From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: What type of information should I be collecting from my current retailers?

• POS (point of sale) data. Per sku, you want to know how many units per store per week (UPSPW) you are selling. This allows you to keep track of how seasonality and/or special offers (by you or your competition) influences sales. And, it allows you to share your sales data with potential new customers who want to hear how other retailers’ success is going to translate into a low risk buy on their part.

• Competitive info. Some buyers will absolutely not share this info with you. And then there are those buyers who will. So, ask your buyer, “can you share with me how we are performing in UPSPW vs. XYZ brand?” If they say no, then drop it. If they say yes, start taking notes! If you know how the competition is faring, you can better gauge your performance and adjust if necessary.

• Marketing calendar/menu. Find out what marketing programs they offer and the cost to participate. Be prepared to negotiate the cost down.

• POG (plan-o-gram) review periods. You want to know when the buyers make their decisions so you can communicate with them on new skus, current skus, transitions, etc. You should NOT save your communications to the 1-2 times a year that they are making their POG review decisions. But, be prepared to have more in-depth conversations during these key times.

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