You have this amazing product. But, you want to get it out to local retail stores. It’s not as easy as you thought it would be. Here’s what other successful business owners and inventors have done to accomplish that goal.
What’s In It For Me?
First, you need to be able to answer “what’s in it for me?” from the perspective of the retailer. Most people make the mistake of focusing on what the store can do for their product. Instead, think like a business owner. What can your product do for the store and its customers? This is what any rational business owner wants to know, so be prepared to answer that question.
This kind of strategic thinking will knock down barriers and limitations others can’t get past.
For example, let’s say your company sells manual hand tools. These tools are easy to use, and are compact enough to carry with you everywhere. Think about how you would sell them to the retailer. If the goal is to attract the novice home improvement do-it- yourselfer, then you will want to pitch local DIY shops and retailers with your idea.
You might pitch it like this: “Made by DIY’ers for DIY’ers.” You could position yourself as unique in the marketplace and reassure the retailer that it won’t compete with their own brands or cannibalize sales of current product offerings. Rather, it may increase profits and bring in additional revenue from people who otherwise might feel too intimidated to buy DIY tools.
Widen Your Reach
One trap many inventors, entrepreneurs, and business owners fall into is thinking that their product only has local appeal. You may have to travel all over the country, or to different countries, to find a buyer or retailer that’s willing to accept your product.
For example, you might need to travel outside of the U.S. if you’re a U.S.-based business. It’s not uncommon for domestic operations to become international ones by virtue of the product and target market. Of course, if you’re just starting out, you also may not have the money of a mogul. So to save money, you might need to make a firm travel policy or budget before you start booking trips with apps like the travel planner from GoEuro, which will help you find the best travel options and optimize costs.
Take Away The Risk Of Doing Business With You
Retailers are very much risk-averse. They worry about things like the product not arriving on time, unproductive inventory that they have to pay to warehouse, and competitors taking the market share, leaving them with unsaleable product.
They also worry about things like whether there’s a decent market willing to snap up the product, what marketing is being done, and how or if it will displace other products in their current catalog.
You need to convince retailers that none of this is of any real concern.
Financial risk is one of the biggest, and most common, fears. Your company can offset the fear by suggesting a consignment program so that you share the risk with the retailer. In this arrangement, you are sharing profit with the retailer based on the sale of the product. The retailer makes more money than if they had to bear all the risk and buy product up-front. Of course, you do not make as much money if your product sells.
Don’t Be Too Arrogant
Retailers don’t like a “know-it- all.” If they don’t hear you talking about risks, they’ll assume you didn’t do enough due diligence on your market or that you’re intentionally leaving something out. It’s wonderful to come across as passionate. But, you also have to be genuine too. If you don’t know something, then don’t pretend you do. Tell them you will find out the answer and report back. And, when you do, you will accomplish a few things. First, you will let them know that you don’t make things up when you really don’t know something (which is rare these days in a business person). You will also gain their trust and respect.
You want to form a relationship with your retail partners, and this is how you do it.
Megan King works in the retail industry as a buyer and often travels around the world sourcing new products. She is keen to support small businesses as much as possible and enjoys writing articles for business owners from her own perspective as a retail buyer.
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