Founder and CEO of award-winning digital platform Product Guru, Simon Coyle, tells Kitchenware International more about how they are connecting brands with buyers, with a special focus on the growing homewares market…
Simon, can you explain the Product Guru concept?
Product Guru is an award-winning platform that connects challenger brands with leading retailers, helping them to find their route to market. We provide a central hub for a thriving community of over 10,000 brands, and over 1,600 buyers from independent stores through to some of the largest retailers, with the mission to get innovative products on shelves. Our events and digital tools offer opportunities for challenger brands and buyers to find each other, and initiate conversations. All of our products and events are anchored around our powerful digital platform. Whether a buyer searches for you on our platform, discovers you through a digital campaign, samples your products at a Pop event, or meets you at a Huddle – they have instant access to your products data and the opportunity to connect with your brand and take next-step actions. We’re known for pioneering valuable and innovative experiences for both brands and buyers to find each other, and we’re very excited to take our expertise to the global stage with events taking place across Europe, the Gulf and beyond next year.
What is your USP? What makes Product Guru different from the other retail avenues?
We provide an end-to-end solution for producers and makers looking to break into market, and we are continuously developing unique opportunities for brands to get in front of retailers in both exciting and cost-effective ways. Brands and retailers can engage with each other in innovative and result-driven formats, whether that’s through our platform or our event offerings. Our events series – Huddles, Virtual Pitches and Pop – offer brands multiple ways to get access and engage with leading retailers in their category. At the core of each of our events is the Product Guru platform, with brands able to present their entire range by uploading searchable digital product cards, track key interactions, and follow-up directly with buyers. Retail buyers can search for products, record notes, request samples, and collaborate with members of their team directly on the platform, during and after the events. Our hybrid approach guarantees curated and relevant interactions between brands and buyers.
“Our research indicates the homeware market in the UK has expanded the last decade, going from 10.8 billion to 13.6 billion in value in 2019 and continuing to grow into this year”
In terms of connecting retailers and buyers, are you focused on the UK or is there international reach too?
We’ve always had an international reach, and whilst most of our community is UK-based, more than a third is from overseas. Our Huddles events have attracted brands from all over the world including Italy, USA, and Brazil. These events have been an invaluable resource for international brands trying to break into the UK retail market, providing them with guaranteed interactions with major UK retailers. Pop and Huddles hold an international appeal for both brands and retailers. Our Pop events that will debut later this year, will offer brands the opportunity to get major exposure for six days in a trendy location, by showcasing their products to hundreds of key players in their sector: buyers, wholesalers, distributors, importers, and even press and influencers. Pop events will start in London, and go on a world tour across Europe, North America, Middle East and Oceania, providing brands with unique and cost-effective opportunities to gain market entry to international marketplaces. Meanwhile, our Huddles events offer a hybrid approach to bring local and global brands close to retailers, through a variety of packages including in-person interactions, video pitching and product sampling. Integrating Product Guru’s technology in our events means that buyers can not only test out products live, but also combine the experience with instant access to product details on the platform, to shortlist products, connect with brands, provide feedback and more.
How important is the kitchen/home sector to Product Guru, has it been identified as a growth area?
Our research indicates the homeware market in the UK has expanded the last decade, going from 10.8 billion to 13.6 billion in value in 2019 and continuing to grow into this year, so we’ve placed special emphasis on this category, as we witness its growth. We’ve placed special focus on the home sector through a combination of targeted events and supporting our kitchenware brands. We are always engaged in conversations with buyers, as it is our aim to remain at the heart of their buying operations, and to evolve our tools to make the process of finding new products that fits their needs as easy as possible.