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.
What does a good email outreach look like?
We've got a template for you!
What will you need to approach your first retailers?
Want detailed examples of all of these? Check out our new online educational course, Jumpstart, for pre-revenue brands and those in their first year. It’s chock full of learnings, tools, and insights that are the product of working with hundreds of successful, high-growth CPG brands.
What are the components of a good retail sales presentation?
Outside of the product itself, a good sales presentation is probably the most important asset. Let's talk about what it needs to have.
- What’s your mission/company overview?
- What’s your company story? Who’s on your team?
- What are the products and their main benefits? Any special certifications?
- What’s your traction? If you’re in other stores, mention that. If you’re only sold online, can you show solid momentum?
- What’s going on in your category? Ideally, you want to demonstrate that your in big market that’s growing
- Who’s your customer? Please don’t say “Millenials"...be specific.
- How do you stack up with competition? This is often displayed like a table where your product checks all the boxes and your competition does not.
- Have you gotten any press/do you have a big/growing following on social?
- What is your marketing/promotional strategy? If something has worked already, mention that.
- What is the suggested price of the product? Include UPC codes, case sizes, weights, dimensions, etc.
Want an editable template for this? We've got one in Jumpstart!
How do you manage these stores once you're in?
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...
Demo, demo, demo
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.
If somehow you've missed the 2 previous mentions of Jumpstart, here's one more :)
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.