Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What retailers want to know about your invention

Written By: Jim DeBetta, Retail Product Placement Specialist

When you call on retail buyers, you must be prepared!  When I started calling on buyers years ago, I had little knowledge about what buyers expected from me and even less knowledge about what could happen when I finally earned a face to face meeting.  I spent many days and lots of dollars flying all over the country to meet with buyers – only to be told to come back when I was properly prepared.  Why go through that when everyday is important to bringing your invention to life!  Here are some of the “checklist” items you need to be aware of BEFORE you make that call:

•    Have retail ready samples to demonstrate and if your product is electronic don’t forget batteries.  A buyer cannot make a final decision to purchase a product that is a rough prototype or is incomplete.

•    Have your pricing prepared – wholesale and suggested retail pricing that allows you and the retailer to earn substantial profits.

•    Make sure you dress well as you can never be overdressed.

•    Be on time for your meeting.  I can’t believe how many people show up late for buyer meetings!

•    Visit one of their stores BEFORE your meeting so you are knowledgeable about their current product assortment and how your product fits in.

•    Know everything about the retailer including store count, who their competitors are, and what their goals are as a company.

•    Be prepared to answer questions about your manufacturing capabilities as buyers must feel confident that you can produce enough product should it sell very well.

•    Buyers simply cannot replace an item that is currently selling well unless you can convince them that your product will earn them more profit margin and provide a faster turn (how quickly the store sells out of the item) so be sure to let them know if you are currently selling your product elsewhere successfully to give them confidence – even if it is on a local level

There are many important steps to consider when preparing for these meetings but being fully prepared is critical to having that opportunity to getting your products placed.

To learn more about
Jim DeBetta please visit his website at www.jimdebetta.com

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