Posts Tagged ‘new product development’

Just Because Your Product Outsells The Competition, That Doesn’t Mean You Get The Reorder

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

That sounds crazy! I’ve jumped through all the hoops to get my product onto a major retailer’s shelves and then, once there, my product sold better than my competition, why wouldn’t I get reorders?

Welcome to the real world….

Let’s say you’ve survived the gauntlet and actually got a vendor number from a top 3 retailer. They bought your product, stocked it on their shelves, and your product sold out faster and for more profit that your competitors. . .

Why wouldn’t the retailer pick you to buy from again?

Here are some real examples that happened to me – names not disclosed to avoid getting sued.

Example # 1:

I got my school supply product line into one of the largest retailers in the world. At the end of the school supply season, my product was all gone and my competitor’s product was still there. . .

So they should order from me the next season, right?

Not necessarily.

The retailer in question, whose name starts with a letter towards the end of the alphabet, asked my billion dollar competitor to take all the unsold product back for a credit. We’re talking about multi-millions of dollars.

The competitor told the major retailer, OK, as long as you kick out that upstart small company whose product sold better than ours and don’t buy from them again.

Big retailer does the math and says “OK”.

This entire exchange probably violates any number of laws, which is why we won’t name names, but the bottom line was my product, the best seller, was out.

Example # 2:

I took my everyday sticker product line to the same major retailer and suggested they buy my product instead of another multi-billion dollar competitor’s line.

For a reason, my product sold for $1.00 per package instead of the $2.00 per package my competitor’s product sold for.

I got in all their stores – Yea!

But I had kicked the elephant (another multi-billion dollar competitor) in the shins. It took the elephant a while, but once they noticed what I did they squashed me like a bug.

How did they do it. Differently than the last example, but the same result.

They offered the big retailer weekly in store service at every one of their many thousand stores (their service people were there anyway every week servicing some of their many other product lines).

Buyer calls and asks if we can provide weekly service in many thousand stores every week for free.

Oops. We’re gone.

Example # 3:

Example from a single gift shop – not a chain, but a single store.

The owner bought our kids sticker display with hundreds of packages on it. It sold out right away.

When our rep called on the store owner for a reorder, the owner doesn’t reorder because he says: “that product line was great! It sold out right away, what’s new?”

He figured that most things he buys are still there and don’t sell out so he got lucky, what’s next?

You would think that a product line that sells out would be reordered so they can do it again, but not everyone understands that. . .

The Bottom Line:

The purpose of this post is not in any way to discourage you, but to point out that as a small business, you can still make millions, but just plan on being quick and responsive and when your competitors figure out what you did to them, let them copy last year’s product…..

Even though these are all true stories, remember, I did sell $45 Million worth of product, so I was good with that.

How To Get A Target Buyer To Help You Develop New Products

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I got the senior category buyer at Target to help me develop a new product line for them.

So, how did I do it?

I had a best selling product the previous year so had developed credibility and trust with the buyer as a vendor who made products people wanted and who could deliver on time.

Then, he helped me with the artwork for my following year product line, suggested themes, colors and designs. I sent him designs our artists came up with for his comments.

Target spends more than $100,000 each year on trend and color research so they know what their customers will buy.

So, how likely do you think he was to buy my new line – especially since his input created it?

The result was another best-seller and an award from Target!

The lesson here is that if you create products that make money for retailers, your reception for future products will be completely different.