When it comes to retailers, and despite the surge in online sales, Big Box stores like Costco and Walmart are truly 800-pound gorillas—particularly now, with many households seeking value and “trading down” to make their monthly budgets go farther.
The most recent results underscore their momentum. Walmart reported comparable store sales growth of +8.3% for the most recent quarter, due to increases in both the number of transactions and average dollars per transaction. Same store sales at Costco were up +5.6% for the last 26 weeks.
Want to get in on that action?
If you have established a strong Brand franchise (even if it is regionally concentrated) with demonstrated sales and market share growth, a competitive point of difference that consumers are responding to, and an attractive value equation—then, it is time to sharpen your pencils and give it your best shot. The volume upside is substantial, and the potential to reach new consumers is significant!
Here are some thoughts on putting your best foot forward.
1. Show off your sales trends. Create compelling charts that clearly tell a growth story in sales, repeat sales, and ideally, the equivalent of same store sales data. Trends that are steady or—even better—accelerating, are table stakes.
2. Show that you have done your homework. If you have consumer research data that shows consumer preference for your brand vs. your competition, with the key product advantages, showcase those findings. If you have testimonials from current customers and existing consumers, share those stories.
3. Show and Tell. Bring product samples for the buyers to try for themselves. If you have a range of top selling flavors that you propose putting into a variety pack just for this channel, have each flavor available. Be prepared to discuss features and benefits in detail. And emphasize that you have put together the top selling items to maximize sales.
4. Show the packaging. Demonstrate that you are taking full advantage of the larger package for big box stores with a bigger logo and the best product features or claims. Have mockups of how your package looks compared to competitors. And talk about the integrity of your packaging in the high volume, logistics driven operation of these big boys. Expect questions about the materials and functionality—eco-friendly, recycling, compostable, sustainable sourcing, tamper proof, reclosable—with the rationale for the choices you made.
5. Show the numbers. No surprise, this is a BIG deal! You must be prepared to offer very attractive pricing to get in the door. Know your cost of goods and variable profit margin so that you can be sure the final negotiated pricing still yields net profit growth that makes it all worthwhile. Sales and profit projections per store and per unit sold, with comparisons to your pricing for traditional retail outlets, are also on the table. If your per-package or per-bottle size is larger than what you sell in traditional retail channels, your per-ounce pricing will need to be attractive.
6. Show that you can handle it. Getting distribution into one or both of these players means a major boost to your volume. So be prepared to demonstrate that you can accommodate that volume 100% of the time. Discuss your manufacturing capacity and upside potential for increasing production volume.
7. Show your support. For the most part, it is unlikely you will have to pay slotting allowances. That said, if you are seeking distribution in keenly competitive sections of the stores or high cost to operate sections (like frozen or refrigerated aisles), you need to be prepared to factor that into your overall pricing proposal. Importantly, present your sales and marketing plan where you take full advantage of the programs offered by the retailer. Offer deep discount promotions at least twice a year to stimulate demand and new sales, coupled with participation in the retailer’s promotional vehicles (print and online), to maximize incremental volume during those deal cycles. Consider securing promotional displays for at least one deal cycle. And if you have a food or beverage product, include in-store sampling to help generate trial.
8. Put your best foot forward. Be sure your website is up to date, looks professional, and features the products you are trying to promote to the Big Box channel.
9. Offer to customize and provide exclusives. Many Big Box retailers want an exclusive color, material, flavor, or package.
Being buttoned up and ready to go for these new customer sales presentations is hard work, no doubt. A fresh set of eyes with an objective view of your brand story and value proposition can potentially sharpen your pitch. You might conclude it is time to take it to the next level and pull out all the stops. The payback is likely worth it. Your brand’s future may well depend on it.
At Damen Jackson, we thrive on helping clients get the biggest bang for their buck while staying keenly focused on being smart and nimble. We are here to be your partner, your conscience, your devil’s advocate—an extension of your team. And we will always bring the conversation back to strategy. How do we maximize the market opportunity with a sharp eye on economics?
We were recently named #14 among the top 100 marketing and design agencies by Agency Spotter Top Agencies.
Importantly, we are pragmatic, focused, and energetic. We get assignments done well, and quickly.
Take the first step to a more successful business today.
1. CLICK HERE to schedule a free 30-minute discussion. No pressure – we promise.
2. We’ll provide real-world case studies showing the process in action.
3. If we’re a fit, we finalize the details and get started.