5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching with A RetailerJun 02, 2021
written by Josanta Gray Emegano
Placing your online-only product in stores can help you elevate your customer’s experience and increase overall brand awareness. While it’s a large task ahead, it does require a different launch plan than what you’re used to. Before you take this next step, here are five questions you should ask yourself before launching with a retailer.
1. What problem does my product solve in the marketplace?
Build a product that your customer really needs. Seek out unsolicited feedback on your products to unveil if your product truly addresses the pain points of your customers. Once you’ve identified any major issues or inconveniences of your customers, then you can work on solving them quicker, easier, or cheaper than solutions that already exist.
2. What is my point of difference compared to my competitors?
There’s enough room in the market for everyone. But it’s important for you to understand what your key points of difference are compared to your competitors. Is your solution cheaper? Does it help the customer get to their end result quicker? Do you provide a larger size at a better value? When you meet with a retailer, highlighting these points of difference will help the buyer determine why they should make room for your product on their shelves.
3. Which retailer would be the best fit for my product?
Not all retailers are created equally. There are many types of retailers out there. They are categorized based on customer behavior, the products they carry, and how they are offered to their customers. You have about eight different types of retailers to choose from which include big box (ex: Target, Walmart), grocery stores (ex: Whole Foods, Ralphs), department stores (ex: Nordstrom, JCPenney), specialty stores (ex: Ulta, Sephora), drug stores (ex: Walgreens, CVS), home shopping (ex: QVC), convenience stores (ex: 7-Eleven), and discount stores (ex: TJMaxx, Ross). Perhaps you offer a very prestige item, therefore a discount store like Ross may not be where you want to launch immediately. Therefore, you’ll need to take a look at your product assortment and determine which of these categories will be the best fit for your products.
4. How will my product bring value to the retailer?
Before having your first meeting with a retail buyer, have a stance on what value you would bring to that retailer. What is it about your product that would make a buyer take a chance on your product? Do you have a unique customer base that they haven’t tapped into yet? Do you have a large social media following that will bring traffic to their stores? Shelf space in a retailer should be treated like real estate. Therefore, the buyer needs assurance if they give you this precious real estate that you will prove your value. Have an idea of what points or data you’d like to present to the buyer to convince him or her that you’re worth betting on. Check out our How to Pitch a Retailer course to learn how to showcase your brand's best assets.
5. If I’m chosen, can I meet all of the fulfillment deadlines?
Arguably, after launching with a retailer, staying there is the hardest part. Brands get booted from stores just as quickly as they arrive due to low sales, lack of inventory, and decreasing customer awareness. If you’re green lit for a launch, can you handle the volume of orders that are inevitably coming your way? Have you figured out your product calendar and how long it would take you to restock? Do you have a third-party logistics provider who has experience working with this retailer? Check out our course How to Build a Product Business to learn what types of questions you should be posing to these partners before moving forward. Keeping up with demand will be the key to your success at retail.