5 Steps to Placing Your Product in a Retail Chain [Infographic]

Get your products on the shelves of major retail chain stores

by Karen Waksman

Follow the five steps below, and watch your sales grow as your product is sold in the retail stores you are interested in!

Do you have a great product that you KNOW people would buy… if only they saw it in a store?

Getting a product onto a retail store shelf is one of the greatest challenges that manufacturers, inventors, distributors, and product companies face.

The challenge increases in difficulty as the size of the store and the amount of competition increases; however, the big box stores are those that would yield the most sales of a product!

Karen Waksman, Founder and CEO of Retail MBA

Karen Waksman, Founder and CEO of Retail MBA

More and more commonly, big box retail stores are slimming down the number of products they offer and increasing the standards of performance required to keep a product on the shelf.  This makes the big stores more difficult to get into; consider this quote from an article published in 2013 by a major US marketing firm:

Costco is an example of a retailer that excels at preselecting products for its customers. The company carries, on average, only 4,000 SKUs and has strict performance requirements for items to stay on the shelf.

How many products does Costco decline to offer their customers?  Hundreds, if not more, per month.  This is a common response from the larger stores to new products.

Many product managers or business owners try to place their products on a retail store shelf, but most people fail.

Take a good look at the Infographic below, and use it as a basic checklist to help get your product into a retail chain …

5 Steps to Placing Your Product in a Retail Chain [Infographic]

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Getting past the “gatekeeper” of retail stores can be nearly impossible – unless you know the key steps to take to “speak their language”.

Step 1: Go Shopping At The Retail Store You Are Hoping Will Offer Your Product

Karen Waksman of RetailMBA.com recommends you go shopping in the retail store and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How does my pricing compare to my competitors’ products? Is it better or worse? If it is priced higher, why?
  • Does the size, shape and look of my packaging fit in this retail store?
  • How is my product unique or better than my competitors’ products currently being sold in the retail store?
  • Does my product add value to the retail store’s product line?
  • Does it fill a need that is not currently being addressed by the retailer?

Step 2: Review The Vendor Portal of the Retail Store

Prior to your meeting with a chain store buyer, you should review the retailer’s vendor portal, according to Waksman. A vendor portal is the section of the retailer’s website that explains everything you need to know in order to do business with them. It will provide you information such as:

  • Liability limits of product liability insurance requirements. Is it $1 million per occurrence or $5 million per occurrence? It is important to know in advance because the higher limits of liability the more expensive the insurance premium. You may need to increase your asking price to cover the cost of insurance.
  • How you are expected to handle UPC codes.
  • How to set up a D&B number effectively.
  • Proof of insurance certificate requirements.
  • A list of buyers’ names with the categories of products for which they’re responsible.

Step 3: Present A Good Money Story To The Retail Store Buyer

One of the primary failings of many businesses when approaching the buyers of a retail chain store is the lack of a good money story, says Waksman.

A buyer’s job depends on providing their retail chain stores products that will sell well. They are always looking for the next great product that will help their chain store be successful.

Tip: Stop spending your time on the features and benefits of your product and spend your time explaining to the buyer how your product is going to make them money.

Elements of a good money story:

  • Identifies other retail store chains that are currently selling your products.
  • Demonstrates understanding of the retail chain’s ideal customer base.
  • Shows proof of current sales to their preferred customer.
  • Discloses important numbers, such as how many products you have already sold and in what markets (online, retail, boutique, etc)
  • Details your role and activities in helping them to sell your products once they are in the stores. For example, point-of-purchase displays, radio or TV advertising.
  • Introduces other products you plan to make available in the future. This may help generate a long term relationship and ease the entry of future products into their chain stores.

Partners for success: a retail buyer’s ultimate goal

Buyers want to know how you are going to help them be successful. Their success depends on putting products in the stores that fly off the shelves.

Your success depends on convincing them your products will fly off the shelves.

Step 4: Bring Your Product With You When Meeting With A Retail Buyer

Buyers are very busy so this step outlines the most effective and efficient ways to make your product presentation.

First, it’s important to let the buyers touch, feel and experience your product while in the meeting. While this sounds obvious, it appears many sellers will show up to meetings with the product, but not the packaging.

The packaging is important to the buyer because it allows them to visualize how your product will fit in their retail chain.

Does your packaging easily explain to the consumer exactly the purpose of your product and the benefits of owning such a product?

Marketing materials

The buyers want to be able to look at your ads and packaging and know what your product is and does. You have to be able to explain that in five seconds or less.

Buyers do not want a long-winded presentation about your product. They are visual and want to know things quickly.

  • Pictures of the product and the packaging should be deliberately included in the marketing piece so the buyer can see your product in action.
  • Put everything on one page so it is easy for the buyer to review.
  • On the ad, provide simple bullet points that explain how the product will make the retail chain money. For example, “Sales have doubled yearly.”
  • Features and benefits should be clearly visible in the ad and packaging and take five seconds or less for the buyer to understand.

Buyers are inundated daily with marketing materials. They will be thrilled you made it simple but effective.

Less is more when it comes to marketing collateral with chain store buyers

Step 5: Keep It Simple, And Be Confident

The fifth and final step Waksman offers is to not overwhelm the retail buyer. In other words, if you have five products in your product line, do not drop all five on the retail buyer’s desk and ask them to pick.

You are selling confidence. Pick a product and tell the buyer why you think this product is exactly right for them and why this product will succeed in their retail chain.

Show them your bestseller or the product that best fits their target market. Then tell your story about future product options at the end of the meeting.

Buyers detest sloppy, unorganized meetings. They want clients who are organized and come into the meeting ready to show them exactly which product they should buy.

By following these five steps, your product will not only be seen by retail buyers, but will be evaluated and given true feedback.

Your short, simple, and well-organized presentation will take your product to the next level and get you into the retail stores you know will catapult your product’s success!

What About Protecting Your Business from Product Liability Claims?

Did you know that product liability protection is critical for all manufacturers, distributors, importers and wholesalers involved throughout the product chain of commerce?

It only takes one product related lawsuit to financially ruin your small business and having the right insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Getting the right insurance coverage does not have to be complicated if you work with an agency like SADLER. The insurance experts at SADLER understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your business and industry.

If you would like to learn more about product liability prevention or are ready to get a customized product liability insurance quote, simply apply online now or call Paul Owens toll free at 1-800-622-7370.

There are absolutely no obligation or commitments, and your quote will be sent in just a few hours in most cases.

With no application fees and the most competitive rates in the industry, you’ve got nothing to lose!

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