Getting in front of the right buyer at large retailers is a tough nut to crack so once you’ve been successful it’s paramount that you present your brand in the best possible way.
Top tips on what buyers look for
Broadly speaking, there are five key things that retailers are interested in when they look at your brand:
The fit of your brand with their business and their shoppers
How well do you understand your retailer’s business and their shoppers? What’s important to their business and to their key decision makers?
Obviously, the level of understanding will depend on the size of the retailer but always make sure you always do your research. Spend time looking at their website, go and visit their stores, and speak to store managers. Do your online research reading up on press articles and interviews with senior management.
Then, get into the minds of their shoppers. Who are they? How often do they shop? How much do they spend? You should be able to find out some of this information online (you can look at Alexa.com for website user profiles). Alternatively you can search for retailer consumer profiles and use current industry reports such as Datamonitor or Experian (in the UK). And you can always take a trip to store and look at some shoppers in action in real life.
Once you’ve done your research, create your sales story based around your retailer’s key interests and core shopper to develop a plan that will give them a point of difference.
The point of difference that you can bring to help the retailer beat their competition
Depending on the retailer, there are a number of routine tactics that you can use to develop a point of difference, including:
- in store sampling
- point of sale
- advertising in retailers’ magazines, posters or brochures
- promotional investment; local or national advertising (ideally for large retailers only)
- telesales activity
- staff incentives
And never be afraid to propose something a little out of the ordinary. Think beyond the rate card and be creative with your retailers to attract shoppers to their store.
A simple example: innocent drinks in the UK
innocent run their Big Knit campaign in Sainsbury’s to raise money for Age UK. For the campaign to be a success, innocent had to understand what was important to Sainsbury’s and create an engaging plan that met both companies’ objectives.
It could be argued that this strategy is a little counter intuitive, that if you help one retailer gain a competitive advantage, then you could offend every other retailer. But that’s not the case. In fact, I’ve seen successful start-up brands navigate their way by keeping a key retailer on side while simultaneously supporting one or two others.
But don’t try and put too many eggs in your brand’s basket by chasing down new business in every retail channel. Instead, find those retailers who naturally attract your target audience and focus on them, rather than spending time trying to win business or support every retailer you could do business with.
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