🥗 Ready for Retail

Hey there, 

Welcome back for another bite to chew on.

This week, we're unpacking a giant leap for your brand:

Stepping into the retail world

It's a move that can supercharge your growth or, well, be a bit of a headache if you're not ready for it. 

We've been down this road, navigating the highs and lows, and we've got 5 bites of wisdom to share.

The Real Deal on Going Retail

Jumping into retail is huge.

It's like stepping onto a bigger stage with a brighter spotlight. 

Just over a year ago, we thought we had it all figured out. 

Fast forward to now, after hitting shelves in close to 5,000 stores nationwide, including Walmart and RITE AID,

Let's just say there's a lot we wish we knew from the start.

Lesson 1: Know Thyself, But More Importantly, Know Retail

Thinking you can muscle through retail with your DTC playbook? 

Think again. 

The rules of the game change dramatically. 

What works online doesn’t necessarily cut it on the retail floor.

From your packaging to your marketing strategy,

Managing the beast called inventory,

And most critically, pricing.

It’s a whole new game.

Golden Rule: Bring in the Experts

We learned the hard way that stepping into retail is not a solo mission. 

It's crucial to have team members or partners who’ve navigated these waters before. 

The insight and experience they bring can save you from costly mistakes and fast-track your success.

Lesson 2: Your Product’s Place Matters

Our initial excitement about getting into stores like Vitamin Shoppe taught us a vital lesson – placement is everything

Your innovative product needs to be seen by the right eyes, not just any eyes. 

If your item is unique, you need a spot that highlights its uniqueness, not one that blends it into a sea of sameness.

Understanding Retail Buyers: The Two Types

Realizing retail is mostly about catching the eye of the browsing buyer, not just the beeline-making brand loyalist. 

This means your packaging needs to do some heavy lifting, making an instant connection in seconds. 

Here’s a checklist to focus on for your packaging going into retail:

  • Make sure everything is big and bold

  • Have good contrast

  • Ensure everything is legible

  • Make sure your value propositions and everything you are trying to convey are moved to the front of the label

If your DTC packaging isn't cut out for this, it’s time for a revamp.

Now, moving on to off-shelf displays.

Unless you’re some magic unicorn of a company, this will take some trial and error to get right.

Once you have a strengthened relationship with the retailer, you’ll be able to apply to get those off-shelf displays.

That’s the big thing to take advantage of when it comes to retail compared to online.

Off-shelf displays need to:

  • Stand out in the store

  • Be eye catching

  • Matching everything you did on your packaging

  • Be treated as the arm for your packaging

Lesson 3: Incentivize the Retail Experience

Driving people to buy from a store versus clicking "add to cart" online isn't straightforward. 

Our secret? 

Amping up loyalty points for in-store purchases. 

It's a win-win:

Customers get more value, and retail partners love the boosted foot traffic and sales.

Lesson 4: Planning and Adapting Inventory

Managing inventory isn’t just about having enough stock.

It's about smart planning and constant adaptation.

Here's how you can ace inventory management for retail success:

  • Lock In Forecasts: Start by securing your forecasts with your broker and buyer. This is your roadmap to understanding what you need and when you need it.

  • Plan for the Unexpected: Weekly forecasts are essential, but they're not set in stone. Be prepared for fluctuations—both positive and negative. Everything from promotional activities to increased D2C ad spend can influence your velocities and, consequently, your inventory needs.

  • Balance is Key: The golden rule of inventory management is to find that sweet spot where you're never overstocked but also never in a position where you have to turn down a retailer due to stock shortages.

  • Use Forecasts as Your North Star: While weekly forecasts guide your inventory decisions, don't forget to engage with your buyer regularly. Their insights can provide valuable reconfirmation and help you tweak your strategy as needed.

Lesson 5: Making Cents of Dollars

Pricing was one of our biggest hurdles going into retail, specifically, Walmart.

Walmart shoppers scan for price first, then product.

We went into Walmart thinking we have a premium product with a premium formula with premium flavors, so we should have a premium price.

We priced our fruity cereal and cocoa cereal More than Collagen protein at $26.98.

Vital Proteins, the top seller and our biggest competitor in the industry, was priced at $23.98.

We had to lower our price to match them in order to compete.

Then, they ended up lowering their price to $19.98.

We continued to lower ours to $18.98 just to beat them.

The drastic price reduction allowed us to 3x sales and actually compete with the big guys.

Understanding price point is one of the biggest things for retail.

Retail Resources Ready for You

Navigating retail isn't just about strategy and creativity; it's also about having the right partners by your side. 

Here's our continuously updated list of retail partners who've been instrumental in our success:

Logistics and Transportation:

Marketing / Walmart Connect:

Labels & Off-shelf Display:

Leveraging partnerships with these pros can significantly ease your retail journey, from logistics to making your brand stand out on the shelves.

The Latest Soundbite

Diving into retail brings its own set of challenges and learning curves, much like the journey Noah Tucker, CEO of Social Snowball, shares in our latest podcast episode.

Noah highlights the evolution from traditional marketing to leveraging affiliates and influencers, a strategy vital for any brand eyeing retail success.

His insights on turning customers into advocates and the power of referral incentives are invaluable for anyone looking to scale their business.

Tune in for a condensed masterclass on modern marketing and growth.

Hungry for More?

Transitioning our brands into retail is a journey filled with learning and growth. To deepen these discussions and share our experiences firsthand, we're hosting the Unofficial Shoptalk Founders Dinner in Las Vegas on March 19th at the Fontainebleau.

It's a chance to connect with peers who are navigating the same retail challenges and victories.

No pitches or presentations, just the invaluable opportunity to network, share insights, and celebrate our progress in e-commerce and retail.

Join us to exchange stories and strategies that can only be shared around a table, among founders looking forward to shaping the future of retail together.

Tool of the Week

Managing cash flow is just as vital as preparing for retail in our business strategy.

Especially when it comes to big expenses like advertising.

We found ourselves in a bind with Meta's ad spend, needing to pay large sums upfront, which would typically hit our bank account hard.

That's when we discovered Plastiq.

It allows us to use our credit cards for payments that usually require a wire transfer.

With Plastiq, we could pay Meta quickly and efficiently, without immediately parting with our cash.

This approach has helped us maintain a healthier balance sheet by utilizing our credit card's payment terms.

Plastiq charges a fee of 2.9% per transaction, but the benefits:

  • Keeping cash longer

  • Earning credit card rewards

  • and the fee being tax-deductible

Make it a valuable tool for managing our finances more flexibly.

See what advantages you can unlock for your cash with Plastiq, HERE.


Packing This Up

As you plot your retail entry, remember:

  • Retail is a different beast; respect its nature.

  • Your packaging isn’t just wrapping, it’s your product’s handshake.

  • The placement of your product can make or break its retail success.

  • Know the retail buyer types and optimize for the browsers.

  • Find creative ways to drive in-store purchases.

  • Have an inventory management plan.

  • Be extremely careful with retail pricing, and don’t be afraid to adjust.

Ready to take the plunge? 

You've got this, and we're here to help light the way. 

Got more questions or need deeper dives on any of these points? 

We're always here to chat about your next big move.

All the best,

Ron & Ash