VOW has started 2019 by launching more than 3,000 new products in its January catalogue, saying that the bumper number reflects the wholesaler’s commitment to core categories, while meeting the demand from dealers for new products that open the door to new customers. VOW say that the catalogue has also been snapped up in big numbers, with 350,000 orders underlining its enduring importance in the modern marketing mix.
“Our dealer network continues to tell us that they want the best of both worlds: more products to sell to their existing customers as well as innovative ideas to act as door-openers to new business,” explains Debbie Nice, merchandise director at VOW. “So our strategy is to continue to focus on the evolution of our core categories like office products and printer supplies, while at the same time diversifying into up and coming areas like education, FS and furniture.”
VOW's proactive stance reflects changes in consumer demand within the office and society as a whole. There is an ever-increasing demand for environmentally-friendly and Fairtrade products, as well as for more contemporary furniture solutions – reflecting the shift to remote and flexible working. Add to this mix an increase in high-profile TV advertising launches like Gorilla Glue, and you can see why VOW is bullish about exploiting opportunities on behalf of its dealers
Other hot trends include health and wellness, personal security, GDPR related items, ergonomics, smart speakers, connectivity, 5G and products linked to business collaboration and communication. Drives to reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions are also influencing innovation.
Says Debbie: “We have 1,400 new stock lines across various categories and 2,000 direct delivery lines, most of which are furniture. We’ve really hit the ground running with them, with new ranges such as the MyCafe brand of small kitchen appliances really going down well for dealers.”
The evolving product range is geared to giving dealers plenty to shout about, and the company says that many are taking advantage of selective sampling, which is working especially well on new catering lines and writing instruments. VOW plans to keep the product conveyor moving by introducing new items throughout the year rather than waiting for the 2020 catalogue. This will mean the wholesaler can keep pace with developments in areas like technology and EOS – while adding quarterly updates to its MyMarketing portal.
The fact that the printed catalogue still has vital role to play is coming through loud and clear, says Debbie. “The contract stationers continue to produce a catalogue and the format is a very important guide in the education sector, for example. Most of our Europeans partners still see it as an important marketing tool and it’s still popular with wholesalers in the States. And our dealers tell us that it’s a great way of keeping their name in front of customers for the whole year.”
According to Debbie, VOW continues to feed off innovative ideas from product shows, suppliers and its own category managers. And its message to dealer partners is simple: let us know where you want to expand your range, let us know about the demands of your end users, and we’ll use your input to plan launches for later this year, and on into 2020.
To view the 2019 VOW digital catalogue click here Click Here To See The VOW 2019 Catalogue