Innovation,  Leadership,  Marketing,  Strategy


Getting your product into Shoprite’s shelf space should not be liken to counting sand in the desert. Like my mentor usually says, as long as humans are involved, there’s a way around it (Nothing dodgy guys).

Having been in the retail business for over 7 years, here’s my top 5 ways to ensure you not only make it into Shoprite’s shelves or any other major Hypermarket or Supermarket out there, but your product excels while in there.

First things first, your company and the product you are selling must be registered by relevant bodies. No major retail brand worth its salt will even entertain unregistered products even if the product can bring a dollar down to one naira.

  • The product: The product must be air tight. You must be able to demonstrate ether of two things. A stellar sales track record in other locations or a convincing pitch showing huge potential. You must be able to demonstrate capacity as well to cover their vast distribution network across the country. Also, very important is this one question. What problem is your product solving? You need to think like the management of Shoprite looking to boost revenues, think like the buyer looking for a product to get a job done, before thinking about your product and that big fat wedding! I mean cheque.
  • Packaging: Your packaging must be designed and optimized for the target audience. Easy usage counts a great deal. I have seen shoppers steer clear of some products because it’s much easier trying to bathe a one-year old child than opening the lid of the product.

Do your research! Sound cliché but retailers that have stood the test of time have consistently done this. Why should Shoprite add your product to compete with similar products already existing in their shelf space that is not doing so fantastic? Because you’re the first cousin of the Oba of Lagos? What makes a retail location that attracts over 6,000 people on a daily basis want your product. Talk a tour around their branches and study the array of products. products may have been launched a bit too early for instance for the target audience. Whichever way, you should get some inspiration from there.

  • In-Store Marketing: Ok! So, you have been able to convince the management to stock your items in their shelves then what? If your product isn’t Coca-Cola, you may want to spend some time marketing in-store. Get Merchandisers or Conversers to engage shoppers passing by. It takes one in six shoppers to even look at a new product placed beside a popular alternative. It’s only gets better… it takes one in 10 shoppers to pick up a new brand amongst that of competitors. The packaging and price point may help depending on the product and target audience, but conversions and brand awareness is usually key. A knowledgeable, neat and friendly merchandiser in branded clothing will do. An average shopper is weary of strangers no thanks to corporate scroungers.
  • Have a presence online: If you’re reading this and you have no presence, you’re already late. Better late than never though. Before and after a sales pitch, depending on how much of an impression you made, the pitchee will look your product up online. You must be able to show up when the product name is typed on google. It’s the least you should have done. Just do it … NOW!

While online, accumulate reviews and buyer profile. Authentic ones. You will get found out if you ask your younger brother and his friends to flood your reviews with fake comments.

  • Social media is a must. Google and IG are top on the list for people trying to do a quick search of what you are all about. It pays to be humble and listen. DO NOT look down on social media. If Versace, Range Rover, and BMW can promote their brands on twitter and IG, that speaks volumes.

Finally, develop a marketing plan. It’s a road map essential for your product, business and survival. Your product may be for multi-purpose or you are looking to cater to different segments or perhaps branch in new markets. From Coconut oil, you may want to extend to roasted coconut flakes or coconut snacks.  You should not make such decisions overnight.

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