How to Get Your Product on the Retail Shelves of Convenience Stores
As a manufacturer you will regard your product as the best available in the market which can bring a revolution in customer’s buying trends but for it to be successful, your retailers should have the same vision. Your task does not end at making a revolutionary product but continues till it reaches target customers and is a received with enthusiasm to make it a true winner. So besides making a product manufacturers have to focus their energies on design, packaging and distribution. The worst time to launch a product is during economic depression like now when it is an uphill task to get shelf space in convenience stores.
Most marketing advisors will tell you to look at competitors’ products before you design the size, shape and packaging of your product. Remember that a product will not sell on quality alone, it also has to be priced right and should be available when buyers want them or soon they will lose interest in your product. There are no sure shot techniques about getting your products into retail stores but the common advice any manufacturer will give you is to start small and build your reputation before tackling Grocery Store Chains. There are marketing agencies that can help selling your product across state boundaries but you also have to follow up to see how your product is being displayed and sold.
Here are a few tips about how to get your products into convenience stores and grocery store chains by concentrating on promoting qualities of your product in comparison to competition.
- Starting business on a small scale – Instead of trying to get your products into large store chains concentrate on local grocery store or convenience store which you visit on a regular basis and have a good rapport with their sales folk. Since you are a regular customer they will be more receptive and allow you to demonstrate your product and set up display cart at a strategic place. This will be your first stepping stone to success if you have a good product and customers come back to buy it after trying out the samples you give them after the demonstration.Once you build steady clientele in one store move on to other stores in your area as now you can talk about success which can be verified. Emphasize on your brand while talking about your product if you are keen on using it to sell other products in future. Talk to your retailers about how the display can be improved to gain more clientele and how other similar products have improved their sales and marketing to get some tips.
- Evaluate customer and retailer feedback – Your product may be the best but buyers and retailers would like to know how different it is from existing competitors. When you start selling your product prepare a USP for it which makes it stand out from competitors and use that to sell it to buyers and be ready with a smart answer if they say that another competitor has similar qualities. Listen carefully to each feedback and suggestion you received from buyers and try to improve your product based on the useful ones.
Open up a website about your product and have it emblazoned on your product packaging. This will ensure that your product feedback gets back to you in time and improvements can be made. Keep improving your products and develop clientele in local area before you start talking to large chain stores as then you can have large budget to follow up display with advertisement.
- Make your sales pitch to right people and get your samples packed as mandated by regulations – Whether you are selling a food product, washing liquids, cosmetics or personal care items do not waste your time making a sales pitch before sales people in grocery store chains or convenience store chains as they are not the deciding authority. Though attractive package will not sell a useless product but attractive packaging will get your product noticed and purchased. Understand a store’s current products on display which are similar to yours and try to pitch your product into a niche which has not been explored by existing competitors. This will ensure that you get a fair hearing with the decision making authorities and they do not get rejected.
- Visit Trade shows and exhibitions – Before you prepare yourself to pitch your product before prospective buyers at a trade show or farm show ensure that it will be bringing in the right kind of people. It is advisable to visit trade shows and manufacturers’ exhibitions before you spend on setting up a display to gauge their customers’ quality and media coverage. Market research is crucial for success of any product as it gives you greater insight and details about the kind of competition you are likely to face on launching your product.
- Advertising and promotion – After establishing a regional clientele for your product, the next step forward would be start promotion through online and offline media by making use of social networks to spread word about the qualities of your products. This will encourage buyers to come to you for stocking the product at their stores as customers demand them. Create a demand for your products in unexplored markets by getting brokers on the road and bloggers online to advertise your products across their clientele. This will help create excitement and buzz around your product even before formal launch in all markets.
- Finding the right distributor – Once your retailer base increases to other locations around the state or neighboring states identify a distributor chain which services the stores where your products are stocked. Product distribution is crucial to get your goods delivered on demand at every location so customers do not lose interest in your product and you continue to concentrate on improving your product or developing other products in the same category.
- Checkstand Program – Get your product on the front counters immediately. CSP guarantees placement in anywhere from 200 – 5,000 convenience stores. You can learn more about them here www.checkstandprogram.com.
Convenience Store Distributors Directory-cstoredistributors.com
Convenience/Grocery Chains Directory-cstoredirectory.com
Wholesale Grocers Directory-wholesalegrocersdirectory.com
Keep constantly in touch with your distributors and retailers for steady sales of your products and expansion of clientele. Manage your in-store promotions and displays in collaboration with your retailers and ask them for suggestions. Maintain a regular correspondence with customers and retailers through social media and email.