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How to Get Your Products on Shelves in Retail Stores

April 1, 2022

Transitioning from an eCommerce store to having your products in retail stores is no easy feat.

Like any other investment, transitioning into retail stores could significantly pay off and offer many benefits.

However, getting a retailer to place your products on their shelves will be one of your largest hurdles as a business owner, and this guide will help you overcome this challenge.

Benefits of getting your products in retail stores

Whenever possible, take full advantage of any opportunity to display your product before a wider audience, which retail stores provide.

In addition to the convenience that comes from stocking retail store shelves with your products, other benefits include:

  • More sales – retailers already have an established relationship with customers and also have experience marketing products like yours.
  • Wider geographical reach – depending on the scope of the retailer, retail stores enable you to sell your product in more places and to more people, which allows you to penetrate new markets without the typical standard cost of doing so.
  • Growth opportunities – after succeeding with a smaller retailer, you can provide sales proof documents to larger retailers, which will help you secure a contract with one of the larger retail stores.
  • Cheaper operation costs – landing your product on the shelves of a retail store eliminates delivery costs and the need for expensive marketing campaigns to gain exposure.
  • Market and sell products – you can shift the responsibility of selling the product to the retailer and increase sales by offering product training, incentives, and promotional materials.

Before you can reap these benefits, you must understand the retailer’s needs and secure your spot on their shelves.

How to get your products in retail stores

Scaling too quickly could lead to disaster, so consider whether your business is ready for the demands that come with being in retail stores.

You must consider whether you have enough product to support your eCommerce store and wholesale to retailers to avoid a situation where you can’t ship to your online customers due to the overwhelming demand to supply retailers.

To ensure you avoid this disaster, review your manufacturing process to assess if it can meet the increase in demand.

Also, it’s important to review your profit margins because if it’s already slim, you may not be able to sustain a lower wholesale price to retailers.

Following your review of your processes, if you decide that retailing your products makes financial and logistical sense, you can follow these steps to get them into retail.

  1. Research your target market and choose the right retailer

When starting, it’s wise to target a retailer you regularly shop from since the store owners may already be acquainted with you, but you also want to ensure it’s a store where your customers will shop.

Then, you can start having conversations with the store owners about their buying cycles, buyer information, and customer preferences. Having a clear understanding of these questions will help you determine if that retailer will be a good fit for you and if you are a good fit for them.

After gathering more information, consider the store layout, location, customer demographic, and the retailer’s need for a product like yours. If the location and customer demographic work well with your target market and the retailer needs the product you offer, you likely have found a great option to start with, and you can begin preparing to pitch your product to them.

  1. Know what makes your product unique

When a retailer considers adding a product to its inventory, they will ask what makes your product different from the rest.

To adequately answer this question, consider the following:

  • How does your product compare to your competitors?
  • Do you use any materials or ingredients that are unique to your brand?
  • Do you fulfill the needs of specialty niches, such as vegans?
  • How does your price compare to your competitors?

You must be ready to sell your product’s uniqueness at any moment, so being well-versed in what makes your product different from others is a necessity.

  1. Nail your packaging

When deciding whether to add a product, retailers will consider if the product fits the store, so the packaging needs to leave a lasting impression.

Your packaging should catch customers’ eyes while browsing through the aisles to make the retailer comfortable offering your product to their customers.

Bringing some sample products with you to the retailer can help them envision what your product would look like on their shelves and could help sell them on it.

  1. Perfect your pitch

Making your pitch in person is a must when trying to get into retail stores, and you should prepare a detailed pamphlet that thoroughly explains your product and must-know information about it, such as price points and what makes it unique.

While making your pitch, you should discuss your current sales and anything else that may show buzz around your product, like a large social media following.

Include details to prove the audience drawn to your product is the same the store is trying to attract and prove to them that you will deliver in full and on time.

  1. Leave them with a sell sheet

Often, retailers will request time to consider your product, so leave them with a sell sheet to help them make their decision.

A sell-sheet contains critical information about your product, including what makes it better than the competition, price layouts, product samples, patent documents, photos of the product, and your contact information.

You can think of your sell sheet as a pitch summary, which will be handy when the retailer sits down to consider your product.

Without a strategy and retailer research, it will be nearly impossible to secure a spot on the shelves of a retail store.

By following these steps, you will be prepared at every turn and can make your product stand out in the sea of competition.


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