Selling in the natural channel means wanting more: greater transparency; simple easy-to-read and understand labeling; high-quality ingredients; a commitment to fair trade; a high degree of integrity in the way we conduct ourselves; and a commitment to sustainability.
The level of innovation and creativity that companies put into their brands, their packaging, the company name and the products they sell is impressive. The harsh reality is that consumers won’t buy what they can't find. Companies need to put an equal amount of effort, passion and enthusiasm toward their efforts with the retailer.
This then begs the question: Why wouldn't you put the same passion and energy into growing your business as you put into your products?
Most companies say that they want more sales. While some companies don't know where to find solutions, others make excuses such as, "It's worked in the past" or "Everyone else is doing it this way."
Are you happy with the status quo?
If you continue doing what you've always done the results will always be the same.
Are you happy with your sales growth? Do you have full distribution of all your key items? Are you happy with the return you get for each promotion? If you can't answer these questions with an emphatic "Yes!" then it's time to re-think your go-to-market strategy.
There are a lot of great resources available to help you, but not all resources are created equal. You would never ask someone earning $30,000 a year how to make $1 million. The same holds true for business. Use resources with proven track records of sustainable sales growth with proven brands. Look for resources that offer a different or unique perspective.
The competitive landscape requires manufacturers and retailers to be more strategic as they work together. The old way of selling, relationship selling (retail buying decisions based on gut and friendships), is changing to a more fact-based selling approach (sales pitches that include basic facts about the category).
What retailers need from manufacturers
The next logical evolution is to become a category expert and to help educate the retailer on how to best grow sales and be competitive. This requires that manufacturers take a more active role in the retailer selling process.
Retailers today need to understand category trends plus the "who, why, when and where" that consumers shop the category. Retailers need to develop assortment, pricing and promotional strategies that encourage customers to shop their store. They need to know how to properly merchandise their categories. Consumers don't like being forced to hunt for items.
Consumers want convenience, quality products, knowledgeable and helpful store employees, categories that are easy to shop, fast checkouts and a good value for the price. Manufacturers able to provide these valuable insights will gain a significant competitive advantage—one that the retailer will certainly reward.