How to Get Your Product in Stores Like You’re a Fortune 500 Company (Without Being One)

Got a product? Want to know how to get it into retail stores? Getting a product into a big box retailer or even a mom and pop is what a lot of inventors and entrepreneurs dream about. No wonder, there are fortunes to be had. But you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to get your product into stores. As a former Fortune 100/500 executive, I’ve placed thousands of products into thousands and thousands of retail stores. Here are 8 Lessons I Learned While Getting Products into Stores for Pillsbury, Johnson & Johnson, Frito-Lay/PepsiCo, & Whole Foods Market:

1. You Don’t Have To Be a Fortune 500 Company To Act Like One. Start by doing your homework. You’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs I talk to that don’t want to take the time or invest the money to do the most basic things to assure their success. Fortune 500 companies don’t launch products blindly. Understand your consumer, your product, and your customer. Does your product help your consumer solve his or her problems? Is your product unique? Visit several stores where you can “see” your product. Now, ask yourself: If I were the buyer for this retailer, why would I buy my product and put it on that shelf?

2. Create a Superstar from the Start. Your product should be unique, a bestseller that makes you money. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But I’ve seen the big boys fall flat on their face forgetting this simple concept. Here’s what you need to do: Make sure the consumer not only needs but wants your product. Price your product competitively so there’s good profit margin for you and your retailer. (Biggest losers are only fun on television shows, right?) Create packaging that excites your consumer. Then create promotions that will motivate the retailer and the consumer to buy your product.

3. Build Your Team Wisely. Stop pretending that you can do it all by yourself because you can’t. You need shortcuts and someone to show you the way. Invest in your business. A consumer product expert, consultant, or information marketer may have a home-study course or group consulting. From product experts to manufacturing reps, brokers to distributors, there are knowledgeable people out there to help you. Find the ones with solid know-how and experience. They’ll save you years of time and tens of thousands of dollars.

4. Challenge Yourself to Grow Smart. Get your product in your first store, then build from there. When you get your product in stores, you build a track record. Retail stores don’t want sprinters. Show them that you’re a marathon runner. Big box retailers love vendors with endurance. So build a track record and prove that you can run with them for miles and miles.

5. Commit to Continuous Improvement. Fortune 500 companies are constantly searching for better ways to do things, how to make their products and teams stronger. Evaluate what is and isn’t working with your product and your business. You can’t have one part of your marketing mix right, like the best product, but not have the right promotions.

6. Do What Your Retailers Ask You to Do. Each retail store has their own policies, procedures, and processes for accepting new products. Find information about your targeted retail customer on their website, call or email, or make personal contact. You’re going to have to find out who makes the decisions about products like yours, how, and how often. Some companies, like Walmart, have very specific processes. Yet, they allow regional distribution, too. Same with Whole Foods. And some have open vendor days.

7. Be Prepared for the Presentation of Your (and Your Product’s) Life. Do your homework before you walk into that meeting with that big box retail store buyer. Know their language. Familiarize yourself with industry terms, such as categories, conditions of sale, discounts, EDI, and allowances. You will need a sample of your product, barcode, brochure, price lists, marketing plans, and specifics about your distribution and competition. You must have the precise information your retailers need and want to show that you can be a player.

8. Maintain That Small Company Mentality Even When You Become a Big One. One of the things that will give you a competitive edge is that you won’t have all the bureaucracy of a Fortune 500. Red tape and sludgy big company processes can kill new product innovation. Believe me, I know. Use your nimbleness as your competitive advantage. You can use a variety of savvy online and offline marketing techniques too, like websites, blogs, social marketing, mobile marketing, coupons, ads, and public relations, ways to touch consumers that use your entrepreneur’s cutting-edge to your advantage.

Here’s the good news. You can do this if you keep moving forward. Take action. With a little smarts, good sense, and effort, you can get your product in stores and onto shelves. And you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company. Everyday people just like you get their products into retail stores. All big businesses, even the Fortune 500 companies I’ve worked for, started with just one idea and usually one person.

Dimensions of Brand Personality While Marketing Products and Services

Brand personality refers to human personality traits which are associated with a brand. While branding a product, especially if it is new, or is being launched in a new market, in depth understanding of the Dimensions of Brand Personality is of utmost importance to the product manager or the brand manager.

Consumers often describe brands (at least in their sub-conscious level of understanding) by using descriptors of personality traits. Marketers attempt to use this consumer behavior to create or reinforce these perceptions by their positioning strategies. Now successfully positioning a product’s ( or a services’ ) personality within a product category requires the application of multiple measurement models.

The dimensions of Brand Personality was first proposed by Aaker (1997) in his famous and highly cited work on the brand personality framework consisting of 5 dimensions of every brand that impacts branding, brand association and brand recollection. Again brand association appears to partially mediate the influence of the competence dimension of brand personality on brand attractiveness.

The 5 main dimensions of this framework are Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, Ruggedness. Consumers interpret sincere brands as being down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, and cheerful. Consumers perceive exciting brands as being daring, spirited, imaginative, and somewhat with a cutting edge. Consumers perceive Competence from Reliability, intelligence, and success symbols from a brand. A brand that is perceived to be sophisticated is viewed as being charming and with a higher snob value and thus fit for the upper classes. Similarly rugged brands are perceived to have characteristics of being outdoorsy and tough.

Now, since high branding equity tends to develop when consumers have numerous positive and strong associations related to the brand. Brand association, which is defined as “anything linked in memory to a brand” is one of the major components of brand equity. Brand association, which results in high greater brand awareness and greater brand recall has a positive correlation with brand equity because it can represent brand quality and brand commitment. These in turn creates the basic platform for the product (or service) to harness strength to pull consumers, i.e. implement a pull strategy by the marketing manager.

Now recognition of the product or the service uniquely by the potential target segment with a strong association can successfully managed only through careful long-term marketing strategy, which involves advertising, pricing, and product development. No wonder that in current times, millions and billions of dollars are being invested in advertising and other forms of marketing communications in order to create product (or service) awareness and product (or service) association, so as to be able to implement a pull strategy.

Today, with increased focus to creating a unique marketing mix, be it for the marketing mix of products or for the marketing of services, understanding this framework is of utmost importance to managers managing a product or a service or a category of the same, so as to be able to create a rich differentiation.

Do let me know, if you have any clarification regarding the understanding of this article.

Your New Shopping Companion Launched

Do you think you are spending your lot of hard earned money on your necessities and at the end feel dissatisfied? The only reason is you find the same things somewhere at less price or better quality or even both. You would have got the best thing at best price if you had compared the prices and traits of the products you wanted to buy. But who has time to go places? Compare and again turn to the store where you think the deal will be the best? Who has that extra time? And so to give a shopping aid to buyers like us, the best price comparison sites are launched which allows users to search, compare and buy sitting at their home/office.

Just one mouse click and we get all products relevant to our search request listed along with the traits and price and the seller information. We can read the testimonials written about the vendors by other buyers who have already used the products. This helps to find a vendor who we feel is trustworthy. Once we choose our product after all browsing and comparison, it redirect us to the vendor. We can shop either online and if we have chosen a local store we can message/email the store and simply pay and collect our product.

Simply join the trend. Use the latest technology i.e., World Wide Web to aid you and make your shopping experience simpler. Log on to the site. Search and browse the best product list created just for you. Go through all product characteristics and prices. Compare according to your focus whether cost or some specific product quality. Choose a product and then finalize your buy. You will be redirect to the vendor and you are done with your reasonable and confident shopping. Have a never before satisfying shopping experience.

To make it clearer I will tell you one of my shopping experiences and I am sure you can relate it with your experiences. I wanted to buy a card reader. It was an urgent requirement for me at that time. I saw a discount tag at a mall and quickly bought it. A few days later a friend of mine was carrying a better quality card reader than mine and the worst thing was she bought it at much cheaper rate. I was so disappointed with my shopping decision. It would have been better if I had compared the qualities along with prices at different shops and then bought the reader. But always in such situation caused by wrong and hasty buying decisions we tend to find excuse for ourselves that, “I did not have time. So my deal was relevantly fine;” But out of the blue I learned about online price comparisons that could save a lot of my time and allow me to compare my dream products such that I can buy them at my dream rate. I used product price comparison site and it changed the whole idea of shopping. I can simply compare one product available at several different stores and that too sitting in an easy chair at home or while working and in fraction of time. My options increased, I got satisfying quality at reasonable rates. And I was so confident that I am buying the best thing at the best price. I, a customer like you guarantee that once you start shopping with price comparisons sites, you will not find a better shopping companion than this.