There’s not a week that passes that we don’t get in the car and drive to our local retail stores to buy branded physical products. Whether its food, beverage, hardware supplies, sundries, or clothing, we continue to make over 90% of our purchases in a physical, bricks and mortar, “old fashioned” retail store. Why? Because it’s more convenient. There is no delivery fee. We can see, touch and compare products. And we have it instantly in our hands.
Seems like everyone has a dream of working out of their house or even off their mobile devise and making millions selling online. This has led to a multitude of digital sales educators. They all report on the explosion of non-physical, digital products that can now be offered to a huge audience of online shoppers.
They constantly remind us of the big winners in the 7 digit numbers, and how you too can be one – if you just take their course. But as time goes on and email gets opened less and less, it’s becoming clear that it’s more like making thousands.
Meanwhile, how to sell physical product brands to retail stores is becoming a lost art.
This is why we spent the past 6 months developing a 5-part series on just that. It is called “How to Get Your Product on the Shelf… and Keep It There.” There are many creative folks working out of their garage or laundry room, just like we did, who want to build their brands in retail stores. They are referred to as inventors, innovators, makers, or commercial product producers. What they all have in common is a physical product best sold from the shelf or from the floor in a bricks-and-mortar retail store.
They still have a healthy respect for online presence and online commerce. They appreciate the value of a great website, aggressive social presence, and a big list. But they know that when selling a physical branded product, they can build their brand faster in retail stores, collect larger receivables and improve their cash flow.
But selling in stores is not without its dangers and pitfalls. In fact, it is down-right scary. We know because we built a big retail brand ourselves! You get one chance and that’s it! Once you fail, you are pretty much done. Your reputation as a “non-starter” or a “fast mover” is made in the first few months. You must be a big hit right off the bat, or the retailers won’t take a chance on you.
The early days of building a physical branded product are very fragile. When you are new without an established reputation of strong sales, retailers are less likely to reorder your products and this will kill your brand. Unlike online sales, retail sales are very territorially focused. You can’t spread yourself too thin geographically. You must service what you sell. You must respect the realities of the physical market.
Many folks think they understand the physical market because they shop there twice a week. But they are only seeing the front of the shelf. They don’t see what’s going on behind the shelf. That’s where it all comes down. And that’s what we focus on our series, “How to Get Your Product to the Shelf …and Keep It There!”
So, if you or someone you know has a “better mouse trap,” and would like to see their product on the shelf, improve its position, or expand their brand, send them to Inventorz.com to pick up on our 20 years of experience doing just that!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders