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Foodboro's 2021 Retailer Guide: Getting Your Product on Shelves

Many makers have likely envisioned their product on the shelves of a major grocer. However, getting your products on the shelves is only half the battle.

Foodboro's 2021 Retailer Guide: Getting Your Product on Shelves

As a maker of an emerging brand, making the jump to a grocer can be a big step. You’ve likely been on the ground, carefully cultivating your following through social media, trade shows, farmers markets, and other marketing opportunities. Regardless of whether the grocer is local or national, having your product on their shelves will introduce a broader consumer base to your brand and could lead to exponential growth. If this is where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, congratulations! It’s an exciting time. This guide and our list of retailers that engage emerging brands will help prepare you to pitch your brand to retailers and unlock the next phase of your company’s growth.

Many makers have likely envisioned their product on the shelves of a major grocer. However, getting your products on the shelves is only half the battle; having a plan to get your products off the shelves and into your consumers’ shopping carts is just as important. To better understand how to strategize growth and expansion into large retailers, Chelsea Ford, a coach, facilitator, and key-note speaker with extensive sales and marketing experience, shared some of the advice she offers her clients,through her Females in Food initiative.Find out more about Chelsea and her services on her website.

Chelsea’s approach to retailer engagement is to “go an inch-wide and a mile deep,” This is because your energy will be better spent strengthening existing partnerships with retailers than it will be approaching new stores. It takes, Chelsea estimates, 25 times more work to engage a new retailer than to maintain a relationship with a retailer that already knows you and your brand. Once you have thriving relationships with your established retailers, then comes the time to engage new retailers, since you’ll have more to show and greater confidence in your profitability.

When working with clients at this stage, Chelsea encourages them to focus on the four Ps when crafting their approach to retailers. 

Plan: Be prepared. Your pitch, which includes your sales kit (sales sheet, images, product description, pricing list, and capacity to produce the product), will allow you to be ready to answer any questions the retailer may have.

Partner:  Approach retailers as potential partners. You should be selecting retailers intentionally, it’s imperative that their customer base aligns with your product.  Show that you are there because you are familiar with their business and want to establish a mutually engaged and beneficial relationship. 

Persist: Keep showing up. If a retailer says no, ask for feedback. Rejection always stings, but don’t shrink away or act defensively. -  it’s a learning experience that will help you with your next pitch. Ask permission to pitch again at a later point and continue to stay in touch. Receiving feedback and respectfully persisting will impress upon the buyer that you are confident in your brand. 

Profitable: Be profitable. Profitability may seem far away in your first year of building a brand, but knowing your path to profitability and continually making progress towards that goal is key. Chelsea suggests working backward, taking the dollar amount your item is priced and subtracting the cost of development and any other costs along the way. The remaining figure is your profit. When making decisions, like whether to hire a dedicated sales rep or a broker, there is a mathematical answer to what will make you profitable. 

There’s a good chance that you did not become a food or beverage entrepreneur because you love sales. But learning these skills and honing your pitch is important. If you approach this process with the same tenacity and passion as you did your product development, you’ll be in good shape! Be prepared to make mistakes and be ready to learn from them. You’ve got this!

VIEW OUR DIRECTORY OF FOOD & BEVERAGE RETAILERS

As a maker of an emerging brand, making the jump to a grocer can be a big step. You’ve likely been on the ground, carefully cultivating your following through social media, trade shows, farmers markets, and other marketing opportunities. Regardless of whether the grocer is local or national, having your product on their shelves will introduce a broader consumer base to your brand and could lead to exponential growth. If this is where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, congratulations! It’s an exciting time. This guide and our list of retailers that engage emerging brands will help prepare you to pitch your brand to retailers and unlock the next phase of your company’s growth.

Many makers have likely envisioned their product on the shelves of a major grocer. However, getting your products on the shelves is only half the battle; having a plan to get your products off the shelves and into your consumers’ shopping carts is just as important. To better understand how to strategize growth and expansion into large retailers, Chelsea Ford, a coach, facilitator, and key-note speaker with extensive sales and marketing experience, shared some of the advice she offers her clients,through her Females in Food initiative.Find out more about Chelsea and her services on her website.

Chelsea’s approach to retailer engagement is to “go an inch-wide and a mile deep,” This is because your energy will be better spent strengthening existing partnerships with retailers than it will be approaching new stores. It takes, Chelsea estimates, 25 times more work to engage a new retailer than to maintain a relationship with a retailer that already knows you and your brand. Once you have thriving relationships with your established retailers, then comes the time to engage new retailers, since you’ll have more to show and greater confidence in your profitability.

When working with clients at this stage, Chelsea encourages them to focus on the four Ps when crafting their approach to retailers. 

Plan: Be prepared. Your pitch, which includes your sales kit (sales sheet, images, product description, pricing list, and capacity to produce the product), will allow you to be ready to answer any questions the retailer may have.

Partner:  Approach retailers as potential partners. You should be selecting retailers intentionally, it’s imperative that their customer base aligns with your product.  Show that you are there because you are familiar with their business and want to establish a mutually engaged and beneficial relationship. 

Persist: Keep showing up. If a retailer says no, ask for feedback. Rejection always stings, but don’t shrink away or act defensively. -  it’s a learning experience that will help you with your next pitch. Ask permission to pitch again at a later point and continue to stay in touch. Receiving feedback and respectfully persisting will impress upon the buyer that you are confident in your brand. 

Profitable: Be profitable. Profitability may seem far away in your first year of building a brand, but knowing your path to profitability and continually making progress towards that goal is key. Chelsea suggests working backward, taking the dollar amount your item is priced and subtracting the cost of development and any other costs along the way. The remaining figure is your profit. When making decisions, like whether to hire a dedicated sales rep or a broker, there is a mathematical answer to what will make you profitable. 

There’s a good chance that you did not become a food or beverage entrepreneur because you love sales. But learning these skills and honing your pitch is important. If you approach this process with the same tenacity and passion as you did your product development, you’ll be in good shape! Be prepared to make mistakes and be ready to learn from them. You’ve got this!

VIEW OUR DIRECTORY OF FOOD & BEVERAGE RETAILERS

As a maker of an emerging brand, making the jump to a grocer can be a big step. You’ve likely been on the ground, carefully cultivating your following through social media, trade shows, farmers markets, and other marketing opportunities. Regardless of whether the grocer is local or national, having your product on their shelves will introduce a broader consumer base to your brand and could lead to exponential growth. If this is where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, congratulations! It’s an exciting time. This guide and our list of retailers that engage emerging brands will help prepare you to pitch your brand to retailers and unlock the next phase of your company’s growth.

Many makers have likely envisioned their product on the shelves of a major grocer. However, getting your products on the shelves is only half the battle; having a plan to get your products off the shelves and into your consumers’ shopping carts is just as important. To better understand how to strategize growth and expansion into large retailers, Chelsea Ford, a coach, facilitator, and key-note speaker with extensive sales and marketing experience, shared some of the advice she offers her clients,through her Females in Food initiative.Find out more about Chelsea and her services on her website.

Chelsea’s approach to retailer engagement is to “go an inch-wide and a mile deep,” This is because your energy will be better spent strengthening existing partnerships with retailers than it will be approaching new stores. It takes, Chelsea estimates, 25 times more work to engage a new retailer than to maintain a relationship with a retailer that already knows you and your brand. Once you have thriving relationships with your established retailers, then comes the time to engage new retailers, since you’ll have more to show and greater confidence in your profitability.

When working with clients at this stage, Chelsea encourages them to focus on the four Ps when crafting their approach to retailers. 

Plan: Be prepared. Your pitch, which includes your sales kit (sales sheet, images, product description, pricing list, and capacity to produce the product), will allow you to be ready to answer any questions the retailer may have.

Partner:  Approach retailers as potential partners. You should be selecting retailers intentionally, it’s imperative that their customer base aligns with your product.  Show that you are there because you are familiar with their business and want to establish a mutually engaged and beneficial relationship. 

Persist: Keep showing up. If a retailer says no, ask for feedback. Rejection always stings, but don’t shrink away or act defensively. -  it’s a learning experience that will help you with your next pitch. Ask permission to pitch again at a later point and continue to stay in touch. Receiving feedback and respectfully persisting will impress upon the buyer that you are confident in your brand. 

Profitable: Be profitable. Profitability may seem far away in your first year of building a brand, but knowing your path to profitability and continually making progress towards that goal is key. Chelsea suggests working backward, taking the dollar amount your item is priced and subtracting the cost of development and any other costs along the way. The remaining figure is your profit. When making decisions, like whether to hire a dedicated sales rep or a broker, there is a mathematical answer to what will make you profitable. 

There’s a good chance that you did not become a food or beverage entrepreneur because you love sales. But learning these skills and honing your pitch is important. If you approach this process with the same tenacity and passion as you did your product development, you’ll be in good shape! Be prepared to make mistakes and be ready to learn from them. You’ve got this!

VIEW OUR DIRECTORY OF FOOD & BEVERAGE RETAILERS

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