March 31, 2017
I get it, being ‘the new guy’ is hard and if you’re trying to open up retail accounts, it can be disheartening to be told no over and over again. The other day I was talking with a food entrepreneur about just this and he said ‘I don’t get it, why can’t they just buy a case and see if it sells?’
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. We wish that retailers would just bring our products into their stores and see how/if they sell, but the reality is that there’s a fair amount of work that the stores have to do before they can even get that product onto the shelf.
- Make space for it – where is your product going to fit? I’ve said it before, in order for them to put your product into their store they are going to have to take someone else out so who’s going and why is yours going to outperform a current seller?
- Train their staff about it – if you want your product to have a chance at selling, the staff needs to know something about it. At the very least they need to know that the store now carries this product and for more hands-on stores, the buyer will want staff to be able to talk about the product with customers. That type of education of staff takes time and energy. Is your product worth it?
- Get it listed in the POS and inventory – most stores these days have some type of computerized inventory tracking system and potentially also a comprehensive point of sale system that helps ring purchases up. Even if your product packaging already has an approved UPC code and is ready to jump off the shelf and into customers’ baskets, someone at the store still needs to input the product information and price point into the POS. This may not seem like much, but chances are there isn’t just one employee sitting around with nothing to do but enter new product info. (Which, by the way, is also why some stores will only accept new products for certain categories during specific time frames of the year so as to ensure that all this backend works takes place in a timely and organized manner).
I don’t say any of this to discourage you, but instead to help you think about the factors you need to overcome when pitching your product to buyers. ‘It tastes great’ isn’t enough – you need to convince them why the extra work it will take to bring your product in will be worth it to them and their customers.
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