Manufacturers Need to Be In-Store: Why Your Product Distribution Strategy Should Include Retail Merchandising Checks

It’s more important than ever for manufacturers to take control of their products in store.

Today’s retail landscape is changing. Many retailers are dealing with higher staffing costs, less staff, automation, splitting budgets between online and brick and mortar, quicker changeovers between holidays and special events, and more.

Whereas in the past, retailers might have been able to make sure all products are correctly stocked, priced, and displayed in store, that’s not always the case today.

Manufacturers need to take responsibility for ensuring that their brand merchandising is kept up in-store — and here’s how to do it.

1. Provide expert knowledge

We recently wrote about how the in-store experience can be made special, and part of that includes offering expert knowledge.

Many consumers research products online before going into the store, and sometimes even know more than the retail staff. But as the product’s manufacturer, you know it better than anyone – and you can transmit that knowledge to retailers.

By providing training, spec sheets, and more, you can ensure that retail staff are as well-versed in your product as you are. This will ensure a better in-store experience and may even lead retail staff to recommending your product more.

2. Rotate displays

Many retailers are pressured to keep up with holiday displays and special events – and manufacturers can help.

Think about how you can position your product for certain seasons. Can you market it differently for Valentine’s Day vs. Halloween? Or are there different uses for the summer season vs. the winter?

If you can identify the best times to use your products – or market it differently for each holiday – this can go a long way to helping retailers position your products in store. You can then develop signage, display boxes, and more around the various occasions.

3. Check the digital retail presence

While we’re talking about in-store here, in some cases that can also include a retailer’s e-commerce presence.

As more retailers are embracing online shopping, and even delivery, you need to be aware of how your product is positioned on a retailer’s website and whether that is in line with your brand merchandising.

Again, the more information you can provide is generally the better. If you have pre-written product descriptions, high-resolution photos, pricing information, planned sales, and beyond, this can help the retailer keep their site up-to-date.

4. Think about your brand experience

While many retailers are trying to create in-store experiences, manufacturers can help by planning their own demonstrations, events, value-add promotions, and more.

Some manufacturers have even opened up their own retailers to do this (like Canada Goose) but if that’s not in your forecast, you can do the same with your current retailers by working with them to develop a plan.

Think about your products and what in-store experiences might work best and work with the retailer to uncover the marketing potential.

5. Stay on top of the nitty gritty

And, of course, there are the more detailed aspects of taking control of your brand in store: making sure your product is kept stocked; checking that prices are accurate; assuring your displays are actually being put out; and more.

It can be difficult for manufacturers to get into each and every retailer on a regular basis to check this – but it really does make a difference. Unfortunately, with certain changes in retail, not all retailers are keeping as close an eye on this as they used to.

And even if they are, there’s something to be said for peace of mind.

In this instance, you may want to consider working with a company like Storesupport Canada. We have team members nationally who can go into store and verify all aspects of your brand merchandising.

In-store is still a lucrative distribution channel for manufacturers, but it may require more oversight. That’s where Storesupport Canada comes in.

Contact us today to learn more about our services. Call 1-877-421-5081 or visit www.storesupport.ca.

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