As always I try to make these posts very concise and to the point. This one deals with two specific points that your retailer or distributor buyers care about most. It basically boils down to time and money. But to understand the significance and incorporate changes into your business requires some effort on your part.
These two factors that your buyers care most about involve your ability as a manufacturer to drive sell-through for your products and your ability to actively manage your marketing programs, products, and communications with the buyer.
Besides making your buyer money, managing your accounts is crucial for a mutually beneficial relationship. Many newer or smaller manufacturers have the idea that the retailer or distributor will do all the marketing and promotions for you. This is a sure-fire way to see less-than optimal sales figures with those channels.
You need to remember that just because the buyer decided to put you on their shelf doesn’t mean they’ll give you special treatment over the hundreds or thousands of other SKU’s they have. You should treat all your channels as opportunities rather than sure-things. Consider your channels an opportunity to expose your products to new, potential customers. Nothing is guaranteed and assuming sell-through can be costly.
The best way to grow in retail is to intelligently and gradually build your sales history both online and in-store. Nurturing your relationships with your buyers is a necessity if you’re ever to become a vendor-partner and receive repeat purchase orders.
Although many newer/smaller manufacturers think the opposite, it’s much easier to get into a channel than it is to stay there long-term. Both sell-in (direct sale) and sell-through are easier said than done of course.
Learning how to scale appropriately:
When you have a product that’s “taking off” or expected to gather a lot of buyer interest, it’s important to consider how your business will deal with the fast-paced burden of retail.
If you’re expected to actively provide management, marketing, and support sales for a growing number of channels plus still carry out your normal duties… you’ll find that a lot of tasks start falling through the cracks.
For example, at Retailbound we have a number of clients who had done very well on their crowdfunding campaigns or had good existing online sales; however, retail was an unfamiliar area where many product engineers and CEO’s don’t feel comfortable with.
Rather than try and learn-by-doing (or learn-by-failing) we come in and literally take care of all aspects of retail for them so that the two things buyers care about sell-through & channel management (time & money) are in good hands.