Large Retailers: Buying Decisions
Manufacturing, producing, and creating a product that appeals to a consumer and deemed worthy of purchasing is every entrepreneur’s most basic challenge. Once that is accomplished, both direct-to-consumer channels like e-commerce, or a point of sale (POS) system to process orders in person can be utilized to sell the product. However, to be able to get a product in front of a large audience of consumers, the holy grail for many entrepreneurs, is to get a retailer to carry the product. We have curated ten pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding how a vendor can best approach and then present their product to a large retailer. Additionally, we added a special section that includes seven pieces of data and statistics about B2B digital marketing in this approach, as requested.
- According to Entrepreneur magazine, there are eight steps that can help guide someone through the process of getting their product in front of a buyer or a buying group at a large retailer. The first thing should be to ask some basic questions of the business or the product that would shed light on whether retail is the right move. Questions to consider include: Does the product fit a demand just waiting to be tapped? Is the multi-unit retailer a good fit for the product? What is it about the product that would make a buyer want to take a chance on it? If the deal is landed, can existing production handle the volume? Is the best thing to sell the product directly to the retailer, or would a better path be to license it to a manufacturer who'll then distribute it?
- Planning ahead for profit is the second thing to consider. Making sure that a fair and reasonable profit margin is built into the product's wholesale price is integral before becoming a multi-unit chain's vendor.
- Make sure the store is the right fit for the product. Simply by doing due diligence and searching stores for similar or related products, can ensure that the best retailer for the product is selected. Going to brick and mortar stores to see what is being sold, and then picturing where in the store where the product would sit can better prepare the entrepreneur when it comes time to approach the store's buyer and make a presentation.
- Determine who the person should be that does the product pitch to the retailer's buyers. Whether the entrepreneur themselves does it or whether a professional representative is hired to do it should depend on what the product is, as well as on the communication strengths of the entrepreneur.
- If there is an application process to be a vendor, then this application must be completed. It goes without saying that the guidelines should be closely read before submitting to apply to become a vendor for that company. Give the buying team a few weeks before following up with a phone call or an email from the date the application was submitted, At that point an appointment should be requested for a presentation. Depending on the size of the retailer or the retail chain, the vendor requirements from the company will vary. Larger chains will likely have more specific requirements. "For example, J.C. Penney requires vendors to be listed with Dun & Bradstreet and able to raise the capital needed to supply their purchases. The successful J.C. Penney vendor also will be able to obtain $2 million in insurance, do business electronically, commit to labor law and product safety compliance, and to meet production delivery and lead time deadlines."
- Find out who the buyer or category manager is for the product in question and call them to ask when and how often they look at new products. Asking them about any policies and procedures for carrying new products is best practice. If the buyer expresses an interest in setting up a meeting, make an appointment which will likely be where they are which means that travel may be involved.
- In order to be fully prepared for a presentation in front of a buyer or a buying team, ensure that the following items are available to the retail buyer: One: a sample of the product and any packing packaging. This should include a barcode and pricing. It is of note that packaging is of huge importance to buyers as that can impact store space availability. "The product's packaging should take its cue from things already on the store's shelves and racks. Two: a product brochure that provides thorough information on the product. Three: a price list or catalog that includes wholesale and retail prices, discounts, credit, shipping, allowances and conditions of sale. Four: A list of retailers currently selling the product. Five: any current or planned future marketing and promotion plans, including such things as in-store demos, point-of-sale displays, advertising and publicity. Six: proof of the potential for a large sales volume. Seven: manufacturing information that includes proof of the capability for handling large production runs. Eight: business history. Nine: a business card."
- Increased production volume must be accounted for and considered. A new retail market for a product translates to a new volume of production for the entrepreneur.
- According to Launch Grow Joy, selling to retail stores can be tough if you don’t know how to speak their language.
- Nineteen tips surrounding how to sell to retail stores are: go after the big retailers, especially if they have a supplier diversity program that the entrepreneur qualifies for. Exhibit at trade shows. Secure appointments at trade shows. Follow up with trade show attendees. Use niche marketing, PR and social media. Be persistent. Develop a distribution network for the products. Think Outside of the Box. Understand that retail buyer. Find the right contact info. Offer online ordering. Embrace networking. Contact buyers directly. Develop relationships with the buyers. Introduce the products to store-level managers. Start blogging and sponsor product giveaways. Get a referral. Ask existing customers to refer the product. Try cold calling.
B2B Digital Marketing: Buying Decisions
- B2B marketing can be challenging for companies due to the difficulty of approaching their final clients. These aren’t usually the top executives but instead, is a person or a team of people in charge of purchase decisions.
- There has been a decided move toward a mobile-first approach in every market segment, including B2B. A 2017 BCG study found that mobile marketing accelerated B2B purchase by 20%. Everyone is on their phone, and decision makers at businesses are no different. In the same BCG report it is revealed that 80% of B2B buyers use their mobile at work.
- Fifty-one percent of B2B marketers make creating visual assets a priority for their content marketing strategy, and sixty-five percent of B2B marketers are creating infographics.
- An astounding ninety-four percent of B2B organizations use LinkedIn to distribute their content, and the social platform giant drives more than fifty percent of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs.
- "More than ninety percent of B2B buyers say they’re likely to buy again from a vendor that had a superior mobile experience, compared to 50% of those who report a poor experience."
- "B2B ecommerce sales are expected to outgrow B2C ecommerce sales by 2020." Further, B2B ecommerce will exceed 12% of all B2B revenue by 2020.
- Seventy-five percent of B2B buyers use social media to support their purchase decision. To provide even more insight into a B2B buyers thought processes and expectations, an article by Mathew Sweezey published on Convince & Convert points out that eighty percent of B2B buyers expect the same buying experience as B2C customers, expecting companies to respond and interact with them in real time.