Store Brands

DEC 2015

Store Brands delivers unprecedented strategic and tactical information needed by retail executives to develop and support compelling, differentiated store brand programs to build customer loyalty.

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Page 12 of 59 / December 2015 / Store Brands 1 3 challenges. Information management, in particular, is one of the biggest, Popoola adds. "Our members need significant granularity around the products they purchase through Topco," he says. "To solve this problem, Topco quality assurance partnered with a document and information management system provider to help us get our arms more completely around the data in our charge. "Today more than 98 percent of our suppliers actively use the system, and now our members can access it to retrieve their product specifications," he adds. And Topco sets itself apart from other cooperatives by offering its members better insights from high-quality data, Heffernan says. "We just implemented a new enterprise resource planning system that changed from a three-level hierarchy to a six-level hierarchy, allowing for better data clustering," she adds. "We believe this change will help drive overall growth for every member of the cooperative." Topco also works with its suppliers when it comes to product research and development, packaging and packaging design. For instance, Topco often collaborates with suppliers to address trends, perform product tastings, brainstorm formulation changes and improve the efficiency of product packaging, Severin says. "This partnership is truly another value of the coop," Hooks says. "We're all working together to advance as one." To recognize outstanding suppliers, the cooperative has a Supplier Award of Excellence program. Established more than 10 years ago, the awards are meant to publically recognize the long-standing collaborative partnerships Topco has with its suppliers, Heffernan says. "Recognizing suppliers amongst their peers as it relates to quality, cost, delivery and innovation is our way of showing the integral role they play and the value they bring to the overall success of the coop," she adds. Innovating with own brands One of Topco's priorities is to offer innovative and differentiated own-brand products. It then uses these products as a catalyst for member growth, Severin says. "Topco's proprietary brands are a strong reason why members join Topco. Top Care, for example, is one of the Top 10 OTCs in the country," she notes. "It is imperative that our brands remain relevant for our members and their shoppers — whether with our products or our packaging. Both are equally important for Topco and the membership." The Tippy Toes baby brand is a key innovation focus for Topco, Popoola says. "We offer our members and their shoppers everything from the latest in diaper technology and wipes to a shoppable pallet program," he says. "We know members need to stay on-trend and relevant with parents, keeping safety and quality at the forefront of our decisions. The Tippy Toes brand continues to build a sense of trust with a key shopper: moms." The @ease frozen food brand and the Full Circle Market natural and organic brand are two other brands for which innovation is a particular focus. @ease is a "winning solution" for shoppers who are looking for quick grab-and-go meal and snack options, Heffernan says. "The large @ease portfolio of products allows us to have the scale to offer our members enhanced value in the frozen food category," she adds. As for the Full Circle Market brand, "it has helped Topco and its members meet shoppers' needs," Severin says. For example, Topco offered organic and natural products under this brand (originally called Full Circle) years before shoppers Call our salt experts today! 800-353-7258 • [email protected] IN SaltWorks ® is committed to providing superior quality, unmatched selection and expert consultation. Offering the largest supply of all-natural gourmet salts, SaltWorks is the only salt partner you'll need. Guaranteed. bulk | retail packaging | private label - E S T A B L I S H E D 2 0 0 1 - Unmatched selection of all-natural salts and packaging options.

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