Any entrepreneur would recognize a bit of themselves in Marc Lewin, the inventive and bold owner of the specialty food and beverage importer Bevo Vino. Always on the hunt for new opportunities, Lewin drew upon his unyielding determination and marketing savvy to bring the innovative, but largely unknown, European beverage brand C+Swiss to grocery aisles across the US. Continue reading to find out how Lewin incorporated RangeMe into his ambitious go-to-market plan.
C+Swiss — an Austrian brand whose popularity has skyrocketed across Austria, Germany and the rest of Europe — is a packaged iced tea beverage brewed using the seeds from hemp plants grown in Switzerland. The labour-intensive process of distilling the hemp seeds into a sweet, aromatic, THC-free black iced tea is an art form in itself, and Lewin immediately recognized the as-of-yet untapped potential of this product in the US market. In pursuit of this opportunity, Lewin arranged a connection with the brand’s owners through a mutual friend.
A few months later Lewin received his first order containing hundreds of the unique bright-orange CartoCans® — the revolutionary eco-friendly paper cans in which the delectable iced tea is packaged. His next step was to move C+Swiss from his office floor to grocery shelves across America.
A Tool in His Toolkit
Like most entrepreneurs Lewin deeply believes that taking advantage of every available tool is necessary to achieve success. In between attending trade shows and scheduling meetings with acquaintances, Lewin found his niche online where he says he’s found the most success. Prior to RangeMe, he reports, “the majority of my connections were being made through LinkedIn. I am very proactive. I am just relentless – you can’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Lewin came across RangeMe while surfing Ahold’s website and knew right away he’d found an online tool capable of helping him realize his dream. He signed up in February of 2017 and saw his first interested response from Ahold within a month.
Less than a month later a buyer from Hy-Vee, an employee-owned supermarket chain of more than 240 supermarkets throughout the Midwest, reached out via RangeMe to request a sample of C+Swiss. Whereas normally interest from a retail buyer can take many months to materialize into a purchase order, Lewin was able to convert this interested response from Hy-Vee into a purchase order in less than two months.
“The whole process was quicker than it usually takes for a buyer to respond to one of my messages on LinkedIn.”
“This was your dream situation: the buyer reaches out to you instead of you reaching out to them. Soon after they’ve presented the product to their team, you get the final nod and a short amount of time after that you have a P.O. [purchase order]. The whole process was quicker than it usually takes for a buyer to respond to one of my messages on LinkedIn.”
As of press time, C+Swiss has been placed in forty Hy-Vee stores, a number that is growing each day.
On the Horizon
Lewin is already looking toward the horizon. Although Hy-Vee is not his largest account, its strategic importance cannot be overstated because “the name Hy-Vee means something and buyers want to know who has taken a chance on your product.” Lewin’s goal is to leverage this success into many other successes and to focus on trying to do better in stores that already carry his product. As Lewin notes, “getting onto a store’s shelves is only half the battle. Staying on their shelves is just as challenging.”