BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — AMBEST, a member-owned, nationwide network of independent truck stops and service centers, is partnering with RangeMe to scale its sourcing efforts and create a greater product assortment.
Many AMBEST locations are family-owned businesses that readily connect with and focus on their customers. Creating a more tailored assortment of products helps foster that connection with their consumers, the association stated.
"For years, independent truck stops and c-stores have not had exposure to innovative and trending product lines," said Shane Vasel, director of Purchasing at AMBEST. "Our members are often family-run stores and don't have a lot of time to attend trade shows. By giving our members access to RangeMe, they can leverage the platform to source product lines at scale like the larger retail chains do."
Through the partnership, AMBEST will have access to more than 175,000 suppliers on RangeMe. Additionally, suppliers interested in connecting with AMBEST can submit their brand and product information to the retailer directly through the platform.
"We're excited to partner with AMBEST as consumers today are seeking out travel centers and convenience stores for more than just convenience," RangeMe founder and CEO Nicky Jackson said. "By leveraging the RangeMe platform, AMBEST will be able to keep up with evolving consumer trends in the c-store category that consumers need and want."
RangeMe, an ECRM company, released its annual end-of-year Retail Recap report featuring data for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry that directly informed retail buying decisions. The report showcases data that supports trends across the industry — like retail buyers turning to online product sourcing to find the products consumers wanted and needed in the wake of the global pandemic, which in turn sparked a digital transformation that turned CPG on its axis, RangeMe stated.
"When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, RangeMe became an even more important tool for retail buyers, as a place where they could continue discovering innovative products in emerging categories," Jackson said. "The platform has provided a wealth of data, and we're excited to help our retail partners leverage that to find new items to add to their product lineups."
Data gathered and analyzed from the RangeMe platform established new product trends throughout the year and brought to light three key trends:
Personal virus protection
In 2020, the COVID-19 Supplies and Essentials collection saw a dramatic increase in growth across categories, including frozen foods, pasta sauces, diapers and toilet paper.
What's more, the health and beauty category, which saw 50-percent product growth in 2020, played a significant role in increasing the visibility of personal virus protection products, as buyers searched for health-conscious products and better-for-you products.
The personal virus protection products trend is further supported by high-growth keywords that most buyers searched for on the platform, including face masks, and disinfectants, among others, RangeMe reported.
The global pandemic gripped the United States in 2020, but the country was also embroiled in a social justice revolution that deeply impacted peoples' lives. As a result, the RangeMe platform saw an uptick in searches for brands that were accredited with certifications such as women-owned, Black-owned, minority-owned and more.
Sustainable and certified products have been growing in popularity over the past decade, and RangeMe data shows that trend isn't slowing down. In 2020, general merchandise, for example, experienced a 52-percent growth in products on the platform, and searches in this category focused on brands with certifications that included Fair Trade, USDA Organic, Clean Label certified and more.
To download the full Retail Recap report, click here.