Mindmap: How to get your product into a supermarket
Everything you need to know to get shelfspace - as a handy mindmap.
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Getting into a supermarket takes time, a lot of perseverance and
more than a dash of anal attention to detail. It can take months to
even get hold of the person you need to speak to, let alone
convince them they want your product.
But when you do make that all important breakthrough, you need to
have absolutely everything sorted and ready to go. You need to
prove you're professional and organised enough to be on a
supermarket's shelves, and that you can deliver on every part an
agreement you make with them.
Use this mindmap to remind you what you should be doing at every
stage of the process.
Complete idea: Supermarkets don't have time to help
you develop any part of your product. That means all branding,
packaging and strategy need to be finished as well your actual
product if you want to get their attention.
Marketing: A supermarket will want to see that you've
got an achievable marketing plan in place. They have to be able to
sell your product - but they ain't going to do any of the hard work
Accreditations: Any certifications you can get to
verify the quality of your product will go down well. Supermarkets
can't put out anything that might be faulty or, worse,
Sales history: If you have it, show evidence of your
product's popularity: sales figures and any particularly shining
testimonials. Make data quick and easy to digest.
Non-competitive with own brand: Supermarkets want to
sell their own brand products. Don't compete directly with
something they've already created. Find different USPs that'll make
them want and need your product.
Units: This is the word all supermarkets will use
for amounts of your product. Use it, and start sounding more on
Distribution: A supermarket might ask for 10,000
units in one store, or they might ask for 25 units in 500 stores
across the country. You need to prove you would be capable of
delivering both - and make sure you can still do it
Overtrading risk: Don't push your capacity to the
limits. If you try to fill too many orders and you don't get paid
on time or something in your supply chain faults, you could end up
not delivering to a supermarket on time - and you definitely don't
want to be on their blacklist.
Buyer: This is the person you want to get hold of.
A store may have buyers for specific types of product (bodycare
buyer, organic buyer and so on) - make sure you target the right
Face-to-face: Don't settle for being fobbed off - if
someone asks you to just send in a product sample, it'll probably
get dumped on a heap and forgotten about. Push hard - but politely
-for a face-to-face meeting.
Samples: Always, always, always take plenty of
samples of your product to any meeting with anyone at a
Trial: Offer a trial period if the supermarket
buyer isn't biting at your offer. A few units in a couple of stores
for a couple of months can give you a chance to prove your
product's worth without leaving the buyer with a big financial
Shelf-space: Make sure you discuss exactly what
shelf-space you're getting - how many stores, where they are, how
many products in each store and for how long. This will likely be a
negotiating hot-spot for you.
Price: Watch out for clauses on negotiation on price
- they'll try to squeeze you further down the line. Read everything
thoroughly and don't overlook the worth of professional legal
Exclusivity?: A supermarket might only offer an
exclusive contract, but this may mean they'll offer you more
support and sales, and it will make your logistics easier. Then
again, you risk missing out on sales elsewhere. If you do sign an
exclusive contract, make sure the exclusivity cause expires within
a year or two.
Fall-back plan: What happens if the supermarket
doesn't renew the contract after an initial six-month trial?
Forward-plan for every eventuality.
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