A New Retail Growth Model for Product Startups

This blog post talks about the explosion of product startups and why the retail growth model at Retailbound is an answer to complete this “ecosystem” of turning these startups into stable companies.

Today’s Scenario:

There’s never been a better time to be a consumer product entrepreneur. Manufacturing has improved for small scale companies. Crowdfunding provides easier market testing and production funding. Accelerators and incubators providing resources to startups are abundant.

With a finished product, it’s relatively easy to create an Amazon presence and build out your own eCommerce platform. While selling direct to customers can provide a solid stream of revenue, maximizing/scaling product sales requires a retail or distribution presence.

It doesn’t take long to realize that retail is complex, expensive, and competitive. Many startups and product entrepreneurs are tech-oriented having spent years as engineers, developers, or designers.

The Problem:

A gap in experience, resources, and available time makes the leap into retail extremely difficult. Having enough financing is usually the limiting factor. Certifications, testing, manufacturing, overhead, mistakes, and many other costs exist to make your product a reality. But once you do all the hard work to get production ready shouldn’t sales and retail be the easy or fun part?

Most product brands choose between three main routes to build out a retail presence:

  • Hiring new employees
  • Hiring manufacturing reps
  • Using a distributor

While all three of these resources are valuable, individually they do not address the unique challenges of a small product brand. Most product brands can’t afford to hire employees and don’t have the internal retail expertise required to manage and support a sales rep force, distributor’s efforts, or other “back-end” retail operational activities.

Distributors in particular can take a lot of retail work off your plate – for example customer support, sales, and warehousing. However, you still need to work with them to execute marketing strategies, educate their team on your product, control the MAP, and many more daily activities.

Finding a retail or distribution channels to bring on your product can be difficult, but many of these new product brands end up failing due to a lack of sell-through and management NOT sell-in (end-consumer sales vs direct sales to resellers).

Hiring a new employee with the right experience is difficult enough – let alone finding someone who understands the challenges of being a new brand. On top of that this employee needs to bring a myriad of resources to sell and navigate your entire retail strategy from paper to execution. This responsibility could be given to several employees and it would still be a lot of work.

A Solution:

Having a complete retail team and proven expertise to prepare, establish, and scale out a retail presence is now possible for much less than hiring a single employee. And this is where Retailbound comes in.

Having decades as large-chain retail buyers – such as Best Buy or Staples – Retailbound experts are at the center of up-and-coming product brands to actively handle any or all retail activities in North America (see slide below).

Typically this role is called a Retail Channel Manager and starting salary for individuals starts at about $75,000/year. This is an overarching role to fully manage and execute on all sales channel activities.

Clients of Retailbound are able to:

  • Launch more efficiently and avoid mistakes due to seasoned experts
  • Accelerate ROI through extensive retail relationships
  • Achieve long-term growth via repeat POs and proper channel management
  • Spend less money due to saved time, avoid hiring full-time employees, multiple employee roles under one solution.

Conclusion:

Yes, this blog post was a clear plug for Retailbound; however, the underlying theme is that a new retail model exists. Retail can be slow to change it’s ways to cater to startups and new product innovations, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for that change.

If you’d like to know more about Retailbound and the work we’ve done for our startups and smaller manufacturers don’t hesitate to connect, comment, or email me (Benjamin Ertl) at bertl@retailbound.com