As competition increases, especially in natural, so does the expectation retailers have of the brands they carry. Does your brand sales story resonate?
“Shoppers don’t buy your products because your mission and values align with them, they buy your products because their mission and values align with your brand”
Most brands messaging focuses on what’s important to them, from their perspective. In an effort to reach a broad audience their message becomes somewhat generic. This is a huge mistake I repeatedly see brands make, one that is amplified by retailers.
Unfortunately, few brands take the time to personalize their message and focus on their customers’ specific needs. They try to be all things to everyone instead of trying to be everything to their perfect shopper.
A brands selling story is its heart and soul. It needs to be compelling and it needs to resonate with all who hear it. The more personalized your selling story is, the better you will be able to build a loyal community around it.
“Story draws people in – emotion inspires them to act”
Many of the natural products on retailer shelves today are in distribution because the buyer liked the salesperson. This is called “relationship selling.” This is how we did things decades ago. Decisions are based primarily on emotion and gut as opposed to facts or what shoppers want.
True category management is fact-based selling. It relies also on the relationship but is supported by solid facts that support the benefit to the consumer as well as the retailer. This can include the brand’s commitment to support the retailer’s initiatives, a solid selling strategy to grow category sales, and the retailer’s market.
A brands selling story + true category management = the perfect sales pitch to land more shelf space
Brands need to help guide their retailer partners with strategies that focus on the needs of the retailer’s shoppers. Decisions based solely on and items performance frequently undervalues consumer buying habits along with their needs and wants. They can actually reduce category sales and push shoppers away.
Your sales story on (natural) steroids
In today’s highly competitive environment retailers need insights, actionable insights. They want to know a lot more about the products they sell than the different flavors you offer. They want to know who buys your products, how it will help them grow sustainable category sales and increase the number of shoppers in their store.
To differentiate your products from the other brands on the shelf, consider adding facts about your core shoppers to your sales story. Do this by incorporating a mini-category review into each and every selling opportunity, including new item presentations.
Every retailer appointment should include actionable insights and fact-based recommendations. Schedule annual category reviews that include:
- A top line overview of the category and your brand’s performance in both the account and the market
- A more in-depth analysis highlighting important category trends with recommendations
- A complete profile of the category shopper highlighting your unique shopper and how your ideal customer is preferable to the retailer
- A schematic/planogram review compete with recommendations
- Consumer/shopper insights to educate the retailer about your brand, the category, and the retailer’s consumer
Make fact-based recommendations to grow category and retailer sales. Be impartial and focus on what’s best for the retailer. This will give you additional clout, savvy retailers could reward you for later.
Any brand will and able to step up and help the retailer with actionable insights is a category leader. Brands interested in taking a leadership role in the category should also include:
- An in-depth analysis of the category including brand and item performance
- An in-depth schematic/planogram review complete with space for sales analysis
- A pricing analysis comparing the category at the retailer to their market
- A deep dive promotion analysis highlighting successful promotions and opportunities to develop more impactful events
- A promotion schedule and your commitment to support your brand and grow sales
- In-depth consumer/shopper insights and an analysis of consumer buying habits; for example, what does the shopper journey look like in your category
- Fact-based recommendations to differentiate your brand and the retailer in the market
Following these simple steps will help you grow sustainable sales with a greater commitment by the retailer to support your brand. It will also help you compete more effectively against any brand in any channel.
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