Monthly Archives: November 2013

Selling at Walmart, Holy Grail or Royal Fail!

Everyone seems to have a new product or idea these days, being an entrepreneur really seems to be the future of work. Making product rapidly, creating a brand and bringing it to market is something that many people are venturing into. Selling on a shelf in Walmart to many seems like the holy grail of product placement, after all then your product is there on the shelf and millions of people can see it and will take it home right. WRONG.

Just because you are granted the opportunity to have shelf space doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a  home run, actually it now means the clock is ticking and your product has to sell or it will be on the watermelon truck back to your warehouse.  I want you to be successful so today, I am going to share with you 2 simple things to remember when taking a product to retail that might help you be more successful:

1. The Retailers don’t know if your product will succeed  They are taking an educated risk by accepting your product for placement and giving it shelf space, it is up to you to prove it to them and position it the correct way. They don’t help you with this. If you position the product wrong you risk failure. There are ways to be certain how to position your product like through market research and consumer research you can ask consumers through online surveys and live surveys what their initial perceptions are of your brand and offering. The key here is to listen to them and apply their requests before presenting the product to the retailer. This will also give you valuable ammunition when a buyer asks you about your products history, if you don’t have sales history at least you attempted to mitigate the retailer’s risk by finding out if consumers want the product or not. Don’t be afraid of what they will tell you if it isn’t a good idea, you want to know now instead of later. Fail fast and fail often is my theory.  Also just because you get and unfavorable idea on an initial market study, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost, you can improve your idea sometimes by just tweaking things or taking a look at the product from a different angle. Like repositioning it to a specific target market or trying to rebrand common items under your own brand with a specific spin or twist. (Think Shamwow or SlapChop)

2. Present your product well when you pitch to the buyer
Give your product the chance that it deserves, make it shine. My rule is just be amazing, think of what you would want to buy and sell them that. Hopefully by the time you have your meeting with the buyer you will have practiced your pitch on many people. Make sure you have the pitch narrowed down to the following:
A. Your unique selling proposition: What one single selling point makes your product the best.
B. Why your price is better than anything in the market place: The war at retail is with price, when you have an idea you must make sure you are priced competitively for the category or that you are innovating into a new category so you wont be compared.
C. Your deal is crafted around the consumer: The art of the deal is what makes people buy things, its the two for one, the added bonus item, the longterm continuity, even the size of the box has to be specially considered for what the market wants. Sometimes small things make people spend their money.
D. Your positioning: The specific positioning of a product if too narrow or too broad can ruin your chances of retail success, you have to give your product the best chance at success by positioning it correctly to the buyer before it gets on the shelf.
E. Your method of driving the sales in the retail environment: How will you help this product sell through, running ads online, doing press? You must decide on this strategy before you pitch the product and incorporate the strategy into the pitch. Make sure your media method of choice caters to the target market of people you think will buy the product. Everyone is to broad! Don’t boil the ocean pick a group get to know them and target them.

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Blog entry by Pitchmen