Get Retail Ready: Pitching to category manager

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As more food startups gain momentum and look for ways to get a placement in retailer shelves, competition gets tougher. It is not always the easiest to get a retailer to stock a product – they go through lengthy processes before onboarding a new item.

Which factors do retailers take into consideration before choosing a product? How can the startups improve their chances for getting selected? We approached the approvers, selectors and distributors of the retail industry to find out exactly, how to be prepared, and how to catch retailer interest.

In the second series of “Get retail ready” we interview Nadine Goller, Category Manager of Spirits, Wine & Sparkling Wine at Metro Cash & Carry Germany.

In this edition we get tips on how to pitch effectively and what retailers look for when selecting products for their shelves.

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Tips on what to pitch to a retailer:

  • Start off the presentation with a short concise company and product description. Focus on a format that matches the target retailer, build interest
  • Highlight the product USP (unique selling point) and key differentiators, compare them to existing products in the same category – make it transparent to the retailer that you are the best in class
  • Clearly communicate the product’s price positioning

When retailers consider new products for their store, there are specific elements they look for. Pay attention to these to create a presentation that catches their interest.

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Retailers specifically look for the following (depending on the product category and type):

  • Price to quality ratio
  • Whether the product solves a specific customer need
  • Differentiation through: quality, special origin, packaging, product innovation, specific accreditations (“bio”, “fair trade”, etc.)
  • Potential products for specific seasonal stocking – whether the product can be used as part of a seasonal offer (temporary)
  • Strong regional relevance (relevant for regional stores rather than national)

Finally, knowing the product well enough to enhance its key features and aspects that differentiate it from other offers in the same category will increase your chances to get on those retailers’ shelves.

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