Getting sold in a supermarket is a big step forward for food or other B2C products manufacturers. Scaling up the production without loosing quality and developing the right marketing, brand, promotion and distribution channels, will however be determining factors in the ultimate commercial success.
How to get sold in a supermarket
Getting in touch with retailers is a first step towards getting distributed. But large supermarket chains often have rigorous processes that can be difficult to navigate for small brands. Approaching smaller retail outlets can thus be easier: they can take decisions and try new products at small scale without taking too much risk.
Some smaller retail chains can display new products on their shelves and promote them in their stores without charging upfront fees. Their goal is to assess the sales potential of the products, and if it’s worth going further, they will be eager to move to a larger scales provided they can earn a profit.
One of the key aspects to understand is that Malaysia, like many other markets in Southeast Asia, is very depending of imports, especially for mid to high-end products. Finding local producers of quality home-made products is therefore interesting for retailers as they can reduce their import costs.
Creating better products
Another way to get noticed by retailers is to create great products. When they get to know the product through the initial, local, promotion and distribution channels, retailers can approach producers by themselves if they feel that consumers will like the products and that the retailer can get an sufficient margin on the final price.
The first way to create better home-made products is to try and make something better than what is available in the market. If the product is really good, it should not be too difficult to sell it in some specialized outlets. The process from there is to distribute it to more outlets, and then bigger ones.
To accompany this process of scaling, it is very important for the producers to develop the proper supply chain and production process. They must adopt the entrepreneurial spirit: marketing the product, creating a brand, providing great customer service and improving the product and creating new ones (research and development – R&D).
Key take away for home-made products success
In the end, success will come from making products you are passionate about and seizing opportunities that come around, oftentimes from lack of proper competition. To avoid getting blinded by being involved in your project and passion (also known as “marketing myopia”), it is critical to obtain a product confirmation from other consumers, friends and family for example.
Video from April 2014 by ETP Roadmap