For any small business there is no greater thrill than seeing your own product being sold on the high street for the first time. All those months, sometimes years of hard work, have finally paid off and you wait in anticipation for consumers to begin buying your product. However, to get to this point most businesses will have made some comprises.
Before a retailer will agree to stocking a new product, they will want some assurances that you can fulfil their expectations. Each retailer will have their own individual criteria, but fundamentally they will ask the following questions:
Getting your product on the shelf doesn’t come cheap. Retailers will expect a certain level of investment from which they will launch your product internally. For an over-the-counter product to go into 500+ stores for example, don’t been surprised if the retailer requires at least £25k towards launch activities to ensure staff have seen and know something about the product.
The high street is extremely competitive, so retailers are always on the look out for new and unique products. Once they find one that they like, they will ask for exclusivity, meaning the product can’t be sold anywhere else on the high street for a period. It’s up to you to negotiate, but 6-12 months exclusivity is common. But remember, this may only apply to bricks and mortar, so you can still approach and do deals with online retailers.
As part of the negotiation process the retailer will want to know what your marketing strategy is and will ask the question – How are you going to drive customers to our stores? Before you approach any retailer it’s important that you have a marketing plan and budget in place to cover the launch period and beyond. Some of the activities they will want to know about include PR, advertising, in-store promotions and merchandising.
To make your product even more attractive, retailers are keen to see how your brand will evolve, so showcasing your product pipeline at this stage is a good idea, even if it’s still in the development stage.
Regardless of the fact you have invested heavily during the launch phase, the retailer will also expect you to have a marketing budget to spend on promotional offers and in-store activities throughout the year. Promotional offers help to keep the product front of mind with staff as well encouraging customers to buy, but they will affect your margins.
Before you approach any retailer consider the advantages and disadvantages carefully. In today’s digital society, the high street isn’t the only option, but if the time is right and high-volume sales are what you want, then plan and budget accordingly to give your product the best chance of succeeding.
At Onyx Health, we are experts in healthcare marketing communications and we know what it takes to get a product on the shelf of a retailer and how to keep driving sales. For more information on how we can specifically help your healthcare business with your marketing needs, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0191 640 3638.