Five rules for new vendors pitching themselves

I recommend a RetailWire discussion this week about five steps (not excerpted here) that vendors should follow when trying to be added to a company’s roster, or when pitching a new product. They were all terrific, but I added one of my own:

From my long-ago experience at Kohl’s, I found that some vendors pitching to be added to the “matrix” (which can be a tough task in many stores) failed to take the most elemental step: They hadn’t shopped any stores and were therefore unprepared to discuss how their brand or product might fill a meaningful void in the assortment. This step seems obvious, but I saw it happen over and over again. (And I’m often talking about New York-based vendors who apparently didn’t bother with the 15-minute drive from Midtown to The Meadowlands.)

I think the five steps outlined in the article are vital — and should precede any discussion about cost pricing, even with a tough negotiator like Walmart — but there is no substitute for a store visit first, to understand how your product will resonate with customers and meet their needs.

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