Retail product manufacturers spend a lot of time, effort and money in getting their product placed with a major retailer like Walmart, Home Depot or Best Buy. However, no matter how much planning there goes on at the corporate buying office of these large retailers with their product vendors, there is always a chance that the particular product does not make it on the shelf on time, or it’s priced wrong, or perhaps it’s merchandised in the wrong section of the store causing the end customer to shop somewhere else.
Not seeing the product displayed correctly on the shelf is probably the biggest common frustration from both the retailer and the manufacturer. The retail stores have a lot of tasks on their list. From putting up the signs for the latest promotion to taking care of the end customer, some things on their list realistically don’t get done unfortunately like putting your product on the shelf.
Here are 3 tips to improve your in-store execution with retailers.
- Conduct periodic in-store checks.
This is a very important tip, especially if you are a first-time product vendor launching with a major retailer. As many new product vendors know, the “clock is ticking” as soon as their products are received by the retail store and its’ imperative that the product is on shelf with the correct price. The retail buyer at corporate is looking at her daily sales reports and if there are no sales reported for your products, there is a very good chance your company and its’ products will not be around for the next plan-o-gram refresh.
Conducting periodic checks of stores to make sure your product is not in the stock room but rather on the shelf is very important. While you are not allowed in the stock room, you can ask a sales associate to check to see if your product is in there if you don’t see it out on the retail shelf. If you don’t have the resources to conduct these in-store checks, consider 3rd party agencies like Retailbound that offer mobile in-store audits which offer both photos and quantitative data.
- Simplify the execution of your product in-store.
The easier you make getting your product on display, the chances of success incrementally rise. While this seems common-sense, many product vendors don’t think about the execution of their product instore when planning their retail go-to-market strategy. They think that once the product is shipped to the retailer, it’s their responsibility to merchandise the product, not the vendors. This is definitely incorrect. This should be a partnership between the retailer and the product vendor. The both of you share a common goal – driving sales!
From making sure you have the correct inner packs/master packs set-up for the store to having a corrugated shipper or clip-strip pre-loaded with product at your warehouse, will definitely improve the in-store execution of your product strategy.
- Measure results.
Retail buyers have many software tools at their disposal to help them run their business. As a product vendor, you want to monitor constantly the performance of your products on the retail shelf. Which markets drive the most sales? Which retail promotion was the most effective? Which stores have the most shrink (i.e. theft of your products). Some retailers offer reports weekly or monthly to their vendors. Others have to pull the reports on request. Either way, you want to check on the sales at a minimum monthly to see if there are any anomalies. If sales seem low for a particular region or market, volunteer to check out those stores to see what issues may lie. Perhaps your product was priced incorrectly or was located in the wrong location of the store which may have caused retail sales to dip. Retail buyers managed hundreds or thousands of products so it’s in your best interest to monitor yours. If you see a decline in sales, be proactive and reach out to the retail buyer for assistance. Working with your retail buyer will help fix the in-store issues and hopefully get your sales back on track!
Do you need assistance in checking your product assortment with key retailers? Whether it’s checking 50 stores or 5000 stores, Retailbound Vision can make sure your product is out on the shelf, priced correctly, or to make sure your marketing promotion is actually working. Contact Jeff Griffin at email@example.com for more information.