Getting on retailers’ shelves is hard, especially without the help of a wholesale distributor, but staying on the shelf can sometimes be even harder. After you’ve spent all that time tracking down buyers and pitching your product, you should protect the shelf space you fought so hard to get. How? Here are several ways:

Consider packaging.

If the retailer puts you on a less than ideal shelf—think low to the ground or high above the average line of sight—it’s your job to stand out and make customers notice you anyways. Think about your packaging and how eye-catching it is while on the shelf next to other brands. Visit the store in person and quickly walk by scanning the shelves in your line of sight to see if your packaging sticks out in the corner of your eye. If you think your packaging needs work, consider adding brightly colored stickers that loudly advertise the benefit of your product such as “100% natural” or “As seen on….” If you can adjust your packaging to increase sales, you just might move down to a better shelf.

Offer to do in-store promotions.

Show the retailer you are making an effort to promote your product by offering to do in-store promotions. If you have a food or beverage product, ask if you can hand out samples to bring awareness to your brand. Or, see if the retailer is open to an in-store demonstration of larger, more complex items. If physically being in all the locations is not feasible for your company, talk about different discounts you can offer to entice customers to try your brand. Although you may have to spend a little in the beginning, it’s a smart investment that will definitely pay off in long run.

Build up demand outside of the store.

Marketing efforts should not come to a halt once you secure shelf space in a large retailer. In fact, the opposite is often true—marketing efforts should ramp up to coordinate with your launch in a new store. Why? You have to build demand on your own by marketing your product outside of the store so customers go to the retailer specifically looking for it. Launch a social media campaign to announce you are now being sold in XYZ retailer, or include the retailer’s logo on the bottom of your existing TV or print ads. The more traffic you can drive into the store, the better you will look to the retailer.

Stay in contact with retailers.

Make sure you keep the lines of communication open with the retailer once you have gotten on their shelves. Ask for information on how your product is performing, and be sure to update your contact when you have other products launching soon. Retailers need to feel you are a partner with them, and not just a supplier, so make an effort to stay in touch.

Do you have any go-to strategies for protecting your retail shelf presence? If so, share them in the comments below!