Being laser focused on shoppers’ needs is only the first step in building a successful and profitable brand. Next, you need to get your products discovered. Simply put, shoppers cannot buy your products if they can’t find them. This is why it’s critically important that your products are available wherever your customers shop. Your success here relies on both traditional and online retailers.

Making this a priority is the second part of my Retail Solved Blueprint. Doing this will add rocket fuel to your brand’s growth and it will give you opportunities not available to your competition. Interested? Read on!

Get to know your retailers

In the first installment of this series, Brand Secrets #1: How Personalizing Customer Relationships Dramatically Advances Your Brand, we focused on the shopper. Now we need to turn our attention to the retailer. You need to make it easy for them to sell and support your brand. Better yet, you need to make it easy for them to feature and evangelize your brand. Use this simple formula to win-at-shelf.

We all know how impactful it is to have a trusted friend sing the praises of their favorite brand or restaurant. The same holds true for retailers. They are in business to give their customers a reason to return to their store and bring their friends. They want shoppers to make all their purchases at their store and not shop at the competition.  

The challenge is, most brands overlook the important role retailers play in their success–your success. Let me explain. 

When I worked on the retailer side, brands would line up to tell me how to sell and merchandise their products. Their sole focus was on what they wanted, period! When I worked for a brand, we “personalized” our retailer facing presentations by simply adding the retailer’s logo to the sales deck. We used the same generic reports and insights for every retailer only with the specific retailers’ sales data.  

To understand why this matters, consider this; retailers don’t make anything. Rather, they sell the real-estate that brands take up on their shelves. Retailers want three things 1) more foot traffic in their stores, 2) a competitive advantage in their market, and 3) a reasonable profit. Helping them get what they want is how you make it easy for them to help you get what you want, incremental opportunities to grow, and scale your brand. 
Retailers want insights! Actionable insights they can’t get from others. Savvy retailers might even reward brands that help them stand out in their crowded markets. This is the secret to my success and how you can become a category leader. This is what retailers really want! 

Adding the right value for the right retailer

So you’re probably saying to yourself, “retailers don’t want anything added to their new item deal sheets.” That’s true, but have you ever wondered why that is. You’ve heard the expression that one bad apple spoils the bunch. Put yourselves in their shoes. Imagine what it is like for a buyer to have brands constantly telling you how to do your job and why their brand is the only brand you need to focus on. That gets really old. This is why some retailers won’t talk to brands. No one likes to be told what to do. 

Few brands take the time to really get to know their retail partners. Even fewer brands take the time to understand a retailer’s objectives, the market they compete in, their go-to-market strategy, their specific challenges and bottlenecks, and much more. Taking the time to really get to know your retail partner can pay huge dividends in the future. 

Retailers can not possibly be experts on every item they sell and on every customer in their stores. They need your help! Make it easy for them to make your unique customer happy. This is how you differentiate yourself from other brands.

Becoming a trusted and valued partner takes time and it requires you to earn the retailer’s confidence. This is how you become a category leader that is willing and able to step up and help their retail partners by leveraging the unique strength of the customers who buy your products. Put another way, you help solve the retailer’s challenges by making it easy for your unique customer to fill all their shopping needs in their stores.     

This is not a category captain role. Let the big brands have that honor. Being a category captain can be very expensive and it frequently returns a negative ROI to the brand. Truthfully, you can have a more significant impact on the retailer’s success as a category leader–what retailers really want!

Remember that your retailer partners’ success is your success. 

Stay tuned Brand Secrets #3: How To Maximize Your Promotion Effectiveness – A Win For You And The Retailer

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