You wouldn’t go for a job interview if your values or skills didn’t align with the business and the same goes with getting your product in-store.
The same homework and preparation you do for a job interview, should be the kind of homework and preparation you do before you try to get your product stocked in retail. So, think about the things you need to satisfy and treat your venture as a job interview for your product.
There are six main factors that the retailers want. If we’re thinking about these key factors and personifying them into human qualities, this is what they would transfer to:
|WHAT THE TRADE WANTS||HUMAN QUALITIES|
|A clear point of difference||A distinctive personality|
|Compatible values||Ethical and professional|
|Right commercials||Smart with money|
|Know your shopper||Insightful|
|The right marketing mix||Entrepreneurial and enterprising|
A Clear Point of Difference
A distinctive personality
You will need to convince the retailer that you have a clear point of difference that you can bring to your category and that you’re different. Think Pic’s Peanut Butter: they’re another peanut butter in the already prolific spreads category but they promise high quality ingredients (and in this case, very few ingredients), validating the consumer that their product is worth the price point and worth buying.
So, their point of difference is a higher quality product supported by a higher price point. This validates the question ‘what do you bring to the category?’ – whether that be high-quality, or better value, or something new and different. In a market driven by products it’s integral that you are bringing something fresh to the category. Think about why consumers should stop buying existing products and switch to you. ‘Why are you essential to stock?’
This is the same as if you’re hiring someone new in your business. If they can’t bring fresh ideas or stand out from other candidates, then they won’t get the job.
Ethical and professional
Like-mindedness around core values is essential for being stocked by a retailer. They want products that fit with their image and are compatible with what they are trying to provide for their customers. Are you on the same page with them in terms of their family values? Or their desire for sophistication? Or their commitment to sustainability? Or their service excellence? Or desire for an unbeatable range?
How are you going to demonstrate that you are on the ame page? And how can you show that this will add value to the partnership?
You wouldn’t hire a bull to work in a China shop. Aligned values not only benefit your relationship but are integral to the success of your company because trust is everything.
Get the Commercials Right
Smart with money
It is vital to be articulate with the commercials of what you offer. How will your product deliver volume, margin and stock-turn? Retailers want to know how you will add quantifiable value to their business. And they want to know that you know.
An important part of this is to be able to position your products within their category portfolio. Are you in the Good, Better, or Best part of their sales diamond and how do you bring greater commercial value to that model?
A key question that employers ask themselves about job candidates is how will this person contribute to the economic success of the company?
If there’s one acronym you need to remember, it’s D.I.F.O.T. – Delivered In Full and On Time. One thing that retailers can’t stand is empty shelves. And if suppliers can’t maintain a high level of DIFOT they are quickly and severely punished. Having an effectively controlled, reliable supply chain set up is paramount.
A business owner wouldn’t be able to build trust with their employee if they arrived half an hour late to every meeting, or didn’t show up some days. Employees must be dependable.
Know Your Shopper
Knowing precisely who it is that you’re targeting and why they will buy your products is essential to know. This means doing consumer research and understanding your competitive advantages relative to other brands.
Questions to ask yourself are:
- What does the shopper value?
- What is their shopping behaviour?
- Why is your product/brand desirable to them?
People skills and empathy are valuable qualities for any employee. They contribute positively to the most powerful driver of success for most businesses: team culture.
The Right Marketing Mix
Entrepreneurial and enterprising
Now that you’ve constructed the base of how to make your product desirable to the retailer and also the customer, it’s time to attract shopper attention. Think of innovative and creative advertising campaigns that set you apart from the others in the category and show that you know how to drive sales. Retailers want to know what you are planning to do to invest in the success of your brand with things like advertising or promotions. If you are committed they are more likely to also benefit from this support.
Job candidates who have the ability to confidently present themselves, and to sell their potential are generally more likely to stand out from other candidates.
If you tap into these six criteria when you present your products to prospective retailers, you are more likely to succeed.
They’ll be the right products for the job.