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Three Tips for Getting Your Product on a Major Retailer's Shelves

May 15, 2012  
You have a solid brand, a great product, and you'd like to see your stuff on the shelves of major retailers. But how do you achieve this goal? Typical strategies include hiring a sales representative, attending trade shows, and encouraging friends to request it at their favorite stores. Vanessa Ting suggests, at MarketingProfs, three other ways to grab a retailer's attention:

Build a solid business case. Create a narrative that shows a prospective retailer what your product can do for their business. "Developing a business case with sales data, and aligning it with the retailer's goals and objectives is key to getting the attention of a buyer," she notes. "Without that, a Target or Wal-Mart buyer, for example, will not even give you the time of day."

Scale your business slowly. Gain a solid footing with small and midsize retailers before approaching the major players—they'll expect a track record of healthy sales for one or two years. "You are not going to go from having your product available at zero stores to having it on Target shelves overnight," she says.

Analyze how retailers merchandize your category. A buyer is unlikely to cut you short if your pitch is built around objective insights on growing sales for the entire category. "And, by the way," Ting adds, "those recommendations should include adding your brand."


The Po!nt: Getting your product onto the shelves of a major retailer isn't easy—but with the right product and the right strategy, it can be done.

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  • by Maryna Tue May 15, 2012 via web

    Thank you for a great article! My research is currently focused on sportswear retailers and how custom-made team sportswear manufacturers can reach the local retail shops (B2B approach). Which access points for marketing and communication do you think are the most effective and efficient in this case?

  • by Michael Goodman Tue May 15, 2012 via web

    Don't underestimate the value of legitimate market research conducted by an independent research firm when you're preparing the business case. The major retailers are used to seeing this kind of support from major suppliers and manufacturers, and they understand that results from properly planned and analyzed research is the next best thing to an in-market test.

  • by Jeannette A. Tue May 15, 2012 via web

    As a Category Management/Space Management professional of 12 years I'd have to add, that educating the buyer about the category is essential. What are other retailers doing with this category that they aren't? Also will your new item cannibalize or provide incrementality to category? No retailer wants another "me too" brand on their shelves just cannibalizing each other.

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