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Your strategy should be focused on the depletion of your stock from the retailer – not from your importer, not from your distributor, but from the retailer, Says Sid Patel, CEO of Sommeliers Choice Awards.
I would encourage suppliers to step out of the office (winery/brewery/distillery) and spend as much time as they can to make sure that their brand is moving at the retail level. Support your distributor to ensure that the brand moves well during the launch phase. Build a follow-up program to ensure that the numbers are going up (for at least the first 6 months).
If you focus on how your brands are performing at the retail level and work with your distributor and import partners in your launch months, it will help you build your brand more effectively. The market feedback that you will gather will help you educate your own team and prepare you for your next distributor call when you can show them why your brand works.
New suppliers often see their distributors as one-time customers and do not care much after the first PO. What is important is to be long-sighted and see the 3rd PO from your wholesaler. In the real world, most brands only get one chance to be in front of a retailer or on a retailer’s shelves. As a brand owner, you want to make sure that chance is fully capitalized.
An effective way to deplete your brand at the retail level is to host in-store tastings.
Point of Sale: You may feel that this is an overhead, but selling never stops. Once your brands are in stores, you have to worry about how you can move them. Your retailers must sell through. Small things like case cards and shelf talkers help and colored cartons go a long way. It also makes it easy for retailers to locate your brand in their storage stockpile.
Creating secondary displays are important profit center for small companies. For example, find new spots like the refrigerator. If you have whites, put them there.
Floor Displays: Creating secondary displays are important profit center for small companies. Floor Displays are one of the most effective retail merchandising strategies available for showcasing your brand.
Ask your distributor for a depletion report. Analyze this report and pick out some non-performing stores to understand why the product is not working for them, and if you can hold tastings to help them push sales. Ask top-performing retailers for store displays to maximize sales opportunities here.
Signage and Guiding the Customer Journey: Use floor decals if retailers allow you. The best signage, of course, doesn’t just help customers find what they’re looking for but also inspires them to want something they never knew they needed.
Creating urgency: Create incentives around the sales reps, retailers, and retailers’ sales staff. Create incentives on depletion rates. For example, reward them if they move x number of wine cases in y days.
Say Hello to the retailer in person: Go out on the road alone and say to the retailer “I wanted to thank you for stocking my wine.” This does go a long way. If they had a choice, they would always recommend your wine as you are the likable supplier.
Feel free to DM me on Linkedin or Instagram if you need any help with your wine brand. On a weekly basis, I often post on my Instagram practical insights and whitepapers that can be of use to you.