You worked hard to develop your product and get it into the marketplace. Gaining distribution at key retailers is the blueprint to any brands' success. So how do you identify the best stores to carry your product?
Define your core consumers
First, you need to identify your core consumers—not just your target customer, but who is most likely to buy your product. Do they come from large families? Do they have a high or low income? Are they college-educated? What is their ethnicity?
These are all important questions that will help you develop a solid marketing strategy that communicates the value, as well as the benefits, of your brand.
Identify key retailers
Next, you need to identify markets and retailers with a similar demographic profile. There are many tools available to help in this endeavor. Spectra is perhaps the most robust tool. It can help you pinpoint the best retailers that match your target demographic footprint. This will help ensure your brand's success with your core consumers.
After you have successfully identified your retailers, pursue distribution in each retailer within your target area. Have your product represented at each of the stores that you identify as key opportunities. This is critical to help you promote more efficiently and effectively and reach the largest audience possible.
Gaining the right distribution in the right stores is perhaps the most critical component of a successful brand strategy.
Get the best shelf placement
Once your product is in distribution, determine where it should be merchandised on the store shelf. Request that your products be merchandised together on the shelf to form a billboard. This will create the greatest impact for your brand image and attract new customers.
Also ask to have your product shelved to the right of the retailers' private-label. This is a spot usually reserved for the number one brand in the category.
Make sure that your product has enough holding power on the shelf so that it doesn't need to be restocked more often than once a week. This might require additional facings of the popular SKUs. Most retailers want a minimum case pack and a half holding power on the shelf.
Request that your product be shelved at eye level. Gain preferred merchandising status by strongly supporting the retailer's initiatives and by driving traffic to their store. Coupons redeemable at the retailer are one example.
Do you struggle with better shelf placement? Share in the comments.
Daniel Lohman is the owner of Category Management Solutions (CMS) which provides innovative strategic solutions for natural and organic CPG companies interested in gaining a significant competitive advantage.