Now that we have our new product, the next – and toughest – trick is to get them into stores. This is one of the biggest challenges for smaller companies like Pretzel Pete and one of the biggest mysteries for consumers.
The most obvious location for products in grocery stores in on the regular shelf but, alas, that is also the toughest place to get your products placed. Going back decades, the larger grocery chains began charging what are known as “slotting” or “listing” fees. These are flat, one-time charges that stores apply to each new item that is being placed on that store’s permanent shelf. The fee can range from a dollar or two for each store in which the product is placed to literally tens of thousands of dollars. So, even if you have a sure fire “hit” item, the stores will expect to pay-your-way-in to the store. Even if willing to pay the fees, it is not a slam-dunk to get placement; many other things must go right.
There is another option for smaller companies to get their products in high volume stores. This option is to sell the product on an “in/out” promotional basis. You usually see these items in stand-alone displays throughout the store. The advantage to the manufacturer is that there is generally no placement or other fees associated with in/out promotions. The disadvantages are numerous including lack of permanent placement (returning customers can no longer find the product), the product will always be sold at a discount, and the location of the shipper display may not be optimal (will be different in every store and may be placed in a disadvantageous section of the store).
In the coming weeks and months, we will look forward to keeping you up-to-date on our quest for retail placements for our new Mini Twists items. With luck, we will begin to fill in the map with retail locations.