From Ecom To Retail: What Changed?
Fact: the experience of owning a brand and selling your own products has changed radically within the last ten years. How radical? Well, have you noticed that several brand owners today choose to first launch their businesses on eCommerce platforms like Amazon – and from there they wait for the perfect timing before they expand their brand presence on brick-and-mortar shelves? Ten or so years ago, it was the other way around – when retail store brands waited a little before they expanded to selling online. It’s funny how far we’ve gone from the old ways in such a short period of time.
Perhaps there are major reasons why the majority of brand owners find it easier to start selling online first – some of which may be that there are fewer requirements for selling online and it could be easier to deploy. Today, one indication of progress in business is a brand’s expansion from eCommerce to selling on a physical store shelf.
In that regard, brand owners will have to consider the major differences in selling on both platforms – and tick some boxes before they transition from eCom to a retail-ready brand. What boxes are we talking about? Below are some basic guidelines for selling your product at a brick-n-mortar shop:
- Consider your niche audience and ask yourself – what category/subcategory does your product belong to? Which retail stores carry your product category and would your audience look for your product category there? Think about it – will your audience look for a risque adult-only product in a supermarket? Or perhaps they’d want to shop somewhere more discreet?
- Search for retailers on the internet. Narrow down your search to the most specific subcategory that your product belongs to and look at retailers who carry that specific subcategory.
- Don’t stop digging for information even as you narrow down your search. Find out the retailer’s current position and performance. Are they doing well? Do they cater to a good crowd of customers? Is it a good place for your brand’s exposure?
- The next stage is preparation – aka how to present your product to the retail store representative/buyer. Remember: your first customer is the rep – they are the first ones you’re selling your product to. How would you convince them that your product will draw customers to their store? Come prepared with a catalog – but don’t bore them with a lengthy presentation. Be brief and go straight to the point – what’s so special about your product that they absolutely have to sell them on their shelf?
Is Your Packaging Retail-Ready?
We’re going to take a break from the basic guidelines and zero in on one factor – presentation – or more specifically, packaging. Updating your packaging to be retail-ready is perhaps one of the most crucial and exciting elements to prepare for when selling your product in a physical store. One major difference between selling in retail vs eCommerce is the platform on which you present your product to your customer. Online you have your listing and your images which can both be optimized for a stronger presence. That’s what keywords and infographics are for.
You don’t have a listing in a physical store. You will not be given a dedicated space on the shelf in which you can explain what your product is and why you’re better than your competitor. You won’t get a sales rep contracted to sell your product exclusively to every customer who comes within reaching distance of your product. What you do get is shelf space – the space where you can present your product to the world. Now the question is: how do you grab attention from the shelf? And that’s where your packaging comes in handy.
Picture this: a customer comes browsing in a store and glances at your product category’s space on the shelf – where your product and others like yours compete for this customer’s attention. What if your product is in a plain box, with nothing that draws the customer in, nothing that connects with your customer’s need or reason for being in the store – and to make matters worse, here comes your competitor in bright and shiny packaging with the product name sprawled proudly in front and professionally-captured product images to boot. To which product do you think would your customer naturally gravitate to?
Packaging is a big deal – more so in retail stores. Professionally made and well-conceptualized packaging tells your customer that your brand is trustworthy and reliable.
So -what are the factors to consider when conceptualizing your packaging for retail? Here are a few:
- Colors are associated with emotions, and emotions associate with brands. Red represents passion and hunger, while blue represents authority. Know what colors associate with your brand values and use those.
- Product images in your packaging are crucial. Customers want to know what they’re getting inside the box or plastic bag. Hire a professional photographer – but also steer clear of any tendencies for the images to fool your audience. If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard the complaint, “the actual product does not look anything like its photo”, we’d be millionaires by now.
- Packaging copy should be short, simple, and easy to understand. Don’t confuse your audience, don’t make them guess, or leave room for misinterpretation. Explain what your product is in 5-7 sentences, tops.
- Think about how you want your product to be displayed on the shelf. Does it make sense to put it in a box? Or does it make more sense for the product to hang on a hook? Which one looks better? Which one grabs more attention? Which one’s easier for your customer to pick up?
Join Our Retail Masterclass
We’ll tell you one little secret. All these guidelines were collated from a Q&A session between retail sales experts and eCommerce sellers ready to make that physical store transition – and published for an exclusive masterclass group. And there’s more where these came from. All kinds of pointers with so much value which push sellers forward and help them finally scale their businesses on retail. It’s all in our exclusive retail masterclass course featuring retail sales expert Talor Ofer and of course, our fearless leader Amy Wees.
Signing up for the retail masterclass not only gives you access to multiple Q&As, instructional videos, tutorials, and similar tools. Here are additional benefits that you get when you sign up:
– Hands-on training with the masters Talor and Amy themselves
– An exclusive invite to a private group where you can ask any question you might have about retail selling
– Step-by-step templates to guide you through your first meeting with a retail store buyer.
– And many more!
What else can we say? It’s a $99 course with priceless value. Hurry and sign up for the retail masterclass or browse our course menu for all things eCommerce related!