Selling your products to retailers in this new paradigm as a startup

This blog is a contribution by Yohan Jacob, known internationally as the Retail Coach. A noted author, retail consultant and retail coach, Yohan teaches entrepreneurs, inventors, and small suppliers on how to stand apart from the competition and get their products sold to retailers and distributors. Visit him online at www.retailbound.com

Selling your products to retailers in this new paradigm as a startup
Selling your products to retailers in this new paradigm as a startup / Image Credits: Unsplash

What a year 2020 was! Like most people, I have put 2020 in the rearview mirror and really focused on making 2021 a year to remember! Birthdays, school graduations, weddings, and other major life events have all been affected some way or another this year thanks to COVID-19. This was also no exception to the annual DATG “Day After Thanksgiving” sales event. As a former Sears and OfficeMax buyer, I have seen my fair share of DATG sales events to last a lifetime. However, at last year’s’ DATG sales event, I noticed a trend emerging.

Instead of retailers listing the hot price on a 4K television, I saw promos on chess sets and other board games. Why? As many states instituted stay-at-home orders in the Fall, consumers were looking for products to “play at home”.  Retailers also promoted products in these trending categories as well:

  • Work from home
  • Study at home
  • Workout at home
  • Cook at home

In addition, many retailers chose to push their blockbuster sales items online versus having to deal with crowds in stores during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Most offered sales on their website throughout the month of November. One major retailer launched one hot DATG sales item on their website every day in November while another major retailer offered a 10% discount when the consumer would purchase the item online but picked it up curbside outside the store.

Consumer Product Startups in 2021 / Credits: Unsplash

Consumer Product Startups in 2021 / Credits: Unsplash

So, what’s happening?

First, consumers are discovering new products almost exclusively online. Potential customers are no longer browsing shelves or taking trips to the local shopping mall. Rather, they are being targeted on Facebook and Google by both manufacturers and digital ad agencies.

Second, consumers are validating purchases with online product reviews. Manufacturers who develop strong reviews online run the market. At Retailbound, we have clients that have thousands of verified 4 and 5-star reviews on their items at Amazon.  Since demand exists online, retail buyers at brick-and-mortar stores are no longer feeling that they are taking the risk on in-store placement for small brands. 

What does it mean for Consumer Product Startups?

Consumer product startups are well-positioned to take advantage of this new retail paradigm. Here are a few ways a startup can best adapt:

  • Improve your content and images online: Your website is a reflection of your business. Hire professionals to edit your copy and improve the content online with high-res images. One of our clients recently updated their website and saw their sales equal to both Amazon and Best Buy during the DATG sales event.
  • Build your social network: Start a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account on behalf of your brand and start building followers. Not sure what to post? Pick a favorite brand and emulate the ways that brand engages with its followers. No need to reinvent the wheel!
  • Make customer service your #1 priority: Bad customer service can result in negative online reviews for even the best products. Ensure you have a process in place to deal with all levels of customer complaints. Your goal should be to convert every angry customer into a fan.
  • Outsource your PR and marketing efforts: It would be a terrible mistake to cut back on your sales and marketing efforts to retailers and just wait till we are past COVID-19. Many consumer product start-ups don’t have the time or the experience to do public relations or channel selling themselves. It’s best to hire professionals who can manage these tasks while you focus your efforts elsewhere.
Selling your products to retailers in this new paradigm / Credits: Unsplash

Selling your products to retailers in this new paradigm / Credits: Unsplash

Hopefully this blog post inspires you to continue your dream of getting your products sold into major retailers someday. While retail is tough, it’s not impossible. I look forward in seeing your product in retail very soon. Good luck and good selling!

Madhurima Nag is the Head of Content at Gadget Flow. She side-hustles as a parenting and STEM influencer and loves to voice her opinion on product marketing, innovation and gadgets (of course!) in general.
Join the Discussion

You Might Also Like

Fruble The Everyday Storage and Camping Systems Review: level up camping with your Tesla or Rivian

Fruble The Everyday Storage and Camping Systems Review: level up camping with your Tesla or Rivian

When my husband and I camp with our kids, organizing the stuff in our car is the key to success. It’s easier to have fun and relax when we can find utensils, clothing, coffee-making supplies, etc. That’s why owners of..
The best new tech gadgets you can buy right now

The best new tech gadgets you can buy right now

Keeping up with the latest tech developments isn’t easy. With constant innovation, there’s just so much happening. But that’s where the Gadget Flow editorial team can help. It’s our job to find the coolest new products and introduce them to..
Everything we know about Google’s Project Astra so far

Everything we know about Google’s Project Astra so far

Google’s gone all in on AI assistance. At yesterday’s Google I/O event, the tech giant unveiled Project Astra, its new multi-modal AI assistant. Demis Hassabis, the head of Google’s AI development, hopes it will become a universal assistant, helpful in..
Best productivity gadgets of 2024

Best productivity gadgets of 2024

Multitasking doesn’t work. Experts say that humans are hardwired to focus on one thing at a time—probably for the better. But that doesn’t mean we can’t strategize our workday (and desk space) to get more done in our 8-hour stint..
Smart home accessories that won’t break the bank (for $50 or less)

Smart home accessories that won’t break the bank (for $50 or less)

No, you’re not imagining it; everyday items are getting more expensive again (thanks, inflation). So, if rising prices are stopping you from buying gadgets that could make your home safer and more convenient, keep reading. The Gadget Flow editorial team..
Could we survive a day without internet? Exploring life offline in 2024

Could we survive a day without internet? Exploring life offline in 2024

You wake up every morning and start your routine, which, for most of us, includes catching up on the news. Whether this is about your friends, celebrities, sports, or current events, it usually begins on your smartphone or tablet. Even..