Every big brand started in a local, independent store. The barriers to entry are, typically, much lower than larger chains, they often don’t require a distributor, and have less promotional fees/requirements. All of these elements provide you with a friendly place where you can test out your concept and get in front of your audience.
They key here is to
Identify a short list (<20) that serve your core customer and are nearby.
Often times, it’s simply a function of showing up. Either walk into the store or call/email the buyer and ask for a meeting.
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Outside of the product itself, a good sales presentation is probably the most important asset. Let's talk about what it needs to have.
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Think of buyers and their retail teams as an extension of your brand. Educate them, giveaway swag, and offer free samples. Put simply, do what it takes to leave an impression. If they like you and the product, they will act as “brand ambassadors” that help push sales when you’re not there.
There is no substitute for being at the store, often, to ensure product is stocked, in the right place, and at the right price. This commitment goes a long way toward helping with the point above and is a good segue to the next point...
In-store demos are one of the highest impact marketing activities a brand can do. In the early days, they allow you to perfect your pitch, understand your customer, and get the product moving.
We go into all of these concepts and much more. It's a digital playbook focused on launching CPG brands. With modules that cover all the key business components, 45+ supporting materials, and 15 different successful founders sharing their experience, it's the go-to resource for anyone looking to start their food & beverage business the right way.