So, your niche food or drink product or brand has been doing well online. You have a website with the appropriate dedicated point-of-sales landing pages and may also be offering your product through third-party vendor sites as well.
This is the point at which online sellers of consumable goods face an all-important decision for their brand: Continue to sell solely online by focusing exclusively on digital marketing, optimization, ads, and expansion to seek additional internet-linked niche markets and the sites catering to them? Or, is it worth going after brick-and-mortar grocery stores and retail chains?
The latter can certainly be a risk, but success would change everything. However you choose to court the grocery retail market, it’s going to require an investment of time, money, and effort. The question is: Which of those investments is going to yield the greatest ROI? Which direction offers the greatest possibilities for growth?
Being Your Own Brand Ambassador
To be clear, whichever route you end up taking, you’re going to be acting as your own brand ambassador to one degree or another. You’re going to be promoting and explaining your product to your sales employee(s), a CPG marketing outfit, the owner of a local store, or a chain’s broker or purchasing agent.
Being your own brand ambassador can also mean actively pitching your product or product line to brick-and-mortar outlets. Should you choose to pitch your brand yourself, know that the path to the top is going to take baby steps—a lot of them.
The first step for personally getting your product on the shelves is—no surprise here—seeking out local retailers who specialize in healthy, local, artisanal, organic, or otherwise niche foods. There will likely be a substantial amount of cold-calling, a lot of unproductive conversations with bored or busy retail buyers and managers and owners, and undoubtedly a lot of red tape. Taking this on yourself can quickly leave you on the outside of important conversations and spread very thin in time and resources.
Benefits of Using a Food Broker
The alternative to relying on yourself or an in-house sales associate is hiring a food broker. When you hire a food brokering agency (aka a CPG broker or a grocery broker), you’re hiring a lot more than an entity to administer deals between sellers and buyers. At least you should be; which is why hiring a good agency is paramount.
The chief perk of having your brand supported by a CPG broker is the connections they bring. The relationships you or an in-house salesperson would have to build, the time required to build them, an understanding of the quirks and preferences of those contacts, and any other business-pertinent information have thankfully already been established by the food broker.
A multifaceted and dependable CPG broker can also be leveraged as a targeted sales and marketing agency. They’re familiar with not only the more general grocery trends as well as distribution, promotion, and packaging strategies that work, but also know the specifics about pricing of products comparable to yours, including your direct competitors. And while they’re doing the legwork out there, looking to find your brand new homes, you can focus on production.
As is the case in so many other areas of business, the key to finding success with a food broker is picking the right one. As close as regional food retail communities can to be, those without good reputations don’t tend to last. Find the brokers that have experience with products like yours and are willing to establish a specific, targeted strategy for your brand.
With a good product and a good broker to partner with, the sky’s the limit.
About Impact Group
Founded in 1994, Impact Group focuses on employing empirical, fact-based data on consumer buying and CPG marketing trends to guide their clients onto the most productive growth paths. This approach, which utilizes their proprietary technology, has resulted in Impact Group emerging as one of the most effective and respected players in the CPG space. They remain large enough to make an impact, but streamlined, efficient, and nimble enough to specialize, optimizing growth for any client’s niche.
Take your brand to the next level with Impact Group at Impactgrp.com