“It’s really helpful for them to see what’s trending and to broaden their supplier network, because the coronavirus pandemic has taught us the threat to limiting supply.”
RangeMe was previously a ‘closed’ platform, so buyers in Australia could only access about 20,000 suppliers in this region, while US buyers could only access US suppliers.
Ms Jackson came up with the idea for an online match-making service for packaged goods suppliers and retailers in 2013, after struggling to find buyers to look at an olive-oil based skincare range she developed to ease her baby’s eczema.
RangeMe is a cross between Tinder and Amazon Marketplace – the online platform enables suppliers to ‘hook up’ with retail buyers and category managers, who decide what goes on and what comes off supermarket shelves.
Rather than going through agents or brokers to get a foot in the door, the platform allows suppliers to make direct contact with buyers and start negotiations.
Suppliers upload product information to the RangeMe site, including pricing, photos and pitch videos. RangeMe’s algorithms enable buyers to set preferences and the system recommends products that match their criteria, streamlining the product discovery process.
The platform now lists more than one million products or stock keeping units, up from 210,000 four years ago.
Ms Jackson sold RangeMe to a US private equity-backed marketing company, Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) in 2017, delivering a windfall for Ms Jackson, her husband, Darryl, and other early-stage investors including former Metcash CEO Andrew Reitzer.
The purchase price was not disclosed, but US venture capital investors who pumped $US4 million ($5.5 million) into the business in 2016, valuing it at $16 million, made a significant return on their investment.
Since then, RangeMe’s revenue has grown tenfold and the company has 125 staff in Australia, the US and Europe.
Ms Jackson, who remains a shareholder, invited new suppliers in the APAC region to join the platform for a front row audience to the world’s biggest retailers.
“Now, more than ever, globalisation of the platform is critical to ensure connectivity at a global scale, especially given the ongoing pandemic,” she said.
Australian buyers using RangeMe include health and beauty retailers Blooms The Chemist and Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse, and pet retailers Pet Circle and Pet Culture.