Getting to the top of any market is tough. This is especially true for a new brand in a market with established big-name players and retailers who need to make the most of limited shelf space.
In today’s market, exclusivity is king.
The success we have had at Harison is a perfect example. We launched in travel retail four years ago, in January 2015, and I am delighted to say we now rank as the number one chocolate brand with DFS at Abu Dhabi International Airport, as well as being one of the top brands in 30 other airport stores.
Breaking into a market like the travel retail confectionery sector, which showed modest 4.2% growth in 2018 after a decline in 2015-16, is not easy. But there is so much scope for development and growth. When I speak to retailer partners and colleagues, they all agree on two things: Confectionery is vital to the market, but its potential is not being realised.
One colleague told me low space productivity is a problem, but saturation with brands which customers see all the time will not help with this. When we started Harison we realised the need to create a duty free exclusive brand to satisfy changing consumer demand. We wanted to create a unique product range with which shoppers could truly surprise their loved ones.
Retailers agree that variety and exclusive products are – in their words – “very important” and the success we have had at Harison is testament to the fact that a combination of quality and newness can be a recipe for success.
We brought together the best chocolates from the world’s chocolate capitals of Belgium, Switzerland and Italy and presented it in premium packaging which catered to the desires of modern adult shoppers.
But the requirement is not just on the brands. My feeling is that retailers too must do more to encourage companies to come out with exclusive brands. I really believe that this is what will encourage the consumers to shop at their duty free stores.
We as brands cannot do this alone. Our success with Harison at sites like Abu Dhabi is related to our ability to work with colleagues like DFS to provide our mutual consumer with the special products they want. Innovation without retailer support will go nowhere.
We are still building at Harison. Our aim remains to reach 60% of the world’s duty free stores in the next five years and if we are to get there then exclusivity will be the key.