Shoppers can’t buy what they can’t find. I’ve been saying this now for years. Having your products on retailer’s shelves is the key to every brand’s success. Sales are multiplied many times by the number of retailer shelves shoppers can purchase your products on. It is also the key to every effective marketing and promotional strategy. When you promote a product across several stores, you maximize the impact of the promotion and increase your ROI.
Applying these strategies to your brand will provide you with a sustainable competitive advantage.
1. Discipline on shelf
Merchandising needs to be consistent across all retail chains. You need to ensure that the category is easy to shop and that the shopping experience is positive. Make it easy for shoppers to find and choose your brand everywhere they shop. Develop strategies focused on how consumers shop the category and your brand.
2. Look for growing trends
It’s always better to have the wind at your back than in your face. Look for growing trends that are fueling sales that shoppers want. Sometimes this means merchandising your brand with complementary products. The challenge is determining where in the trend’s life cycle you are at, the beginning or the end.
Being a trend leader gives you the unique opportunity to mold a category with your definition and to become a category leader. For example, gluten-free brands continue to grow in popularity and importance as consumers learn more about food allergies.
3. True Category Management – fact-based selling
Most natural brands rely heavily on relationship selling. This was also true about mainstream brands before the advent of category management. True category management is fact-based selling. It is relationship selling that incorporates important actionable insights that help retailers grow category sales and satisfy shopper’s needs and wants. It includes educating retailers on category and market trends, product assortment recommendations, how shoppers purchase products in the category, promotional/pricing analysis and reviews, etc. Using the right data adds tremendous credibility to your sales story.
4. Leverage data to drive sales
Data is complicated and confusing, especially in the natural channel. Use it wisely. Retailers already know how your brand is doing on their shelves. They want and need insights that they don’t currently have access to on their own like shopper wants and needs. They also want actionable insights. The key is to understand how to effectively use the available data, what it’s telling you and how to get the most out of it.
Brands that succeed and grow are experts in their products, their competitors, the categories they compete in, and how shoppers use the products they purchase. There are a lot of resources to address all of these questions. The key is to know which resources to use when to use them, and how to get the most out of them. True Category Management is advanced storytelling that helps you educate retailers on how the trends are driving category sales in their stores.
5. Remain laser-focused on your objectives
Always put the consumer first! Have the patience and persistence to remain focused on achieving your core objectives. Scorecard your efforts measuring them at regular intervals. There are few “overnight successes”. Top brands are laser-focused on meeting shopper’s needs and standing out from the crowd by providing better products at a fair price.
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