I had someone kindly ask if we wanted to get into a retail store location. More directly a conventional health food store. We’ve had a couple of these requests or suggestions in the past more recently. And my answer is usually the same: thanks but we’re not interested in that at this time.
Even though there is potential for growth and to reach a new audience, here is my reasoning. We actually were in health food stores when we were starting out, in fact we were in stores all across Canada. And truthfully, it wasn’t an enjoyable experience.
To get into those stores you have to try to get a hold of the managers over and over again, in this case, it’s basically cold calling from someone who could care less about you or your business. I don’t entirely blame them, given that they are bombarded with calls throughout the day with companies trying to sell them their products.
Once you get into these retail locations your products still have to sell. If they don’t sell they’ll remove them without much notice. If they don’t know you, they’ll put your product at the bottom shelf which is hard to see or the top shelf where it’s hard to reach. The best selling, or biggest companies get the best retail space in the store, which doesn’t leave much opportunity for the new guy.
At that time they wanted staff training, and because the staff turnover is so frequent I was driving to different locations all over the place explaining our product numerous times because the staff was always so different. And to be 100% transparent, this wasn’t exactly an engaged audience. Most staff wouldn’t be there long and they knew it, and to listen to dozens of product information presentations to people that aren’t interested isn’t enjoyable for either party.
The store also wanted demo’s at least once a month, and to find someone to do it for you or to hire an employee, isn’t much different than trying to find people to work trade shows. Everyone is complaining about prices going up, but no one seems to want an extra job that could help out.
And lastly, there are staff kickbacks. It’s not requested but almost expected that you’ll show up with free samples, t-shirts, gift cards to local restaurants and more. Years ago when we were in retail we could hardly afford to feed ourselves let alone strangers that you would buy stuff for in hopes that they’d recommend your product.
Oh and I guess one last thing. It’s net 30 terms. Very few businesses would pay us right away. They all wanted net terms, which means they don’t have to pay for 30 days. Then when the 30 days rolled around, I was calling over and over again trying to reach the manager asking them to pay their bills.
Maybe things have changed now, However the model we currently have with independent distributors as brand partners from people that know us, and use our products seem to be doing quite well.
I guess for those wondering why we aren’t in retail locations, this write up could provide some insight on why we choose differently.