People always ask me what they need to know before they launch a new CPG brand in the retail space. Over the years I’ve learned a few lessons about what’s necessary for success in this space. Here are some of the basics every new CPG brands need to cover before launching into the retail marketplace.
Have funding in place
For a successful launch in the CPG marketplace, you’ll need to have funding in place and easily accessible to cover costs like:
- Retail fees and cost to do business with retailers.
- Basic marketing, promotion and advertising.
- Manufacturing, inventory, warehousing and distribution.
- Cash flow.
Avoid disasters with planning
Without strategy and solid planning, it’s easy to get off kilter. Here are some of the most common reasons for disaster for your CPG brand in the first year:
- Lack of adequate and proper funding.
- Presenting the retail market prematurely.
- Lack of business/marketing plan.
- Lack of marketing energy (funding/plans/execution) after product makes it to the shelves.
- Inability to ship on time or out of stocks.
- Entering unfavorable deals and terms with retailers.
- Pre-mature hiring of reps and brokers.
- Not having finished goods and live samples.
- Lack of completed sales presentations and proper marketing materials.
- Inexperience working with chain drug, mass, and supermarket retailers.
- Improperly managing reps and brokers and their activities.
Cover the marketing basics
Here’s what you need to have in place before hiring and deploying reps and brokers and going to market at retail:
- Finalized package design with exactly the right information and graphics.
- All display vehicles in place with live samples of open stock and individual samples and ready to ship.
- High and low-resolution images in place for all products, all sizes, and all displays.
- Complete PowerPoint Presentation that includes every retailer interest and discussion point.
- Completely finished goods ready to ship now.
- Plan of action (on paper and ready to explain) for ramping up demand for retail customers.
- Sales materials ready for use. (Sell sheets, pricing, complete specifications, images, etc.)
- Web site up and running – fully functional for consumers, retailers, and reps.
Complete “office” staffing
Before launching, it’s very important to have your office staff (or systems) in place, and ready to do business 24/7.
- Ready to work with brokers
- Customer service for retailers
- Customer service for consumers
- Warehouse, shipping, transportation, information systems, etc.
Make plans and preparation for your brokers
Make sure you give your brokers the proper tools so that they are effectively prepared to do their job.
- Broker territories completely planned and laid out. (Do NOT let it simply evolve broker by broker!)
- Broker contacts ready to use.
- POG/placement suggestions/deletions/POA with information and illustrations or photos.
- Complete broker selling kits ready to dispense for use! (Including all sales materials, samples, sell sheets, fact sheets, company data and instructions to do business, etc.)
- Any commercial, ad, or brand promotion needs to be ready to “show and tell.” Have at the ready, and easily accessible, any links, print advertising, viral, video, etc. (You might get only one chance to show your “energy” and this is of paramount interest to buyers.)
- Market research data with visuals, metrics and stats to build your case!
- Consumer research and testimonies (visual and ready to explain.)
- Category information data and visuals. Be able to build your case for category expansion.
- All “how to do business” written and printed details need to be clearly outlined for reps. (Terms, shipping points, shipping information, returns, retail ad budget parameters, and company contact information, commission’s administration, etc.)
Leverage CPG brand trade shows
Trade shows are a great way to get your product in front of retail buyers and executives. Sign up on time and be prepared for each show. Below are the big three, but there may be others that are appropriate for your specific product. For more details about the NACDS Total Store Expo, check out this blog post.
Plan and execute trade advertising
Be sure to have a plan and budget for important trade advertising:
- Chain Drug review
- Drug Store News