One of the Jeeter farms things I find when approached by inventors or entrepreneurs who want to take a consumer product to market is they try to launch a brand with a single item. Understand that whether you have one or more products, you’re representing a brand.
Let me be completely honest about this. Unless it’s a stand-alone item (a unique high ticket item) that buyers feel has a lot of potential or it already has some traction in the marketplace and is proving to attract high consumer demand, it’s going to be extremely challenging to persuade a buyer, especially a national chain account to take a single item.
When presenting your product, it’s always best to WOW a store owner or retail buyer and get them excited. This means presenting not only a single product but a product line. Based on my experience, I can tell you that the general response to a single item would probably be that the product will get lost on their shelves especially if it’s a new product from a brand new company. Unless you have a high ticket item (high priced item) with a brand name behind it or customers demanding the product, it’s highly unlikely that a buyer will be interested in it. Having a full product line, generally 3-4 items, gives a buyer confidence not only in the product line, but also the business entity. Retailers want to make sure that their investment (time and resources) will provide them with a significant financial return.
Remember, buyers are expected to meet their financial goals. The buying process is a numbers game and a buyer’s responsibility is to make purchasing decisions based on customer demands and market trends that can maximize profits for their business. They have to be extremely careful and strategic when selecting products. Working with new companies that don’t have much “leg” in the market yet and have one item only that may or may not give them the volume they need to meet their profit requirements does not give them the best confidence.
Another touch point when launching your products is sales reps or a distributor. Trying to convince a sales rep to represent your product line or company with just one item can prove to be a challenge as well. Just like buyers, sales reps are motivated by numbers. Think about it. How motivated can they be to pitch a single item versus writing an order for a manufacturer with several products or product lines in their portfolio? Unless the product has considerable sales potential and they can make a significant commission on it, they are likely to pass on the item.
Finally, there’s a third touch point I’d like to include, and that is the investor. If you intend to get funding to produce and market your product, you must be able to prove to an investor that the numbers make sense. So again, unless it’s a high ticket item and a product that’s volume-driven, then it’s highly unlikely that an investor will invest in a company that has one product in their line.
However, I am by no means implying that it’s impossible to make a single product work. By nature the market is often capricious so there are always exceptions to the rule. Buyers watch market trends and they’re always on the look-out for new and innovative products and concepts. So if yours just happens to be something that’s interesting and promising, then they may consider it. Also, sales reps and distributors usually represent a number of brands and companies within the same category so it’s possible to add your product to their mix. In addition, boutiques, independent stores, catalogs, online stores, and even club chains like Costco and Sam’s Club or home shopping networks are known to work with vendors with single items.