How to become a supplier to Woolworths Australia

13 November 2017

Matthew Topp / Business Development Manager / Sydney

Woolworths has size and clout like few other Australian retailers. With a whopping 992 stores and a 36 percent share of the local grocery market, getting your product stocked in Woolworths could spell phenomenal growth for your business in Australia.

But while the opportunity is huge, you need to be prepared to work hard for Woolworths to notice you. The Aussie marketplace is much more crowded than New Zealand, so to stand out from the locals (and other Kiwi hopefuls), you’ll need a strong value proposition that resonates in the Australian grocery market. 

Moreover, once you do get on the books with Woolworths, you’ll have to put in the work to stay there.

What Woolworths wants in a supplier

Here’s a few key tips on what Woolworths buyers are looking for.

True product innovation

Woolworths looks for customer-led product innovation, backed up by insight. They want products that will help to drive category growth or encourage shoppers to trade up into higher-value purchases. 

Maybe you’re offering a completely new product or category, a higher-specced or higher-quality version of an existing product, or new functions or benefits that existing competitors can’t match.

Ask yourself what sets your product apart in the Australian market, so you’ll be ready when Woolworths asks you the same question.

Exceptional supply chain

The size and scale of Woolworths, with stores spread across a whole continent, means they can’t leave anything in their supply chain to chance.

Your product orders must arrive to Woolworths on time, accurately packed and in full, every single time. If you can’t meet those requirements, Woolworths won’t work with you. It’s that simple. 

Relevant brand story

A strong brand is vital when you’re looking to make a splash in Woolworths. 

Make sure you have a brand story that is relevant to Woolworths shoppers – supported by a sound marketing and communications strategy both in and out of store.

If you see a problem with your product’s performance, Woolworths will expect you to proactively find out what it is and fix it.

Set clear expectations with the buying team

After the launch of your product, make sure there are no surprises between yourself and the buying team on the performance of your product. 

There are various ways to measure the success of your product. Ensure you set these up front with the buyer and track them regularly.  

Take a look instore

I recently visited Woolworths’ North Kellyville store in Sydney and asked Steve Donohue, Woolworths Buying and Merchandising, a few questions about how Woolworths works with suppliers and what they expect.

Check out the video below for Steve’s answers, as well as a sense of the Woolworths instore experience and how Australian customers will see your products on the shelves. 

Read the video transcript.

Quick facts

Here’s a few more quick facts to bear in mind (some differ slightly to those mentioned in the video as they contain the latest data, which came out post-filming):

More information

If you’d like more information to help you take your business to the next level in Australia, contact the team at NZTE.