Hit the Shelves: 6 Steps to Getting Your Products Into Retail Stores

Moving from e-commerce to retail is a big step for any business to take. The payoff could be huge—big wholesale orders, new customers, and getting your products into destinations they’ve never been before.

Getting your product into stores sounds exciting because it is. But it’s also a move that requires a strategy to pull off just right.

We recruited an expert entrepreneur to give you the details on how to get your product into stores and the benefits of taking the leap from a website to store shelves.

Meet Mike D

Michael De Los Santos is better known as Mike D, since that’s the name you’ll see on his line of barbeque sauces and rubs.

Mike discovered BBQ on a trip to North Carolina as a kid and went on to start a BBQ sauce blog while working at a food truck. As he reviewed sauces, he just couldn’t seem to find the perfect one. So he decided to make it himself.

Mike D's BBQ sauces and rubs
Mike D’s ​BBQ

Now, Mike D’s BBQ can be found all over the eastern United States. Mike started online, grew into his own store in Durham, North Carolina, and now his sauce can be bought at dozens of retailers—one as far away as northern Wisconsin.

Mike has won multiple awards for his sauces and rubs and was even featured on Discovery Channel’s I Quit series, where he shared how he turned his business dream into reality.

Mike says getting into stores is an important step for entrepreneurs because it gives new customers a way to discover your product beyond word of mouth or finding it online.

“It’s been an important part of growth because if you’re limited to how many people can find your product and order, you’re limiting yourself,” he says.

“But the fact that they can walk into a local store and grab some, that introduces us to a whole new market of people.”

How to get your product into stores in 6 steps

Mike knows a thing or two about how to get your product into stores, and he’s here to share his best advice for other entrepreneurs. 

1. Understand when you’re ready for retail stores

Getting your product into stores isn’t something to rush into. In fact, Mike waited until he knew his business could support retailers. But how do you make that call?

The most important thing to consider is whether you have enough product to support both your own eCommerce sales as well as wholesale to retailers. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you can’t ship your own sales because of fulfilling wholesale requests, or not being able to supply retailers because you’ve sold too much online.

“You need to make sure that going into stores works for you at that moment,” says Mike, adding that scaling too quickly can just lead to “disaster.”

Take a hard look at your manufacturing process and assess if it makes financial and logistical sense. Can you scale up to meet anticipated wholesale demand? Are there supply chain issues that would make production difficult? Are you already having difficulty filling online sales?

Mike knew he was ready because his production was in a stable state and he knew he could handle filling orders online, in his own store, and at events, and still have room to produce for wholesale.

Pricing is also important. If your profit margin is already slim, setting an even lower wholesale price might not be sustainable unless you can lower costs or increase prices overall.

Sit down and do the math before making the leap into retail.

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2. Know what makes your product unique

Before you pitch your products anywhere, you need a strong message about what makes them different from anything else a potential store is selling.

If you have a product that you’re selling, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from everyone else in the market.

For Mike, his selling point was his sauce. In North Carolina, BBQ sauce is typically either tomato- or vinegar-based. For his line, he combined those two bases to make a whole new product. He also took inspiration from both his African American and Latino heritage for the flavors and spice. Altogether, that makes for products that stand out in a crowded market.

Mike D's BBQ sauces and rubs
Mike D’s BBQ

“I had to have a unique selling point that was different from other products in my niche,” Mike says. “If you have a product that you’re selling, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from everyone else in the market.”

That uniqueness is exactly what you’re selling, he says. Potential distributors want whatever you’re offering to be something new—something they don’t already have on offer. It will also make your pitch more memorable.

Think about:

  • How your product compares to your top competitors
  • If you use specialized materials or ingredients
  • If you fulfill speciality niches, like vegan, organic, or free of allergens
  • If you can offer a lower price point than your competitors
  • If your products appeal to a specific demographic

You should be well-versed in what makes your products different and able to recite and sell those differences at a moment’s notice. 

3. Perfect your pitch

Mike’s first pitch to get his products into stores actually didn’t go so well. But he learned from his mistakes, and so can you.

On the first attempt, Mike walked into a local store and asked who was in charge of acquiring new products. When that person wasn’t available, he simply left some information and product on a table. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t hear back.

“We never got the face-to-face conversation we needed to get that going, but I learned from that,” Mike said.

Having an in-person conversation is key to getting into stores, especially local distributors. You should come prepared with a pamphlet or other materials that explain your product, what makes it unique, and your price points. And, of course, some samples to leave for the manager.

The next time, Mike was able to give a pitch in person and leave samples and information. He then stopped in again the next day to check-in. That store ended up ordering two cases of each of his products.

“That personal approach worked, but that first stop was a disaster,” Mike says.

Do some research beforehand to figure out exactly who at the store you’ll be pitching to when they’ll be available for a pitch, and if there are particular times of the month or year when they consider adding new products.

In that pitch, you should also talk about your current sales and if you have other hype surrounding your products, like a strong social media following. Add in what sort of people buy your products—it might be a demographic the store is trying to attract.

Lastly, you need to show the store that you’ll be able to deliver wholesale orders in full and on time.

“To prepare for those meetings, it’s really about making sure you have those things checked off,” Mike says.

After a pitch, Mike says you should stay in contact. He checks in the next day, then waits a week, then waits a week again. 

“After that third follow-up, if they say they’re still not interested, I tell them thanks for considering the product,” he says.

4. Join online wholesale marketplaces

As an entrepreneur, going in person to make a personal connection is always your best bet for smaller stores and chains, but as you grow, there are other ways to reach potential retailers.

There are a number of online wholesale marketplaces where you can list your products for potential distributors to find.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Creative Black Friday Strategies for Retailers

Is Black Friday profitable for retailers?

Black Friday can be profitable for retailers. A winning Black Friday campaign with offers can lure shoppers to your site and sell more products — hence increasing profits, despite lowered prices. The key is reaching your customers before the big event and keeping them engaged with your brand.

Benefits of Black Friday for retailers

Aside from the expected sales increase, there are multiple benefits to participating in Black Friday for retailers.

  • Increased traffic and sales due to Black Friday campaigns.
  • Gaining new consumers through offers, social media buzz, giveaways and more.
  • Incremental sales via promotions, discounts, etc.
  • Reduce seasonal inventory, since early shoppers are looking for a great deal. This means they are likely to purchase products from past seasons at a discounted price — the perfect chance for you to move your older inventory items without compromising your brand.

How do retailers prepare for Black Friday?

  • 2021 will bring the oddest Black Friday of our lives. Retailers need to take additional actions in multiple dimensions so as to inspire consumers to trust them this odd year. You can read more on how to prepare for Black Friday 2021 here
  • Start marketing your brand early to reap more sales and engage customers with emails, blog posts and in-store specials (if brick and mortar).
  • Integrate and personalize your Black Friday Marketing campaign to tailor to your targeted audiences. For example, for returning customers, suggest products that are on sale or bundles that other customers with similar interests have bought.
  • Set a countdown clock to create urgency for sales that are both starting (to create anticipation and excitement) and for sales that will soon be ending (such as an early bird sale, etc) which creates a sense of FOMO.
  • Use an omnichannel approach. Despite proven benefits, the majority of retailers today have not adopted omnichannel marketing and selling. This means missing out on sales. Read on to learn more about why omnichannel marketing is a must for your brand.

1. Run an omnichannel Black Friday campaign

Many consumers prefer to conduct their research online and purchase in-store, or vice versa. A smooth transition between online and physical stores, desktop or mobile, is a must to avoid customer frustration and lost sales.

An example of a brand with a stellar omnichannel holiday campaign is Disney. First, vacationers start out on Disney’s mobile-friendly website, where visitors can design their custom-made dream holiday plan within the My Disney Experience account. When visitors arrive at the Disney destination, they can link the My Disney Experience account to a smart wristband called the ‘MagicBand’. It contains a touchpoint sensor and grants visitors directions and access to theme parks, hotels, and attractions that visitors have planned within the trip.

How: Running an effective omnichannel marketing campaign to work requires a robust CRM capability. One that tracks your customers across various stages of their purchase lifecycle, which provides you insight on when to best engage with each customer. A marketing automation platform, such as ContactPigeon, centralizes all customer interactions (e.g., web behaviors, campaign interactions, eCommerce transactions, etc) in a single repository. The customer data is captured within the platform in order to run segmentation and trigger marketing messages automatically.

2. Create mixed product bundles to increase profit margin

Product bundling works because it gives shoppers a sense of getting a great deal. Furthermore, bundled pricing allows retailers to bundle high-margin products along with ones that are low-margin to increase profitability. A win-win for both sides.

How: Consider which products go well together from your product offerings and create the bundle based on products that are complementary to each other (e.g., matching top and bottom, products frequently bought together, etc).

3. Contact your subscribers on a daily basis during the Black Friday week

During the days leading up to Black Friday, shoppers are flooded with offers discounts, giveaways and more. To stay relevant, it’s important for your brand to keep up the frequency of the touchpoints and be more creative in your messaging.

Communicate valuable information about your sales offer early on with clever content to convince consumers to shop from your brand.

How: Use an automated marketing platform to send personalized emails. You can include countdown clocks for sales beginning and ending, or special early bird deals such as gifts with purchase or additional discounts, etc.

4. Create special BF themed exit intent pop up

Set up an Exit-Intent Popup and catch customers before they leave! While exit intent works primarily on desktop browsers, don’t forget that desktop accounts for ~40% of sales.

How: Use Black Friday graphics to lure shoppers into staying on your site with great deals. Try something like: “Save 20% off your order NOW!” to see an increase in conversions.

5. Create a Smart Product Recommendation workflow based on products seen

This workflow will help you re-engage the vast majority of Black Friday traffic that viewed a product but didn’t convert, with monthly/weekly personalized product recommendations.

How: Tackle Browse abandonment by using an automated marketing platform. This way, you can suggest personalized product recommendations to shoppers via cross-selling or up-selling based on the products they have viewed but not purchased. The workflow can start from the Black Friday period but can continue into the holiday season or even beyond.

6. Create a Repurchase reminder automation workflow for each participating product

This workflow will help you re-engage with the customers a few weeks/months later with a relevant message, thereby extracting more value from your Black Friday marketing investments.

How: For products bought over Black Friday, create reminders via pop-ups and emails using an automated marketing platform. This works great with products that have a short to medium lifetime cycle.

7. Write 3 blog posts featuring 3 awesome upcoming BF deals

Drive potential shoppers to become enticed and more engaged with your brand and, ultimately, to shop your brand on Black Friday!

How: Provide subscribers with relevant and valuable information about your Black Friday sales. This will make them feel as though they are getting the inside scoop on the upcoming sales — a token of gratitude for their loyalty to your brand!

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M