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Field Sales

3 Action Steps to Get Your Product in Stores

Rather than using a distributor, you’ve decided to directly sell your product to retail stores. This can be the right move for younger brands that don’t have the budget or volume to outsource just yet. Whether you’re trying to land your first retailer or expand into a new area, getting your product into a brick-and-mortar store can seem daunting.

Take a deep breath, put on some Beyoncé, and run through these three steps to nail your next pitch and get your product in stores.

 

Step 1: Ace Your Packaging

Maybe you’ve only sold online, where you’re able to provide descriptions, multiple images or even tutorials with your product. Maybe you’ve sold at trade shows or at product fairs where you can explain your product to a customer directly. In a retail setting, your product has to stand out on its own. Your packaging has to pop in order for a retailer to put your product on their shelves.

 

ACTION: Grab your product. Try to look at it with fresh eyes and honestly answer these questions about your packaging:

    • Does it communicate my product’s features, benefits and values?
    • What makes my packaging better than my competitor’s?
    • How well does it literally sit on the shelf? 

 

Look at how Grillo’s Pickles made sure their product fits perfectly on a Whole Foods shelf when stacked two containers high. They get twice the exposure than if they’d used a container that wasn’t space-sensitive.

 

 

Step 2: Know The Retailer And How You'll Fit

In order to get your product in a retailer’s store, you can’t just lean on the quality of your product. In Step 1 you looked at your packaging. If your product sells best on an endcap, does the retailer even use them? Ahead of any meetings, try to find out what the store’s pricing strategy is and if they have slotting fees. Learn more about the store’s brand, the tone it aims for, and the promotion strategies it uses, by scanning its social media. Do an incognito store walkthrough on your own before your pitch.

 

ACTION: Open a note on your phone and make a list of questions to ask yourself when you scope out the store. Include these three questions:

    • Where in the store will my product go?
    • How many shelves and/or slots do I want? How does that compare with other products?
    • Look at who’s shopping and what they’re buying. Does my product match the customer persona?

 

Hear how Tom First, co-founder of Nantucket Nectars, advises companies to analyze retailers in our free Field Marketing Certification course! 

 

 

Step 3: Practice Your Pitch, And Then Practice Some More

Your pitch should be in person, not over the phone. This also gives you an opportunity to bring the retailer samples of your product. Practice the highlights and be prepared to answer the nitty-gritty, but respect the buying manager’s time as well. He or she could be busy doing three jobs at once and you want whatever time you have to count. Having a sell sheet with all the important information is key, but don’t have your nose in it during the pitch. Know your product inside and out. Practice in the mirror or in front of your dog if you have to. (Seriously. It works).  

 

ACTION: Make a sell sheet. Try Canva, an easy-to-use resource for building print marketing tools like this. Consider including the following:

    • A clear design: it should be cohesive with your logo, brand, color scheme, etc.
    • Product images: include what it looks like on display
    • Pricing information: can cater the sheet to the retailer, showing you understand their pricing structure
    • Ordering information
    • Customer testimonials and social media accounts: these show brand equity
    • Your contact information
    • A call-to-action

 

See how Central Waters Brewing made sure the design and colors of its sell sheet mirrors the bottle's design. Check out these examples by Zevia as well. It uses the same style across three sell sheets but caters each to the store it's trying to sell to.

 
  

Now you know how to get your product in stores and crush your retail goals! Above all else, you won't get anywhere if you don't believe in yourself and your product. Be confident and listen to Bill. 

 

 

Download the exclusive eBook

81% of brands are frustrated with their ability to drive execution in the store. In this guide we show you how to find the execution opportunities that move the needle on sales.

Sarah Mooney

Sarah is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly. With a background in broadcast journalism, advertising and as a brand ambassador, Sarah is always looking for ways to connect with readers through concise, visual and interesting content. On the weekends you'll find her hitting a trail or at a live show.

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