My business partner and I have created a dietary supplement product, got a small batch produced and garnered initial sales through online communities. We now want to take the product mainstream and get it stocked on retail shelves in the UK, and soon after in Australia and the US. Besides the numbers we need to know, what is the best strategy for getting our product on store shelfs across the UK?
That's a great question.
First, congratulations for bringing a nutritional product to market and getting initial sales. That's a huge feat in itself, so well done.
Second, my question would be this - why do you believe that you need to get on the shelves of UK retailers to go mainstream? And what criteria are you going to use to determine when you have realized your goal?
Considering trade marketing costs (avg manufacturer spends 30% of revenues on this - aka paying to be on the shelves, etc...), your production costs and your profit margins, I would question if expanding to an instore model makes sense.
How much funding do you have? What are the goals of your business?
First, research competitors in your space and find out how much capital they have to play with. Chances are if you get instore distribution, it will be out-of-sight or dwarfed by larger competitors.
You may face issues ramping up production rapidly to meet the number of products you need to have in their stores.
And what are the payment terms? Do you have enough resources and cash flow to support production, distribution and wait potentially 30, 60 or 90 days to be paid after a store has moved your product.
Lots more off the top of my head, all pertaining to the main question - what are your goals and why do you believe you need to go instore to achieve them?
Happy to chat anytime. I love marketing and eretail, tho I've never worked in the medical/vitamin products space.
p.p.s. As a piece of homework, research other vitamin or food products companies who have exclusive online distribution. You may be surprised what you find. Best of luck!
Speaking from inexperience (since I don't stock dietary supplements), I'd recommend two things:
(1) Establish your brand presence online first.
(2) Produce a consistent sales track record, converting leads to shipments through your sites.
With a professional looking brand ready to go and convincing sales data to point to, why wouldn't retail stores want to include you?
The approach I'm suggesting would involve a number of components -- from graphics to web design to written content to a brand name and domains for lead generation. Personally I can provide answers for only a few of those areas; and, of course, I have no idea how far along you are already.