Are you preparing to launch a new product or pitch an idea to retail buyers without the help of an experienced product broker or wholesale distributor? No matter how many articles you read on perfecting the perfect pitch or nailing your product launch, you won’t be ready unless you understand how retailers choose which products they’re going to carry in their stores. Here’s what retailers take into consideration when making these important decisions:

How consumable is it?

Retailers choose products that consumers will need over and over again, so the quicker your product can be consumed, the better. A lot of these products have a short shelf life because they’re perishable, such as baked goods or dairy products, but if you can introduce a product that is highly consumable with an extended shelf life to retailers, this is ideal. Perishable items have to sell quickly otherwise they must be thrown out, so a non-perishable item is more appealing to retailers because it’s less of a risk.

How well does the product present itself?

Retailers also need to consider how well the product presents itself to customers while sitting on the shelf, which is why it’s important to show the buyers your product’s packaging during a pitch. Unless you’re pitching to a high-end, niche retailer, the store will probably not be staffed with a team that walks around and sells one-on-one to customers. What does this mean for your product? It has to sell itself. Customers must be drawn to it as they walk by it on the shelves, and when they pick it up, the packaging must explain what the product is and how it is used very clearly. If there’s a lot of explanation required, your product may not be fit for a retailer’s shelves.

Where else is this product carried?

Retail buyers are always curious about what other retailers have chosen to carry your product because they want to keep an eye on their competition. If their main competitors are already selling your product, they may feel the need to do so too. But, if your product is not in stores yet, you still have a chance. Many retailers pride themselves on bringing new items to customers, so if you can spin your pitch to focus on how excited customers will be to try something that they’ve never seen before, this may work in your favor.

How will you keep up with demand?

Retailers have to think about what happens if your product doesn’t sell and what happens if it does, and part of the latter is ensuring you are ready to keep up with the demand. Don’t be surprised if the retailer begins to pry into the financial health of your business and ask questions about where your products are being made, how many units you have in stock, and how quickly you can deliver after an order is made.

What do you wish you knew about how retailers choose their inventory before you pitched to them? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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