What differentiates SportAssist from other distributors?
We have a science based operation. The team spends time testing and developing new innovations and working with athletes. We have a sport science laboratory on site where we study cyclists, triathletes and other sportsmen and women to understand what performance gains can be made by using our products. We then use the data or product development.
We are passionate about the High Street. This is where we want cyclists to find our products and so we spend time developing them, sharing information with High Street retailers and work to drive consumers into these stores. Our CEO, Steve Raven, is constantly emphasising that our marketing strategy is about being ‘big on the High Street’.
It is tough to balance a competitive retail price and maintain a full sustainable long-term margin for our dealers, but this is at the forefront of our distribution policy.
Can you tell us the history behind the Shotz Brand?
It was originally developed for endurance cyclists and triathletes in 1995, but now is used in all sports and activities.
Shotz products are formulated using research from independent studies on sports performance for an unbiased approach to the design and manufacture of each product. Food technologists use it to create products with premium quality nutrition. The Shotz crew is fussy about the type of ingredients used – for example the very low or no sugar content in each product. The Shotz Energy
Gels and Electrolyte Tablets are manufactured in pharmaceutical grade factories that exceed normal food standards.
The Shotz brand is respected by world-class athletes and active lifestyle enthusiasts, and represents superior product quality, state-of-the-art performance nutrition science and unparalleled customer care.
How has the brand grown?
Its growth has been competitive and we’ve had to be innovative with our marketing. The Karl and Todd campaign in 2009 was very successful and we still get people commenting on it today.
We spend a lot of time handing samples to cyclists and athletes and discussing the products with them. Once they’ve tried our products and get good results, they’re generally customers for life.
We’re currently running a voucher scheme where consumers can sample our energy products with participating retailers. It’s seeing fantastic results.
Which products are performing beyond expectations?
The star performer has to be the addition of a second Caffeinated Energy Gel Cola Vanilla which has 80mg of caffeine as well as 30g of complex carbohydrates. The electrolyte products (Lemon and Orange Vanilla) have continued to shine and appeal beyond cyclists and sportive riders, to holidaymakers and music festival enthusiasts.
So what are the key corner stones of the Shotz brand?
There are a few areas to focus on. Firstly, the athlete needs to be put in control. We’ve seen a lack of flexibility and innovation with brands that don’t give the athlete any control over the balance between hydration and energy consumption. All athletes are different and factors such as weather and distance play a part in creating the perfect nutrition solution. That’s why it’s important to have a package that can be tailored to each one.
Secondly, palatability is essential and we spend hours testing our products with athletes. One crucial factor we have discovered is that what tastes great sat in front of the TV may not taste that good when competing and training. We’ve come up with multiple taste and texture combinations so we should have something for everyone. And thirdly, portability is key. Having a solution that can be taken anywhere without the need to prepare powders is vital.
How can dealers get involved with Shotz and SportAssist?
Many dealers are regular riders themselves and so we offer samples to our new accounts and prospective dealers and they are always welcome to request samples before any commitment is made.
Prospective dealers can register online at www.assist.co.uk, and then an account manager will work with the retailer to maximise sales and profitability.
What’s coming up in the near future for Assist and Shotz? All we can say is keep your eyes and ears open for team Assist. Through 2010 and 2011 we will be assembling a very exciting racing team for the new season, and we have some very strong sponsors outside of our brands who wish to join us in this project.