Updated: Mar 13
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There are many brilliant business ideas and products that never see the light of day. Many people mistakenly think if they produce a great product, retailers will put it on their shelves and the product will fly out the door, without really understanding all the steps that go into getting a product into the hands of your consumers.
Understanding The Equation
“The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.” - Rob Kalin
Developing a great product is only one part of the equation. Understanding how to navigate through ‘the market’ is the other part of the equation, and probably the more challenging part.
The major retailers see thousands of new products every year and only a small percentage make it onto their shelves. Most of those products that do make it are from the large multinational suppliers. The major retailers are not usually in the business of creating a market for new suppliers.
So, what are the avenues to market for new or small suppliers? Major national retailers, medium to small operators, independent retailers, online or other direct to market options? Each have their pros & cons and cost of doing business.
The major, national retailers give suppliers instant exposure to large numbers of consumers but expect a la large investment in advertising to support the product. They generally don’t take on new, unknown products unless there is a unique point of difference.
Medium to small operators are more willing to look at new products and small suppliers. They will also expect a sizable investment in advertising but often it is in support of their own advertising programs, but their exposure is more limited, usually to regional or state markets.
Independent retailers are most likely to give new products and small retailers a go. They usually don’t have their own advertising programs to support however you need to reach many independents to gain good product exposure so extensive product representation is necessary and distribution is more challenging and costly.
Online and other direct to market options can be managed by suppliers but there are still many considerations such as the right consumer marketing and high distribution costs.
The Take Away
It is important for a new supplier to understand the intricacies of the market and have a realistic view of what success looks like. Seeking expert knowledge and advice about the marketplace and best strategy for a suppliers’ products is essential and can save a new supplier a lot of time, money, and heart ache.