Tips for Retail Success

From the Buyer’s Perspective: Will Selling at a Major .Com Help me Get Into Major Retailers’ Shelves?

By Vanessa Ting

The short answer is no, except in one unlikely situation.

The long answer is….

Major retailers are more concerned with the sales traction you have built in other brick and mortar stores.  And the more established those stores are, the more impressive your sales results.  It is important to note that how a product sells online does not directly transfer to how it will do in-store.  This is why selling in the .com channel doesn’t do much to win over the store buyer.  Even if it is Amazon.com.

However, selling in a .com environment may be helpful in the following case:

Many large stores have .com sides to their business.  For example, Target has Target.com and Walmart has Walmart.com.   In these situations, it can sometimes help to first get into the .com side of the business.  By doing so, you can prove – using Target as an example – that Target shoppers (at least the online Target shoppers) have an appetite for your product.  It’s a little easier to translate sales performance from Target.com to Target stores than it would be from Amazon.com to Target stores.

Once in a while, those Target or Walmart store buyers will scan the list of  their company’s .com products to find hot-selling items that are not being carried in stores.  In exceptional cases, they will bring those items into their store assortment.   Stores buyers are typically different than .com buyers, but they do communicate.  So in this scenario, it is conceivable that you can win a place at shelf by selling to .com first.  But this is more so the exception than the norm, so I would not recommend this as part of your sell-in strategy.  Your best sell-in strategy will always be to prove your sales in other stores first before approaching the top-tier stores.   

Ultimately, selling at .com will not hurt you – as it helps drive your company sales and profitability.  Romy makes excellent points on the upsides of selling on .com.   So why not do it?!   Just make sure your .com retail prices do not undercut your brick and mortar retailers.

 

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