Less is more

June 6, 2014By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

By Dave Wendland

“What is your SKU priority?” This simple question can make or break your brand when presenting to a retail or wholesale buyer. What happens next is up to you – and it takes courage.

It wasn’t that long ago that this question was not part of the dialogue between manufacturers and buyers. But today, nary a meeting concludes without addressing this fateful query.

For those new-to-market products looking to gain trust and build a long-lasting relationship with the buyer and the retail or wholesale organization at large, this is indeed a pivotal moment. Simply put, there is no longer room on the retail shelf or within warehouse stacks for products that are not among the priority items.

What are these priority SKUs? These are the items among the portfolio that are the absolute best in breed. The cream of the crop. The ones destined to become best sellers. Items that will truly make a difference in the category. Sure, some place there is a brand manager cursing to himself that ALL items should be a priority. After all, why would a product be produced that wasn’t created to become a best seller? Careful – that’s emotion talking rather than reality.

The priority ranking should be based on the following criteria: 1) consumer do you have enough courage to honestly prioritize your SKUs?appeal; 2) category differentiation; 3) sales indicators (potential); and 4) shelf space allocation.

Therefore, before any buyer meeting, brand managers, sales personnel, and the operational teams need to align their thinking and determine the SKU ranking. To falsely assume that the question will not be asked or to inappropriately deflect it and suggest that all of the new SKUs should be stocked, the manufacturer will likely be met with disbelief and possible outright rejection.

Ask yourself: do you have enough courage to honestly prioritize your SKUs?

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