Every new item introduction requires that one item be discontinued. You have a simple choice, either manage your distribution and merchandising or trust it to anyone but you. Don’t make the fatal mistake of entrusting your brand’s future to your competitor.

You never get a second chance to disappoint a customer. Getting your products into the hands of more shoppers is critical to increasing sustainable sales. Welcome. You’ve been taught that the most important report you’ll ever need is a simple canned topline report, right? Well, not quite. Let’s say that a category is growing at five percent while the category at other retailers is growing at 12 percent and trending up. This changes things dramatically. The canned topline reports don’t tell you what’s behind the trend. This is where you need to dig deeper. This changes things dramatically. 

Your job as a category leader is to help your retail partner figure out what their competition is doing better than they are and how you can help them compete more effectively. This can usually be attributed to a category’s product assortment that does not give shoppers a compelling reason to shop their stores over the competition. Helping your retail partner identify and solve this problem will give you a significant competitive advantage. This is frequently referred to as fixing the mix.

Every time any new product is presented to a retailer, one product needs to be discontinued to make room for it. Many times the decision is made solely on a brand’s performance or lack of performance. This can be a huge mistake. More importantly, this is not a decision you want to leave in the retailer’s hands. You need to help guide the retailer with fact-based recommendations. Sometimes the decision to recommend an item is not obvious. Your help can differentiate you as a category leader. 

A category leader is any brand willing and able to step up and help the retail partner drive sustainable sales by leveraging the strength of your brand. This is the best and the most effective way to drive sustainable sales. This can literally determine how long you’ll be around, a month, a year, a decade or longer.

Getting your products into the hands of more shoppers is critical to increasing sustainable sales, it’s critical to your survival. You have a choice and it’s a simple one: Either you manage your own distribution and merchandising or trust it to anyone but you. Do you trust your competitors to protect your merchandising and distribution when they present their new items? Of course not. Remember, everything is negotiable, especially in this industry.

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