Robert Hennessy

1. What’s your name and title, what do you do day-to-day in 20 words or fewer?

Robert Hennessy, Founder and CEO RMH Consultancy.

I support brands in developing and executing their retail partnerships strategy.

2. As a retail consultant you help brands reach their goals with a wide range of knowledge and advice. Can you give us a success story for a D2C brand you’ve worked with? E.g. what was the problem? What did you do? What were the results?

SURI (Sustainable Rituals) were a start-up, with sales momentum from their D2C site and Amazon. They wanted to develop specific retail targets, and priority no.1 was the UK’s biggest dental retailer (Boots). I used my network to secure a meeting which led to a listing. This has been transformational for SURI, and we are now working on retailers no. 2 and 3 …… watch this space.

3. You specialise in providing direction for brands across all sizes – what piece of advice would you give to DTC brands who want to improve in this area?

Retail is detail ! Visit the shops you are in, talk to your target customers face to face, listen to their feedback. Use the insights you gain to inform proactive proposals to the Buying Team responsible for your product i.e. promotions, positioning, activations, events. Don’t expect somebody else to drive your sales.

4. What do you think the biggest challenges facing eCommerce/D2C businesses will be over the next 12-18 months?

Retailers become more risk-averse in tough times, and this makes things tougher for start-up / scale-up brands to secure listings. To succeed you need to demonstrate innovation and momentum, a retailer needs to see you as ’no risk low hanging fruit’ it’s our job to make them understand that.

5. Complete this sentence – DTC brands that survive and thrive in 2023 will …

Have clear differentiation, have marketing and PR creating sustained product demand, and transactional opportunities where their target customers shop whether D2C, Online market places or retail partnerships to convert that demand,

6. Name three D2C brands that are killing it and whom you recommend others to emulate/learn from.

SURI – The brand has major growth momentum in a short period of time.
Beauty Pie – One of the hottest, most disruptive and most talked about brands in the UK Beauty market.
Swytch – Are growing well ahead of the market they are in, opening new channels, exploring new international markets, and obsessed (and succeeding) with taking a niche idea and turning it into a mass market opportunity.