As a manufacturer or distributor of products there can be huge frustration in getting your product in front of your target market.
I have a distributor client who sells a health related product who is so fed up with super-slim margins, no retailer support and slow payments from retailers that he has (successfully) started to go direct to the public for sales via his web site.
As one of the owners of this company I’d often go into sport stores and ask after the cooling vest. A sales assistant would – 9 times out of 10 – tell me they don’t stock it and that they’d never heard of it.
(That was despite the fact that I knew they did stock it and that this very same retail chain insisted on a $15,000 ‘contribution’ towards their product catalogue where our product was 1 amongst 100, and they’d also insisted on hugely expensive point of sales posters that they never, ever displayed.)
The Manufacturer & Distributor Have a Tough Job
You see, as the manufacturer or distributor you have to do so much more than just make it and ship it.
You need to provide as much support as possible – in terms of point of sales material, advertising ‘support’, sponsorships, staff training, etc.
But all that often doesn’t filter down.
- Point of sales material isn’t displayed
- Advertising support results in miniscule ads
- Staff turnover is so high, or they’re so disinterested, that it’s completely wasted
Another Great Example
I just saw another great example of this.
I saw a TV ad for a product I am interested in. It retails for $130. The TV ad said to visit the web site for stockists.
So that’s what I did.
I visited the closest stockist – a 12 minute drive away.
A sales member told me they don’t stock the product. And then she tried to sell me a similar/competitor product.
2 Things Here
- If they do stock the product then they’ve lost the sale.
- If they don’t stock the product the manufacturer/distributor needs to revise their stockist list on their web site.
TV Ads Sell The Competitor’s Product!
The manufacturer/distributor must be pulling their hair out.
(And they’ll probably get complaints from the stockist that I visited saying that the TV ads did nothing for the sales of that product!)