How To Get Your Products In Stores
Whether you've already started selling products online, or you're still looking for that perfect product, consider getting your product onto store shelves. Below, we highlight the advantages of offline retail, how to determine if it's right for your business, and ways to reach the physical market – either by opening your own store or getting into someone else's.
Advantages of Offline Retail
There are several advantages to selling your product offline. Below, we've listed some of the biggest benefits of getting your items on store shelves.
Unlike online selling, getting people to your product is usually the easiest thing to accomplish with physical retail. With a brick-and-mortar set-up, you have instant access to passersby. A great location means your brand is easily visible to a large, diverse market — without having to heavily invest in digital marketing efforts.
Touching and feeling a product gives shoppers a sense of emotional satisfaction and trust. This can be especially crucial for products that need explaining, sampling, or experiencing. Customers don't have to imagine the candle scent, guess what size pants to order, or trust what color they are seeing on a screen. They can ensure the product will arrive undamaged, in good condition, and that it's exactly what they wanted.
In-store shopping gives sellers the powerful opportunity to meet and get to know their customers. From there, you can build a connection, better understand your audience, and identify better ways to serve them. Plus, you can help create a unique, memorable shopping experience that keeps them coming back.
Minimal Shipping Costs
Shipping and handling can add up when it comes to online selling. Packaging your products for delivery can also add additional costs to your process. If you sell oversized, irregular, or specialty items, you may find it's more cost-efficient to sell in-person.
Both online and offline retail offer versions of instantaneousness. Websites are always on, making it possible to shop day or night. But there's a delay in online shopping that we're all too familiar with — the time between ordering your item and receiving it. That's the benefit of brick-and-mortars, your delay is relatively nonexistent.
Evaluating In-Store Selling
In the modern marketplace, almost all businesses should have an online presence. Whether that's your own storefront, though, depends on a number of factors.
Selling in-store might be right for you if:
- You're already profitable online and need to expand. Bringing your product experience to customers "in real life" will boost brand awareness and give your customers something new to rave about.
- You'd benefit from the opportunity to upsell. It's much easier to convince your customers that taking home three is better than one when the product is literally at their fingertips. It's also easier to convince them to upgrade services, models, and more when the difference is visible and they can talk it out with someone.
- You're looking to establish trust and a reputation among your target market. If you're having trouble building your brand reputation, physical sales may help you establish trust in the marketplace. Seeing your products on store shelves can give your company credibility. Potential customers know you're not an online scam.
- Your product is better served fresh. If you serve fresh items like food, drinks, or plants, you're likely to deliver a better customer experience in-person.
- You'd prefer designated business hours. Online businesses are open all the time, with customers expecting 24/7 service. If you're a small team and don't want to hire outside help, having store hours in place may be a better fit.
How to Get on Store Shelves
Once you decide selling in stores is right for you, take a look at these easy tips for getting your products on shelves.
Before investing time and money in opening your own store or partnering with another shop owner, it's a good idea to prototype in-person sales for your product. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Join a farmer's market. Farmer's markets occur regularly and attract local clientele, perfect for building public relations.
- Open a pop-up shop. You can open your own or join a pop-up shop event that’s already established. A pop-up shop is a temporary storefront. You may see a lot of these near the holidays, for example. This can be an affordable opportunity to go where the customers are – you don’t need to rent or own any space. All the while, you’re gaining exposure and creating a sense of urgency around your product.
- Find a trade show. These are good if you're looking to become known industry-wide, not just locally. Consider going as an attendee the first year, to make sure it's a right fit for your product. If it is, look into exhibiting.
Sell Consignment or Wholesale
Selling in an existing store is a good choice if you don't offer enough products to fill a whole store. Here are two main ways to go about it:
- Sell consignment. Consignment means placing your product in a store, and receiving a certain percentage of sales once it's sold — usually 60-70%. This arrangement puts the burden of sale on you, making it a good choice if you don't have much brand reputation and need to convince a distributor to take a chance on you.
- Sell wholesale. Wholesaling means selling your product to a distributor, who then sells to the consumer. The product is usually bought in bulk at about 50% of retail price. The payoff percentage is less than consignment, but so is the risk. Once a wholesale dealer has purchased your product, that's it — you're paid and don't have to worry about sales.
Learn more about the two sales methods in our article, Should I Sell Consignment or Wholesale?
Open Your Own Shop
You might be ready to open your own permanent storefront if you offer a large array of items or are already profitable in the physical market. This will give you the greatest amount of control over your product and your customer experience.
Whether it's online, offline, at a market, through a distributor, or in your own store, how you sell your product will depend on your product, your resources, and your audience. Before you make that leap, make sure your brand is ready with professional product labels, price tags, barcode labels, and more.
Nathalia is a professional writer and web developer passionate about creating clear and helpful content online. When she's not working, attending Orlando Meetups, or obsessing over podcasts, Nathalia can be found training as a national level Olympic-weightlifter, salsa dancing, or speeding off to yet another road trip adventure.