When you are scaling a consumer products company, scoring a large order with a retailer has obvious benefits. It helps you reach minimum orders, broadens brand exposure to consumers and serves as a marketing channel for your own website and stores.

In my past life as an investor, I have seen numerous consumer products pitches. However, rarely did I see entrepreneurs quantify how much customers loved their product and calibrate that demand.

My advice: Don't sell products--sell the opportunity. Incorporating consumer engagement data in your product sales pitch to retailers can paint the picture for the growth potential of your brand and thereby sales for your retail partners. Here's what you need to do to make this happen:

1. Utilize online consumer engagement to drive sales.

According to a recent DigitasLBi survey, 88 percent of consumers research products online even if they are making offline purchases. Whether you are selling to a retailer for its brick-and-mortar store or e-commerce channels, upward trends in your Web metrics can improve your sales pitch.

At Trendalytics, we advise brands to leverage momentum of online traffic, search queries, and social-media engagement to strengthen their sales pitch to wholesale partners. Free tools to measure your growth and that of competitors include Compete, Google Trends, and Google Keyword Planner. 

2. Promote positive customer reviews and testimonials. 

A few years ago, I invested in a quickly growing headphone company. The company's financial traction was strong, but I wanted to understand how consumers perceived the products to validate its potential to expand to more retail accounts. To do this, I analyzed online customer reviews and ratings.

First, I aggregated ratings for headphones on key e-commerce sites. With a few simple calculations, I was able to determine how this company fared relative to the market. Their average ratings were in line with the top four players, and the last three essentially had the same rankings. Additionally, five of this company's SKUs appeared on the top 25 best-selling headphone products for Best Buy. Furthermore, the other top- ranked brands offered products at significantly higher price points. The facts that this company had such strong consumer efficacy and filled a price-point gap in the market were compelling. I also mined the comments for reviews that illustrated which aspects of the product consumers loved.

This headphone company ended up being one of the firm's best investments because of the outside-the-box data I used. This type of data can enhance a sales pitch to new retailers and also to increase penetration. 

3. Track how many times a story related to your product or company is shared.

Retailers love seeing press articles, as it is great validation for your product. Strengthen the validation you have by highlighting the number of times the articles were shared on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Seventy-one percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase on the basis of social-media referrals, so the fact that readers were passionate enough to share your story with their friends is worth touting. For print articles, mention the publisher's circulation stats to illustrate the potential reach of your PR campaigns.

Karen Moon is co-founder and CEO of Trendalytics, a visual analytics company that measures how fashion and beauty trends resonate with consumers. She has advised, invested, and worked with several retail and consumer companies that have redefined their categories. @KarenMoon140

 

Published on: Jun 13, 2014