How should a retailer market my product?
This article first appeared August 30, 2011.
I’m talking to a retailer about stocking my products but we haven’t really touched upon how they will display and market it. Should I push for displays, ads, etc, even though I’m new to the game?
There is no blanket answer to this question as every retail chain has different systems.
Some retailers will demand to see your marketing plan and advertising budget, others will include you in their plan.
The real answer is that you need to negotiate with each chain or individual store. But you must make sure that you have your own plan in place.
I think this is a case of working together on the best way to sell your product.
Unfortunately, there are retailers who expect you as the supplier to pay for everything and see themselves as simply the real estate you use to reach out to the customer.
The danger in this retailer approach is that there is now digital real estate for you to sell your product and unless you can be assured of customer service for those people who go into the retail store your advertising budget could very well be a waste of funds.
Of course, where your product is displayed is critical but it is often based on the advertising budget you have or how much you are prepared to pay the retailer for space.
My experience is that smaller stores will be more flexible and interested in your product if it is high quality and price competitive.
They will also probably have staff who are keen to sell.
In some retail chains in Australia now there seems to be no sales training and no customer service and your product may languish on the shelves because of this.
On the other hand if you have a large budget for advertising, a chain will give you immediate and national exposure.
I am sure retailers have different rules for different categories, so it is hard to generalise.
My tips are these:
- Have a plan for the way you can see your product leaving you and reaching the customer.
- Don’t rely on the retailer to promote your product in any way.
- Understand that the retailer offers a piece of real estate only and you need to be clear about how you can best benefit from that.
- Find out from the buyer exactly how you can best work together. Be clear about yours and their expectations.
Take into account the currently poor retail and general economic climate. Make sure your product has enough customer benefits to overcome this challenge.