging fruit” countries. Contact us
to learn more about how Export Solutions
can leverage our distributor contacts for
your benefit in 2022.
Cluster Islands Population Focus
Core 4
Puerto Rico, Dominican Rep.,
Trinidad, Jamaica
18 million 80%
3 B's
Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados 750,000 15%
Tiny Paradise
Aruba, Martinique, St.Lucia,
20 Total
1.8 million 5%
Cuba, Haiti 23 million ?
Create Your Own Export Library
Distributor Search Guide
Export Handbook
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19 Companies | 200+ Top Brands | $80 Billion Combined
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Export represents a dynamic growth
opportunity for most companies.
However, most companies make
mistakes, particularly in the early cycles
of their export development. Listed below
are some common mistakes:
1. No Category Research
Some companies assume that their
category development is consistent
everywhere. They fail to conduct basic
research on competitive dynamics and
pricing. This research can be as simple
as a day of store checks in your target
market. I remember having an argument
with a leading producer of branded
Indian Food about export opportunities
to Latin America. He refused to believe
that the market for Indian food was so
small, because he had not conducted
research or visited the market. Do
your homework!
2. Limited Investment
in Marketing & Trade Spending
Few brands are so innovative and exciting
that they will sell without investments in
consumer awareness activities and trade
incentives. Yet, many exporters believe
that they can offer a “net price” and
a distributor will create a significant
business, without support. There is
a cost of doing business in every
market. Ultimately, your results will
be directly proportional to your
marketing investment.
3. Another “Me-Too” Product
Innovation sweeps the world at a rapid
pace. Manufacturers fail when they do
not create a unique selling proposition
(USP) for their brand. Why is your
product different versus current options?
Is the differentiation meaningful? A
better price (value) or heavy marketing
investment can also differentiate your
brand. I recently visited Europe’s largest
food trade show. I saw a “lonely”
exhibitor from the USA with little interest
in his commodity food products. Why
would a European retailer or distributor
want to import a product that can be
sourced locally at a better price?
4. Pricing is Too High
On many export projects, the price to
the consumer can be twice the price from
your home market, by the time that you
add in logistics costs, duties, distributor
margins, and taxes. Yet, much of export
growth is sourced
from emerging
markets, where
spending power is
low. So, the result is
high priced product
being marketed to
people with limited
funds. In many cases,
the consumer will pay
a premium (10-30%)
for a quality, imported
product. However,
once your product
is priced 50% or
higher than the local
competition, you are just appealing the
top 10% of the population in most cases.
5. Product not Labeled in the Local Language
English is a global language, but
obviously your brand will obtain a better
reception if it is labeled in the local
language. Many countries have laws
requiring labels or at least nutritional
information in the local language.
Another similar issue is that some brand
names do not translate on a global basis.
What does your brand name mean in the
local language? Does it sound similar to
something else which has no correlation
to your brand?
6. Insufficient Due Diligence during the
Distributor/Partner Selection Process
I am amazed at the number of
relationships based upon only a short
meeting at a trade show. I love trade
shows and believe they are a great
place to meet prospective distributors.
However, you must conduct due
diligence on your prospective partner
in their home country, before beginning
your relationship. This includes
interviewing the distributor as well as
other candidates at their local offices.
Visit the stores to see their performance
for their current brands. Conduct
reference checks and run financial checks
with Dun & Bradstreet or similar credit
check agencies.
7. Diverting – New Customer
Pick Up at your Plant
Export managers are flooded with
requests by distributors/buyers wishing
to purchase well known brands. Many
of these inquiries are legitimate, but a
significant percentage are from diverters.
I’ve written a separate article on this
subject, so I’ll only share a few comments
here. If your export price is less than your
standard price, display extreme caution
in dealing with new distributors/buyers.
Complete the required “Due Diligence”
referred to in point 6, including a visit to
the distributors warehouse. Do not allow
pick up at your plant or at a local port by
a new distributor, if your price is lower
than your standard price. Ship to the
distributor product labeled in his native
language and be cautious about promises
to sticker the product at the port.
8. No Focus on the Shelf
Too many exporter/distributor
discussions concentrate only on container
shipments and orders. A critical element
is the need to focus on activities to
generate consumption. Some export
projects fail, because the exporter does
not dig deep to track progress against
fundamentals of acceptance at major
retailers, assortment, pricing, shelving,
and merchandising at store level.
9. Exporter Fails to Visit the Market
The internet has facilitated global
communication. However, there
is no replacement for a periodic, face
to face, market visit to discuss issues
and measure progress. “Out of sight…
out of mind.”
10. Unrealistic Expectations
Exporters are optimistic by nature.
Launch plans project volumes based upon
category size and the famous statement
“If we secure only a 10% market share…”
You know the rest of the story. Reality is
that the 10% market share is possible, if
you focus on avoiding the mistakes
discussed in points 1-9 above. Good luck!
Ten Tips – Common Export Mistakes
Segmentation Factors
Segmentation analytics will vary by company. Absolute
population is just one factor warranting consideration. Other
criteria include size of the category, proximity to your producing
plant, as well as per capita spending power. For example, most
USA based exporters sell far more to Puerto Rico, an island with
3.1 million people, than they do to China or Brasil. As a result,
some USA brand owners place a strategic focus on the Caribbean
Basin countries adjacent to the USA and process only occasional
opportunistic shipments to complex countries such as China.
Mix of Countries
Most companies can dedicate focus on a strategic launch into
only one or two “strategic” countries at a time. It’s appropriate
to create a growth plan aimed at a mix of Strategic, Priority,
and Opportunistic countries.
Market Share Expectations
Your export road map should also be adjusted based upon your
market share expectations for a select market. Generally, there
are three scenarios for a brand to pursue.
Leader: Brand investment and innovation to become #1 in
the category.
Player: Brand plans to compete effectively, obtaining a market
share of 5% -20%.
Participant: Niche. Brand objective is incremental shipments
with little/no investment.
Lessons Learned
Calibrate expectations to investments in brand support and
management oversight. Everyone wants to be a category leader
or player. To achieve this lofty status, you need to conduct local
market research, innovate, maintain competitive pricing, invest
in marketing, and align with a strong sales team just as you do
in your home market. Projects fail as certain brands want
category leadership but invest only to “niche” levels.
Strategic segmentation of export opportunities is “Job One” for export managers. Export Solutions divides countries into three gr
Strategic, Priority, and Opportunistic. This approach filters countries by “size of the prize” and investments required to win. The basic
rationale is that a company should allocate different resources to develop a large country like Brasil, compared to a medium size
country like Belgium versus the Bahamas or Bermuda. Too frequently, we see companies handcuff all markets to one export program,
with common strategy, pricing, and investment models for all countries.
Country Segmentation One Size Does Not Fit All
Country Segmentation
Country Profile Investment Required Business Model Examples
Large Country
(pop. 50mm +)
High GDP
High Category BDI
Global Retailers
High Complexity
Significant Investment
in Brand support.
Market Research
Management Visibility
Local Office or
Distributor or
Joint Venture
United Kingdom
Mid size Country
(pop. 10 mm+)
High GDP
High Category BDI
Mid Complexity
Moderate investment in
brand support.
Managed by Export
S. Korea/Thailand
South Africa
Saudi Arabia
Low GDP Countries
Low Complexity
Minimal/no investment
in brand support
Distributor or
Direct to Retailer
Central America
Middle East
Are you selling more to China or Canada?
China and the BRICs represent a big
disappointment for most exporters. Ten
years ago, a gold rush started, with brand
owners dreaming of selling to just one
percent of China’s 1.4 billion population.
Veteran export managers long ago deleted
those optimistic presentations with
ambitious volume targets for China,
India, Russia, and Brasil. The stark
reality reveals that eating habits remain
dramatically different in China (and
India). BRIC countries like China are
complex and largely self sufficient,
feeding their own nations. This leaves
little shelf space for premium foreign
brands with different taste profiles
unless they are supported by massive
advertising budgets.
Fab 5
Exporters enjoy greater success targeting
mid-size countries more dependent on
imports for their food requirements.
Export Solutions recommends 2022 focus
and expansion in Canada, Malaysia,
Morocco, Peru, and Saudi Arabia. 2022
represents the year to adjust resource
allocation to our Fab 5 countries. These
five countries all maintain populations
between 30-40 million people and a
history of openness to international
products. Many companies claim sales
to Fab 5 countries. However, my
experience suggests that sales levels
usually lag significantly below potential.
Fab 5 appear as strong candidates to
contribute a good return on your
incremental investment and focus.
Canada – Melting Pot
Canada’s GDP ranks tenth in the world,
larger than Russia, Spain, or Australia.
Canada’s population surpassed
38 million, + 10% in the last ten
years. Canada’s growth is fueled by
immigration from Asia and Europe
(Italy). Asian and European brands
perform well, as Canadian newcomers
are often “first generation,” still homesick
for their favorite brands. Most exporters
know of leading retailers such as
Loblaws, Sobeys, and Metro. The “big 3”
supermarket chains operate multiple
formats competing across far flung
provinces of Canada, supplying many
places to get started with your bilingual
package. Export Solutions databases offer
excellent coverage of Canada, including
86 retail customers and 205 international
food distributors. Canada: worth a fresh
look in 2022!
Malaysia – Land of Gold
There may be riches to be discovered in
Malaysia’s supermarket shelves, although
gold is no longer mined in the country.
Malaysia is a bright spot in Southeast
Asia, with a population of 33 million and
GDP growth averaging 5% percent since
2012. Malaysia benefits from its proximity
to Singapore, its small but prosperous
neighbor. Malaysia’s retail segment is
dominated by multinationals such as
Tesco and Cold Storage (Dairy Farm).
A strong distributor community exists,
with 128 distributors of all sizes and
specializations, ready to serve as your
route to market partner.
Morocco – Magnet
Over 11 million tourists arrive each year
to the experience the magic of Morocco.
Morocco is a peaceful country, hugging
the northwest African coast, close to
Spain. Population exceeds 37 million
people, with stable GDP growth
averaging 4 percent. I visited last year,
and checked impressive hypermarkets
from Carrefour and Marjane, a chain
owned by the king. The Morocco
opportunity is amplified by the
foodservice channel, catering to the
tourists as well as a local population
familiar with nearby European brands.
Peru – Latam Star
Peru stands out as a star in Latin America
business development, approaching
Chilean status as an outpost of
dependability. This appears as a
refreshing alternative in a continent
dominated by the political and financial
turbulence of its bigger neighbors in
Brasil, Colombia, and Argentina. Peru
will host 4.5 million tourists this year,
lured by Machu Picchu. Lima has
emerged as a gastronomic capital, with
three of the world’s top fifty restaurants.
Export Solutions maintains good
familiarity in Peru, through three recent
distributor search projects and coverage
of 82 distributors in our database.
Saudi Arabia – 50% of the Gulf
Most companies sell to Saudi Arabia, but
few approach their true potential in the
richest country in the Gulf. Normally,
Saudi Arabia should represent 50 percent
of your total Mid East business, if your
sales are proportionate to population
and the opportunity. This tends to be
Hot Countries 2022: China or Canada?
continued on next page
Hot Countries 2022: China or Canada?
three times the level of tourist friendly
Dubai. Why Saudi? Saudi boosts a
population of 36 million and the worlds
second largest oil reserves. Saudi Arabia
is an affluent country, with the
government providing jobs, education,
and other subsidies for their citizens. 2022
outlook is mixed, based upon the plunge
in oil prices. Still, tremendous upside
exists for most brand owners. I am always
fond of Saudi Arabia, as I worked there
for three years for a large FMCG and met
my Irish wife at a wine tasting party!
USA – Bigger than BRICs
The USA development opportunity is
the largest single priority for European
brands. All European brands sell to the
USA, but volumes are usually quite
modest relative to the potential. USA
features ten different trade channels and
more than 300 retailers. Many chains are
open to innovative products from
overseas, as long as the manufacturer
“does his homework” by supplying true
category innovation. Trade promotion
investments and payment of listing fees
are mandatory in most cases. Normally,
I urge my European clients to “start
small” in the USA, focusing initially on
ten northeast USA chains with 30-150
stores each. Hire your own USA business
manager to work with local brokers and
optimize your investments in critical
trade promotion activity. Initial success
validates the phase two investment levels
required to compete effectively on the
shelves of larger retailers such as Kroger,
Ahold, or Publix.
China – Lessons Learned
Multinationals like Coca Cola, Starbucks,
Nestlé, Ferrero and Procter and Gamble
can point to China as their top global
priority. Unfortunately, I struggle to list
many (any?) smaller companies that are
generating important tonnage in China
on an export basis, even after ten years
or more of trying. Factors limiting
development include a strong
preference for local foods (except
Confectionery/Snacks), lack of strong
distributor options and requirements
to have large teams of people in country
to attack the opportunity. Emarketer
estimates that e-commerce represented
52% of sales in 2021, with brick and
morter retailers declining by 18%.
This also changes the playing field
beyond the capabilities of most overseas
based brand owners.
2022 Guidance
There are no easy answers in the world
of export. If export was easy, they
wouldn’t need us! Export Solutions
advocates consideration for business
improvement in attractive Fab 5 countries
which offer good upside with more
limited investment and complexity than
China and India. The USA appears as a
high priority for many in the 2022 post-
Brexit world. USA winners must play
the USA game, with USA factories (or
copackers) paired with local brokers and
a channel specific strategy. Export
Solutions can help!
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continued from previous page
Population (millions)
Canada 38
Malaysia 33
Morocco 37
Peru 34
Saudi Arabia 36
Oops. Companies that targeted
BRIC countries as the cornerstone
of their international strategy suffer
disappointing results. Brazil and Russia
appear deep in recession, India is labeled
as a persistent underachiever and the
China Express has slowed. The mid-term
outlook does not improve.
Brazil’s structural complexities represent a significant barrier to entry and
the currency devaluation versus the dollar places the price of imported
brands now out of reach for most. Russia was a “borderline BRIC” to begin
with. Russia should recover somewhat with the price of oil, but the fundamental fact is
that Russia’s population will decline by 4 million people by 2025. India remains tough
to conquer, except for multinationals with bundles of money. However, the Nestlé Maggi
noodle scare sent shock waves, causing big investors to think twice.
China is the big prize, with millions moving permanently into the middle class and
shopping at modern supermarkets filled with international brands. The Chinese love
imported Confectionery, Snacks and Beverages, but have been slow to embrace other
“Western” Foods. Marketers need to teach Chinese consumers about their categories
and conduct research to learn to adapt their brands to Chinese taste profiles.
Listed below are Export Solutions’ insights to reduce dependency on “Broken BRIC’s”
to new sources of future growth.
1. USA opportunity is “bigger than BRIC’s” for European exporters.
With the dollar trading near parity vs. the Euro, this is the time for Europeans to
develop the USA. Treating the USA as another export market will result in failure.
Please approach the USA in the “American” way by hiring an experienced USA broker
manager based in a place like Chicago or Atlanta to navigate the system. Test your
product with mid-size chains, investing in consumer activities and trade promotions.
2. Mexico is Hot!
Mexico’s population will pass 135 million soon, passing Japan to be the 11th largest
country in the world. Mexico’s economy is a star in Latin America, as it serves as a supply
depot to the USA. Many auto and industrial manufacturers produce in north Mexico, a
short stroll to the USA market, avoiding month long shipping backlogs from Asia. This
translates to increased spending power and an expanding Mexican middle class.
3. Target the VIPs: Vietnam, Indonesia & Philippines
These high growth countries will exceed 500 million in population by 2025. USA exporters
are discovering the Philippines due to the 107 million population with good acceptance
of USA brands. Myanmar is worth a look, with a new government and a population of
54 million. I have visited Myanmar twice and am optimistic about the future.
4. Hire a Team for China
Winning in China requires a team effort. The battle has shifted and “over achievers” place a
team of local sales, marketing, and research professionals on the ground to build the business.
This is true even when you are working with a distributor. Don’t rush to follow the pack to
“Tier 2” cities until you have completed the job in major supermarkets in Shanghai, Beijing,
and Shenzhen. China holds great potential, but you will be lost managing from home office.
Brand owners face difficult choices on where to place “big bets” on new market development.
BRIC disappointments provided expensive lessons on the long term process of changing
eating habits in emerging markets. Our island market success stories remind us that export
business contains a mix of giant countries and smaller, profitable nations. Senior management
must be willing to admit “we've failed” if you have small businesses in pivotal countries like
China, USA, and Mexico. Frequently, the answer is to treat these big countries like your home
market with investments in product innovation, local factories and fully staffed teams.
Some BRIC’s are Broken
Greg Seminara
“Spend Time Selling to Distributors versus Searching for Distributors”
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Strategy Expert
Can you resist the temptation to sell to
the biggest retailer in a new country
first? Multinationals armed with barrels
of money and stacks of market research
attack all retailers with a high profile
market entry plan for their new products.
More likely that your company supplies
you with a beloved local brand and a
small checkbook to invest wisely. What
is the logical route forward for exporters
of favorite brands from the USA, UK,
Germany, Brasil, Mexico, Japan, etc?
Listed below is Export Solutions’ 5 step
plan to translate your niche item to mass
market success in overseas countries.
Step 1: Sell to Homesick Consumers
There are six million USA expatriates
abroad and also 6 million UK citizens
found outside Great Britain. On a broader
basis, there are 80 million people of
Italian heritage living outside Italy,
including about 17 million in the USA,
almost equivalent to the USA’s entire
Asian population. 92 million foreigners
claim ties to Great Britain, including
17 million people living in Australia
and 12 million in Canada. These statistics
apply to almost all countries who can find
their citizens dispersed around the world.
These homesick consumers are desperate
for their favorite brands from back home.
Frequently, they will shop at stores
dedicated to treats from home such as
Taste of America in Spain or the wide
array of British delights found at Myers
of Keswick in Manhattan. Eataly is a retail
monument saluting the global popularity
of Italian foods. These retailers are logical
first customers for our products.
Step 2: Create Visibility at Restaurants
Featuring Your Cuisine
Many people first discover a new
cuisine from eating out at a restaurant.
Adventurous people like variety in their
diets. Tex-Mex brands enjoy high growth
in retailers throughout Europe, Middle
East, and Asia. Consumers first learned
about Tex-Mex food through visits to
Mexican restaurants. There are several
stories emerging from China such as
Starbucks successfully generating
significant coffee sales from tea drinking
Chinese. Other American products are
generating trial in China through
partnering with USA style restaurants.
Teach consumers about your brand
through placement and visibility at
restaurants featuring your country’s
cooking. Consumers will attempt to
recreate the food experience in their
homes with the brands that they enjoyed
at a restaurant.
Step 3: Target Regional Chains
in Expatriate Areas
California is home to 33% of the USA’s
Asian population. New England
maintains the highest concentration
of Brasilians. Chicago is home to many
Greeks. Italians are everywhere, but
primarily reside in the Northeast USA.
Over half of the USA’s Hispanic
population can be found in California,
Texas, and Florida. New York Metro is
home to people from all over the world
from UK to Israel to Russia to France to
the UK. Major cities like London, Hong
Kong, Sao Paolo and Sydney share similar
dynamics. The idea is to sell to regional
supermarket chains with existing demand
generated by people with ties to the home
country. For example, HEB in Texas is
an excellent destination for Hispanic
products. German foods target Giant
Eagle or Meijer in the central USA. Italian
food products enjoy strong visibility at
Shop Rite and Price Chopper. USA
products sell well in overseas locations
where the USA maintained military bases
such as Germany, Philippines, or Japan.
Step 4: Upscale Retailers Feature Variety
Every country features retailers catering
to high income consumers. These stores
feature extensive assortments of
international products as a strategy
to differentiate versus traditional
supermarkets. Their consumers maintain
more disposable income to purchase
premium international brands and
are more open to distinct gastronomic
experiences. Upscale supermarkets range
from Wegman’s in the USA to Waitrose
in the UK, Esselunga in Italy, Jumbo in
South America, Superama in Mexico,
Kem Chicks in Jakarta, and City Super
in China.
Step 5: Proven Track Record
Drives Mass Appeal
Exporters that have successfully
completed steps 1-4 above are now ready
for mass retailers. Success at penetrating
high end, trend setting, retailers will
make your brand more attractive to
supermarkets catering to the general
population. A patient “crawl, walk, run”
approach will also present a strong case
study for your management to validate
the larger investments in marketing and
trade programs required to support a
national brand launch.
Lessons Learned
Calibrate sales expectations to your own
investment in research, marketing, and
trade development funding. It’s perfectly
acceptable to pursue listings at leading
supermarket chains, if you maintain
adequate brand support budgets. If initial
marketing spend is limited, a better
option is to make “lower risk” bets on
homesick consumers or upscale families
which may form a small,but appreciative
consumer base. Success and learning from
early markets provide a logical on ramp
to broader market success.
5 Steps: From Niche Status to Mass Market Success
A Gentle Approach
Changing distributors is never easy, because we usually like the people involved. Best approach is
to accept part of the blame for the failed relationship. Provide the old distributor a believable sound
byte that he can repeat to maintain dignity in the marketplace: i.e. brand owner was looking for a
distributor with more foodservice or small shop coverage. In the case of a long term partner (5 years or
more), it may be appropriate to offer a lump sum goodwill payment, payable 90 days after transition
in return for their cooperation. The good news is that a new distributor will emerge as motivated
partner, anxious to take a “fresh look at old challenges” and deliver on their commitment to you.
Every company includes distributors
that appear as chronic under-performers.
Year after year, management listens
to excuses and we patiently “give them
a little bit more time.” 2021 results are
in and it’s easy to spot the problems:
big country, small shipments. The new
year is the right time to implement a
process of upgrading your distributor
network to a partner more aligned with
your business goals. Listed below are
key action steps.
New Years Resolution -
Preparing for a Distributor Change
3 Secure agreement from management to change distributors
3 Review your original distributor contract
3 Send official letter to distributor recapping disappointing results
3 Obtain current distributor price calculation
3 Document and monitor inventory in the system, by SKU
3 Watch account receivables and bill-backs
3 Confirm in writing 2022 spending and promotion plan
3 Interview and pre-select an alternate distributor
3 Establish realistic transition timeline with new distributor
3 Advise old distributor of change in person
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Call the Export Accelerator!
Contact Greg Seminara at greg@exportsolutions.com
to discuss your business development project.
Exporters love the thrill of creating plans
to conquer new markets. The reality is
that our annual sales quota is dependent
on driving new sales from our existing
markets and distributors. This appears
as a challenge in a low growth country
or mature category, particularly if you
are not blessed with baskets of money to
invest in brand support activities. Listed
below are our ten tips for sourcing new
sales from existing markets.
1. Fill in White Spaces on your Listing Map
Most manufacturers focus their energy
on the total sales number for a country.
The one template I recommend for each
market is a Listing Map. This grid lists top
10 customers in the first column and your
brand SKU assortment in a horizontal
row. Where are the distribution voids?
Which new listings will generate the most
cases? What resources are needed to fill
the white spaces? What is the plan?
2. 10% Challenge
Trade spending may be a wise investment
if it drives profitable, incremental sales.
This is a good time of year to challenge
distributors with the question: “What
type of spend levels would be necessary
to secure a 10% increase in shipments
(consumption) in the next 90 days?”
Of course, in emerging markets you
may want to challenge the distributor
for a 20-40% increase or higher.
3. Retail Sales Contest
Competitive sales representatives love
contests. Everyone enjoys winning a prize
or supplementing their income. Brand
owners should consider a sales contest
that is tied to “Pay for Performance.”
Measure incremental pallet displays for
volume brands or most creative display
for smaller brands. Sync your competition
with your peak seasonality or a new
product launch. Awards such as iPads or
weekend trips are motivational. Structure
the contest to maximize winners. Create
a theme and “have fun.”
4. Senior Management Visit
Schedule a visit for your company
president or other senior executive to visit
an underperforming market. Arrange
for the visit 2-3 months in advance. You
would be surprised at the serious market
issues that are resolved prior to your
bosses arrival. The executive’s visit is
boosted by new ideas and a commitment
for future performance.
5. Evaluate Your Pricing Model
Pricing drives volume. Most pricing
models were designed at the beginning
of a relationship and rarely revisited
except for the periodic price increase.
Conduct a retail pricing survey. What is
your price gap versus your competition?
What would happen if you adopted an
“every day low price” approach? If you
took a price decline of 10%, would the
incremental volume compensate for
the price reduction?
6. Co-Promotion:
Leverage Distributors Portfolio
Many of the most successful distributors
run quarterly or annual promotional
events featuring all their brands. Normally,
there is a charity tie-in or special theme
overlay. The beauty is that each of the
distributors brands pays only their share
of the event. These Co-Promotion events
turn out to be a big win for the distributor
and each of their brands.
7. Annual Customer Business Review
It’s appropriate for a formal review
of your business at each major customer.
This could be a data intensive review at
a key customer in a developed market
or a “two pager” in an emerging market.
The process is the key. Focusing each
sales representative to analyze their
business results and identify their
largest opportunities adds visibility
to your priorities.
8. Spend Time at Retail
Most market visits program the export
manager from hotel to office to
customer followed by dinner.
Periodically, we’ll squeeze in a store
visit or two before a customer call or
flight departure. Why not dedicate a
day at retail with the retail manager
during a market visit? You’ll get a good
pulse of market conditions and
communicate your brand insights
directly with the retail sales manager.
Brands that are obsessed with in store
performance win incremental retail
sales team focus.
9. Offer a Bonus Pack or On-Pack Promotion
Most brands source 90% of their sales
from the shelf. Generate some excite-
ment everyday with a bonus pack or
other special pack promotion. Many
distributors can manually apply
small gifts or premiums at their
own warehouses.
10. Distributor Change
Organizational change is a last resort.
However, if a distributor continues
to deliver uninspiring performance,
you may be forced to look at market
alternatives. How is the distributor sales
growth versus overall category and
market growth? A new distributor
typically brings a boost of energy and a
renewed sense of commitment to a brand.
Ten Tips Sourcing New Sales from Old Markets
Brand owners express frustration at the
lack of response from distributors to their
representation inquiries. Qualified
distributors are flooded with emails from
companies looking for new distributors
to handle their unknown brands. It’s
difficult to convince massive retailers to
take a chance on a new brand without
a proven track record. It’s even tougher
to persuade the owner of a mid-size
distributor to write a check for the first
order of your product, particularly if
you are not committed to a significant
marketing campaign. Brand building
from ground zero requires one-two years.
Research reveals that approximately
20 percent of new products are still on the
shelves two years later. Listed below are
Export Solutions’ tips on increasing your
chances that your new brand will be a
“Gold Mine” for a successful distributor.
Distributors: Always Looking for New Brands
Every distributor is looking for new
brands. Distributor profitability rises
exponentially when they add new
business. New business allows them to
leverage their fixed costs of warehouse
space and sales teams. Most distributors
search for adjacent brands that
complement their existing portfolio.
For example, confectionery specialists
look for other snack items that may be
purchased by the same buyer and are
located in the same aisle as their current
brands. Distributors need new
companies, as all distributors (even
the good ones), lose brands due to
acquisition, performance, or direct
models. The key is to position your
new brand opportunity as an attractive
addition to the distributor’s portfolio.
What Every Distributor Wants to Know
While you rave about your brands
superior taste, the distributor has
three thoughts on his mind :
1. How much money can he make
representing your brand?
2. Will it be tough to secure
market acceptance?
3. What will the brand owner commit
to in marketing investment?
Manufacturers that position their
proposition in these terms have a better
chance of gaining market acceptance.
Review Export Solutions’ article “How
to Excite Buyers, New Product Checklist”
for an independent product assessment.
Resistance to Pioneering
New product launch cycles require up
to one year from time of first distributor
meeting until he receives retailer payment
for his first order. During this incubation
period, the distributor must allocate his
sales and marketing resources to your
company without compensation. This
time dedicated to your company is
sourced from their other brands that are
currently generating income. Access to
the shelf does not guarantee consumer
trial and repeat purchase. A distributor
may buy your brand, capture shelf space,
and suffer disappointment when the
product does not sell. Unfortunately,
these pessimistic comments reflect reality
and provide insights on why best in class
distributors are hesitant to pioneer.
On the Road to Gold Mine
How can brand owners overcome
distributor resistance to pioneering?
Distributors are impressed by large
companies and brands that have been
successful in adjacent countries. Some
distributors will accept a product that
offers some existing market penetration
with the belief that their stronger team
can drive the business to the next level.
Manufacturer commitment to a powerful
marketing program sends a loud
message that you are serious. For mid-
size manufacturers, offering a small
monthly pioneering fee ($3,000 - $7,000)
demonstrates that you are a patient
partner, willing to co-fund the launch
preparation until distributor sales begin.
At the end of the day, distributors look for
a strong partner, with a good track record,
and a firm financial commitment to
support youir mutual marketing efforts.
How to Find an Enthusiastic Partner?
Export Solutions compiled an extensive
Distributor Search guide covering all
aspects of the distributor search process.
In pioneering scenarios, it is critical
to consider a wide variety of potential
partners. Schedule a one week trip
to a country. Plan to visit at least
5 distributors. Most distributors will
be open to an introductory meeting
with an overseas principal if you are
professional in your approach. Referrals
from your local government trade
support contact or another one of their
current brand owners helps pave the way.
Trade Shows also generate leads from
interested distributors. Post a large sign
saying: Distributors Wanted, listing
countries of interest. This will encourage
visitors to stop and chat.
Pioneering is tough but not impossible.
In reality, creating new brand sales from
a zero base is the essence of the Export
Manager’s job responsibility. Fortunately,
Export Solutions’ database covers more
than 9,200 distributors looking for
opportunities. Good luck!
Pioneering: A Gamble, Not a Guaranteed Gold Mine
30 Ideas to Help your Distributors
1. Trade Promotion
Share Best Practice Trade Promotion concepts
16. Innovation
Launch new items with successful track record
2. Celebrate Success
Distributor of the Year Awards
17. Sales Contest
Fund contest to incent and motivate distributor team
3. Category Expert
Provide fact based trend updates
18. Thank You Letter
Letter of recognition for team to distributor CEO
4. Logistics Service Level
Target 98% on time, complete orders
19. Event Sponsorship
Support distributor events, especially retailers’ charities
5. Store Check
Periodic visits to understand “retail reality”
20. Distributor Workload
Work proportional to distributor income
6. Billback Reimbursement
Prompt (30 days?) payment of distributor invoices
21. Price Increase
Provide fair lead time for price increases
7. Distributor CEO
Regular (quarterly?) checkpoint web meetings
22. Reference
Write testimonial or volunteer to serve as reference
8. Response Time
Earn reputation as “quick responder”
23. Training
Create Zoom training session for sales team
9. Marketing
Support distributor’s ideas. Invests in creative programs.
24. Portal
Create Portal with presentations, brand facts, digital tools
10. Customers
Do not deal directly with distributor’s customers
25. Social Media
Corporate experts available to help/share content
11. Reports
Stick to basics: sales, forecast, inventory, listing maps
26. VIP Trip Your Headquarters
Introduce distributor to your senior executives
12. Market Visits
Visit, but not too often
27. Samples
Support large sampling programs
13. Team Building
Create team relationship: finance, logistics, administration
28. Corporate Functional Experts
Provide distributor access to your corporate experts
14. Distributor Profit
Respect that a profitable distributor is a healthy distributor
29. Consumer Research
Conduct local research for consumer insights
15. Syndicated Data
Invest in Nielsen data
30. Create Culture of Success
Achieve joint business targets
Distributor Supplier Relations
Managing the New Normal
Actitivity Old School New School
Customers Mass Supermarkets Omni Channel
Mom: Whats for? Dinner Breakfast, Lunch
Sales Team Over 50’s Under 30’s
E-Commerce Channel Niche Mass
Assortment Limited (supermarkets) Unlimited (e-com.)
Retail Conditions Store visits Web shop checks
Business Management Sales targets Profit targets
Distributor Expertise Generalists Specialists Category, Channel
Business Manager Brand Manager Idea Generator
Check Point Conferences Telephone calls Teams/Zoom
Overseas Supplier Visits Monthly/Quarterly Quarterly/Annually
Brand Presence Shelf Visibility Page 1 results (e-com.)
Distributor Logistics Delivery by case Delivery by unit (e-com.)
Recipe Ideas Your brand only Total meal solutions
Training Annual meeting Webinar (anytime)
Consumer Marketing Mass via multi media Targeted and digital
Brand Information Email to distributors Online portal
Pricing: Distributor Calculation “Closed Book” “Open Book”
Trade Shows Visit in person Hybrid:Virtual and in person
Foodservice Restaurants Home Delivery
Forecasts/Reports Monthly “Live,” real time
Results-Expectations Achieve your Objective Achieve your Objective
Are Distributors Interested in Your Brand?
High Interest Low Interest
Email Response
Immediate reply Delayed or no reply
CEO Engagement
Active participation Delegated to middle management
Scheduling Meeting
Flexible and easy Difficult. Conflicts.
Airport/Hotel Pick-Up
Offers to pick you up Take a taxi!
Meeting Presentation
Tailored. Prepared for you. Standard presentation
Category Research
Obtains data None
Competitive Review
Shares photos: store sets Informal comments
Store Visits
Organized/led by CEO Office meeting only
Obtains and tries samples Waits for you
Team Participation
3-6 people at meeting One person
Cell Phone
Shares private number Email address only
Addresses key issues No questions
Meets due dates Delays
Post Meeting Follow-up
Immediate and frequent None
Proposed Plan
Detailed and fact based Brief topline
Results Winner Second place?
I have conducted hundreds of distributor interviews for multinational companies: P&G, Nestle, General Mills,
Duracell, Lindt, Tabasco, Barilla, J&J, etc. Distributor candidates all claim enthusiasm and high interest in your
brand. See Export Solutions’ checklist of clues to measure true distributor interest level.
Channel Confectionery
Food/Grocery Beverage Non Food
E-commerce x x x x x
Meal Kits x x x
Ethnic – “Homesick” x x x x
Gift Basket x x x
Natural Food x x x
Gourmet, Deli x x x
Liquor x x
Farmers Markets x x
Gift Channel x x
Toy, Party Stores x x
Movie Theaters x
Hardware, DIY, Office x x x
Duty Free x x x
Fundraising x x
Theme Parks, Stadiums x x
Airlines x
Butchers, Fishmongers x x x
Coffee Shops x x
Military x x x x x
Department Stores x x
Kitchen Supplies x x x
Dollar, Close Out x x x x x
Discount Clothing
(Marshalls, TJ/TK Maxx)
x x
New Channels: Prime Prospects, By Category
Coverage: 96 countries and 2,700 retailers
Drug Store
Natural Food
Club, Cash & Carry
Supplying profiles, store counts, formats,
news and info for Top 100 international
retailers plus all overseas branches
Example 1: Who are supermarket
retailers in Canada?
Example 2: How many stores does Loblaws
operate by banner, in Canada?
Search by Retailer NameSearch by Country
Combo Search
Search By Format
Retailer Search Made Simple
Canada Example
Why did you create the retailer database?
Export managers dedicate a lot of time
to researching countries, retailers and
preparing business plans. A standard
KPI measure is tracking product listings
for key customers. I believe that our
industry could benefit from a global
retailer database to instantly locate
retailers and their store counts in
96 countries. The retailer database
is a logical extension of our leading
distributor database which has helped
more than 3,000 companies build export
sales during the last 10 years.
What is your geographic coverage?
96 of top 100 GDP countries worldwide.
This includes most Asian, Middle Eastern,
and European countries. Our database
covers every country in the Americas.
In Africa, we cover South Africa.
What is your format coverage?
Excellent coverage of chain supermarkets,
hypermarkets, clubs, cash and carry,
and convenience formats. Solid initial
coverage of drug stores, natural food
stores, and e-commerce channels.
Our database does not cover
DIY/hardware, toy, office, liquor,
or sporting goods channels.
Retailer database: featured info
Profile – Retailers profile and link to their
internet home page.
Formats – Retailer’s stores segmented
by format and banner.
We track supermarkets, hypermarkets,
cash and carry, convenience stores,
discounters, drug stores, natural food
stores, and e-commerce retailers.
News – Latest retailers’ news. In some
cases (Asia), we substitute a link to the
retailer’s latest promotional flyer.
Financial – Many leading retailers are
publicly traded. A link is provided to
their latest financial results. We do not
offer estimated financial information for
privately held or family owned retailers.
How is your coverage of global retailers?
We offer total coverage for top 100 global
retailers. This includes all of their
branches and banners. Searchable!
Use filters to research Walmart, Costco,
Carrefour, Tesco, Metro, Casino presence
by country. Database covers retailer’s
total store outlets as well as a breakout
by banner and format.
What can I use the retailer database info for?
Obtain an instant snapshot of an
average of 24 retailers per country
for 96 countries.
Track presence of global retailers like
Walmart, Carrefour, and Metro AG.
Create country specific listing maps
where distributors measure brand
authorization by retailer.
Conduct home office based
international category reviews and price
checks from retailers’ e-commerce sites
(not all retailers).
Prepare annual reviews and reports
with up-to-date information on leading
retailers and channels.
The database offers filters allowing you to
search by country, format, or retailer name.
You can also use a combination of filters for
your research.
Can I get a free sample of the retailer database?
Sure! Check www.exportsolutions.com for a
complete profile of United Kingdom retailers.
Do you provide retailer’s annual sales
or market share information?
Accurate annual sales information is
available through the financial link for
publicly traded companies. We do not
provide estimated financial information
for privately held and family owned
retailers. Channel blurring occurs between
supermarket, convenience, e-commerce,
and even natural food operators. We do not
provide market share due to difficulty to
accurately isolate and define channel
market share information, particularly with
so many privately held retailers.
How accurate is the retailer data?
Export Solutions’ retailer database is
updated weekly, so information is highly
accurate. Retailer names, web sites, and
formats rarely change. This makes the
database 99% accurate at the company
level. New stores open every day,
resulting in store counts that may be
95% accurate. We intend to update store
counts on a regular basis.
How much does retailer database access cost?
An annual subscription to the retailer
database is $975. This supplies one year,
unlimited access to more than 2,700
retailers in 96 countries. Special offers
available for our distributor database
customers. Note: special pricing for
government trade organizations.
How do I access the retailer database?
Visit www.exportsolutions.com and click
the retailer database page. You can place
a subscription or individual continent
(i.e., Europe) into a shopping cart.
Register and check out via credit card.
The process takes two minutes and we
automatically send you an invoice.
About Export Solutions
Export Solutions was founded in 2004
and is based in Atlanta, Georgia in the
USA. Export Solutions serves as a leading
provider of business intelligence to the
food and consumer goods industries.
Our distributor database covers 9,200
distributors in 96 countries and has been
used by more than 3,000 clients. Our
Export Express newsletter has a circulation
of 9,900 and is viewed as an important
source of insights, strategies, and
templates for international development.
FAQ’s Retailer Database
E-commerce now accounts for five percent of USA omnichannel
sales, up forty percent in the last year according to Nielsen. This
includes almost 12 billion dollars sold through online grocers.
No one can accurately gauge how big e-commerce will become,
but it is safe to predict that it will be much, much bigger in
the next five years. Billion dollar multinationals and scrappy
start-ups are attacking this channel with vigor, widening the
performance gap versus successful national brands. In China
and India, e-commerce accounts for a majority of the sales for
many imported products. Read Export Solutions’ ten tips for
capturing your fair share of the growth in this strategic channel.
1. Conduct E-Commerce Survey for Core Countries
Create a one page template capturing local e-commerce
customers, online grocery trends and current distributor
engagement. Calibrate where each country is on a development
curve. Source best practices from distributors in China, India,
United Kingdom, and the USA where e-commerce maintains
highest acceptance levels.
2. Speak to Millennials
Spend time with young people, learning how they shop and
blaze through digital marketing messages. Learn why millennials
avoid “their mothers brands” and how many rarely make a
“stock up shop” at a neighborhood supermarket. Another
revelation is the trust that they place in online reviews and
key influencer recommendations.
3. Create a Global E-Commerce Strategy
Align with your company’s overall e-commerce strategy.
Establish benchmarks and toolkits to share with your
distributors. Acknowledge the fast pace of development,
allowing flexibility to pivot fast.
4. Distributors: E-Commerce Business Plan
Request each distributor to create a 2022 e-commerce business
plan. Include new distribution targets, marketing plans, and
shipment objectives for e-commerce customers. Challenge
distributors to hire a young person to serve as a dedicated
e-commerce key account manager. Review each distributor’s
e-commerce marketing plan early and often in 2022.
“A distributor respects, what the brand owner inspects.”
5. Learn Online Marketing Tactics
Goodbye end caps and slotting allowances. Hello “pay per click”
and first page search results. Unlimited shelf space exists in
cyberspace, with room for every sku that you (and your
competitors) produce. Face-to-face buyer meetings are replaced
by online marketing menu programs and transparent sales
ranking information. Learn the new rules or you will fail the
e-commerce test.
6. Treat Amazon and Alibaba as Global Customers
Amazon revenue will exceed $500 billion in 2022, including
more than $400 billion sourced from sales of goods. Amazon
will comfortably rank as the world’s number two retailer, far
exceeding sales by Carrefour or Costco. Multinational category
leaders have established customer teams to service Amazon.
Many place their best, young talent against this high growth
customer. Multifunctional team roles may share the same titles
in Finance, Supply Chain and Marketing, but the “work” is much
different. What dedicated resources are assigned to Amazon and
Alibaba today at your company?
7. Consider a Web Shop
Direct to consumer represented a complex route to market in the
past. Today, new brands and leading companies are jumping at
the opportunity to showcase their innovation and share in depth
product knowledge through their own proprietary web shop.
Outsourced supply chain experts exist to provide fulfillment
solutions. Tangible profits may be elusive today, but there is
valuable, inexpensive learning to be gained from pioneering
in this area.
8. Hire an International E-Commerce Expert
Appear as a preferred supplier by your distributors by providing
leadership insights into this new trade channel. Distributors in
emerging markets are hungry for best practices in establishing
e-commerce brand building models. Send your e-commerce
expert to core markets to conduct workshop training sessions.
Your investment in an e-commerce strategy and guru positions
your company as a preferred partner helping to build the
distributor’s entire business.
9. Appoint E-Commerce Distributors – Asia
Selling through the e-commerce channel requires different routes
to market capabilities and skill sets than marketing through
brick and mortar supermarkets. Consider appointing a separate
e-commerce distributor in advanced countries like China and
South Korea. A key issue is managing pricing equilibrium
between your conventional distributor and e-commerce partner.
10. Track E-Commerce Results
Establish KPI’s and measure performance at key customers such
as Amazon. Are you getting your fair share of the growth?
E-commerce development is a top 2022 priority for every brand
and distributor. Some may say that e-commerce is evolving
slowly in their country or too complex and unprofitable to
allocate resources. These are the same people whose parents
were probably in the horse and buggy or fax businesses.
Enhanced focus on e-commerce will position you as a leader
(or survivor) for 2025.
Ten Tips: Ex-Selling at E-Commerce
Are you selling more to Ireland, Iceland
or India? To the Bahamas, Baltics, or Brasil?
UAE or United Kingdom? Small countries
offer solid business opportunities, with lower
complexity and investment required. All
companies export development plans should
include a mix of strategic countries like China
and the USA (Europeans) plus revenue
generators with fewer than ten million
people. Listed below are Export Solutions’
ten tips on why small countries deliver
big business.
1. Limited Local Production
Small countries are highly dependent on
food imports. Even multinationals tend to
locate factories in larger hub countries. This
creates the opportunity for exporters to fill
a high percentage of a small countries food
supply requirements.
2. Distributor Model – Primary Route to Market
Most companies partner with distributors
in these countries. Leaders like Nestlé
and Unilever may find it more productive
and efficient to use distributors versus
establishing a local subsidiary. For example, Export Solutions’
distributor database supplies information on 63 distributors
in Panama, 87 in Kuwait, and 78 distributors in Croatia.
3. Value Chain – Level Playing Field
Brands are frequently able to compete on a level playing field in
smaller countries. Most products maintain similar cost structures
with importation fees, distributor margins, and retailer margins.
International brands do not suffer the same type of price gap
problems versus homegrown brands as they encounter in large
countries with local plants.
4. Low Complexity – Ship and Sell
In many cases, you are able to sell existing Made in the USA
or Europacks. Compliance may be achieved with a small,
distributor applied sticker. Many countries in this cluster do
not require a lengthy registration process accepting USA or
European standards.
5. Brand Awareness Exists
Surprise! Some consumers in an adjacent small country will
already be aware of your brand. This could result from cable
TV advertising or visits from their citizens to your country.
Costa Rica, Malta, and the Caribbean represent tourist hubs.
These popular hosts feed seasonal residents from the mainland
and boatloads of visitors hungry for their favorite brands.
6. Reasonable Cost of Entry
Launching a new brand is economical. Retailers are frequently
happy with a “free fill” of the first order versus an excessive
listing fee. Demos in a handful of high profile stores will
create visibility. Distributors appreciate your existing point
of sale materials.
7. Best in Class Distributors
Some of the best distributors of the world are based in small
countries. The reason is that even enormous multinationals
partner with distributors in these regions. This propels the
leading players to top ten suppliers to the retail trade. These
distributors implement the best practice models from companies
like Procter & Gamble and apply them to all the brands in their
portfolio. I witness many examples where a powerful distributor
creates a huge success story for a smaller brand based upon their
marketplace clout.
8. Currency and Freight Impact