Olga Teslya: searching for new points of sales growth
This year the customers’ behavior has become more rational, buying becomes less impulsive; the market is balancing its demand and supply ratio. Specialized retail chains for children have to compete with family department stores and look for new sales growth points. Olga Teslya, Head of Olant distribution company, told how the sales format was changing and how the demand was formed in the market of the goods for children.
“Falling birth rates make the market search for new sales approaches and points of growth. What are sales growth points of Olant: a balanced product range, a flexible strategy, or closer networking with consumers?”
“We are cautious about active sales growth in such periods of time; although, we are looking for further development. Such periods of time are important for business: either it is growing and finds new sales growth points, or it loses in a severe competition which increases in such times. We are not crisis newcomers, though…
“These times mean opportunities for us to improve our product range for both end users and our wholesales business and to launch new products at the market. We also continue our work on rebranding which we started in the middle of the last year; now this work is in full swing.
“We became more active and bold in our relations with buyers; our Mothers’ School becomes more popular and effective for Olant and our suppliers who support the project, and, the most important, for future parents.
“With regard to new shops opening: we were not active in this connection even during better times preferring online sales. Therefore, we are not unique, and today we are focusing on online sales development and education of our sales force and of consumers.”
“Would you tell us about your suppliers? Are you going to make changes to the list of your suppliers and change your product range accordingly?”
“As for me, there’s no such ‘list of suppliers’: there are specific products and persons behind every supplier name; and, like us, they need support in such times. For some of them we remain the key partner, and it is important to find a balance between business and personal relations which we also value.
“For better commercial results we are interested in increasing a number of direct contracts with manufacturers; however, we do not refuse from internal supplies, because for the customers it is important to have a choice: sometimes only a variety of brands can satisfy the demand for child care of a young family. It is especially important in the area of baby skin care products and home cosmetics.
“We are also preparing to launch absolutely new products: for example, AGU, an innovative system of baby care which combines unique devices into one chain with the help of mobile application. This new approach helps save time and efforts of the parents and gives them more time and resources to communicate with their baby. We have signed an exclusive contract with AGU, a Swiss company, to be a representative of their brand in Russia.
“In the near future we’ll bring to Russia two absolutely unique Korean brands; we’ll start selling their new products very soon.
“We are also actively developing a product range within the brands we are already working with. Our favorite Mnuchkin® will present new items soon, and BABYCOCCOLE® will come to customers in a completely new package design.
“By September new products from Sweden will arrive to the store shelves: both from ELODIE® that has won already over customers’ hearts, and from HEROBILITY®, an absolutely new brand from Stockholm.
“Already today we are glad to support a licensed football line-up of Lucky Child FIFA®, a Russian company pleasing young fathers who are football fans.”
“Sales of what product categories, in your opinion, will be growing, and sales of what categories will be decreasing (or are already decreasing)?”
“As for us, the most decreasing category is clothes. Our mother customers have been buying clothes only online for a long time already, and mostly not in the Russian online shops. And as for me, clothes are the most complicated goods. Our company, first of all, is a specialty-focused shop, and the customers are expecting special goods which have intellect and solutions to improve the quality of everyday life for of young families with babies. Clothes for me are the most useless product category in this connection excluding special outdoor clothes for rain or sun protection.
“The situation becomes more difficult with classic baby cribs and bed clothes for them, accordingly. Modern mothers prefer to sleep together with babies, and they choose corresponding accessories. Although we can see good potential for interesting product offers: today Papaloni® brand is supporting our experiments; Happy Baby® also presented customers an interesting model of a transformer convertible crib, and its presentation in our Mothers’ School was held at a full house, and we hope for good sales. Young parents incredulously look at buying expensive furniture streaming their budget to a smarter shopping. The sales of large baby prams are decreasing, but this decrease is not connected with the crisis, it’s rather new parents’ behavior at the time their baby is born. More mothers are remodeling daily routine preferring to sleep with babies at home and walk outdoors with awake babies. For this purpose they’d rather need baby slings, or lightweight baby strollers. Therefore, we shouldn’t be afraid of seeing sales decrease; we just have to be more attentive to the requirements of modern mothers, or even to take part in their shaping together with them.”