Rite Aid is improving its ability to quickly stock a wider range of trending products by working with RangeMe, a company whose online platform streamlines new product discovery between retailers and their product suppliers, RangeMe announced this week.
RangeMe’s platform also helps retailers manage the inbound product submission process all of their suppliers engage in. But, the platform also benefits suppliers by giving them more control over the marketing of their products and greater access to retail buyers.
In the past year alone, RangeMe claims its platform has grown to include more than 70,000 suppliers and more than 250,000 active products across all categories. Among the companies that use it are Sephora, Target, Birchbox, Safeway, Meijer and many others.
It's good timing for Rite Aid to revitalize its product selection and sourcing processes. In late June, the company's planned $6.8 billion sale to Walgreens Boots Alliance fell apart amid intensifying anti-trust scrutiny after the companies had been working on the deal for more than a year and a half. Rite Aid walked away with a $325 million break-up payment from Walgreens, and was still able to sell more than 2,000 of its stores in the process.
But, now it is looking for a way forward, and doing so as the drug store sector quakes with the knowledge that Amazon is likely to disrupt its market at some point. Looming competition from the e-commerce giant means, among other things, that Rite Aid and other pharmacies need to do a better job of giving customers exactly what they want.
In large part, that means they need to also do a better job of stocking and marketing products that are trending on social media and elsewhere, and are selling out at other stores. A recent study from Bazaarvoice provided some evidence on just how much consumers are influenced by what other consumers are buying, as 85% of survey respondents said visual consumer-generated content helps them decide which product brands they want to purchase.
The other side of the coin is that it is increasingly important for product suppliers to remain relevant in the eyes of retailers. RangeMe's platform allows them to create and upload detailed product profiles. Retailers see products based on selection criteria they have chosen, and can provide feedback on the product profiles. Suppliers can get their product messages out and in front of retailers more directly with less labor and less chance that they will end up pitching the retailer on products they have no interest in.