Retail Product Survival……..How it’s done!

Getting your product onto a mass retailer’s shelf is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to product success. Once the product is placed….it goes into the Survival Mode!

Have you ever looked down the aisle at your local Walgreens? What is it that you see? PRODUCTS, millions of them; this friend is the start of your product’s “survival blues.” How on earth are you going to keep this nice perch on this shelf? Only with SALES…SALES…SALES….and more SALES!

Imagine for a second that you are one of those products on that shelf. You’re the little tiny green one sitting next to the big bad L’Oreal bottle. How do you compete with her?

You are the same product, almost, the same ingredients almost, slightly different pricing, but very close to what she  is. Why then, are people picking him up, and not you?  I’ll tell you why…..he has big marketing bucks behind him, and you’re the new untested, unknown guy.

She  has had many, many birthdays in that isle, and you have not. You’re the new guy and what your company does to let customers know where and what you are will determine your success or demise on that shelf.

I have been placing products into retail for many years now and there is one thing that product developers do not have when they come to me with a product for retail, a marketing campaign. They think their job is done when I place the product for them. They are quite shocked when I ask them how they plan on supporting the item now. They think they can go on vacation because in 2 days they will be a millionaire.

There is nothing further from the truth than that my friend. Your job has just begun!

As a company, your products survival depends on how well you are able to let the customer know where they can purchase the product. You need to convince the customer why they want to purchase it and where to go and get it. Statistics show that people buy items after seeing them several, if not many, times previously. That should tell you that you must have a consistent message to the customer so they GO and ask the retailer for your product by name, like L’Oreal. Most retailers want to know how much of an advertising budget the item has, and what exposure it has had. Even more today, they want to make sure the product has a greater chance for success than others. Shelf space is prime real estate now!

Given there are thousands of products in an isle, if you do not have promotion dollars, and some marketing and PR noise, you will just blend and your chances for getting accepted diminish greatly.

How do you do this?

Ø  – acknowledge that if you expect to go into retail, you cannot do it on a $300 marketing budget.

Ø  – acknowledge that you are probable not the only person you should consult with regarding packaging a product for retail. Hire, barter, beg and plead for someone to help you with packaging. Sometimes, most times, it makes the difference in getting your product accepted.

Ø  -you will have to spend time and money on a marketing campaign once your goods hit the shelf, no matter what. This may come in the way of retail advertising dollars or you have to get heard the best way you can- bootstrap marketing.

Ø  -become, or hire, the best product marketer around.



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