Despite problems with obesity in the United States, Americans are becoming more health conscious. At least some of them. Total sales for the natural and organic industry increased 56 percent between 2002 and 2006. While consumers did cut back on the purchasing of natural and organic products during the height of the recession, they have once again become more focused their health and buying all natural and organic. This is apparent in the seven percent increase in organic and all natural sales from 2009 to 2010, with another nine percent of growth in 2011.
Managing partner of Boulder, Colo.-based consulting firm Compass Naturals, Steven Hoffman, notes that the “The number of natural products shoppers has increased so much that stores like Whole Foods are now opening in secondary markets.”
If you produce a natural or organic product, there are, according to the New York Times, several steps you can take to get your products onto store shelves.
Start small. While you may want to see your products on the shelves of Whole Foods or Target eventually, it’s not going to happen right away. Begin by selling your product online, where you can test your product on the market and get achieve proof of concept. Another great option is to take it to small local stores that would be willing to consider selling them for a share of the profits or a small fee.
Know your unique value proposition. In other words…know what differentiates your product from other products. Talk to and observe other retailers and buyers and make sure your product meets the demands of the customer with the features and colors they want. It may require you to make changes in your product, but in the end your product will sell more easily.
Expect to hear no. Rejection is just part of the business, unfortunately. It may take years of emailing buyers or pushing your product at local businesses before you achieve your goals. However, you have proof of concept and have proven that your product will sell, so just keep at it and take any rejection in stride.
Trade Shows. Trade shows can be expensive but they are also a great way to get your product in front of many people and/or store at one time. However, make sure you select the right show you or will find yourself out potentially thousands of dollars with no results to show for it.
Hire a broker. If you can’t afford a salesperson and don’t have the time to do it yourself, consider hiring a broker who will get pair only when they make a sale. Typically they have relationships with buyers and will be able to move your product more quickly.
While you may be excited and ready for sales to start picking up immediately, try to remember that nothing happens overnight. Be prepared to hear a lot of no’s before you start to hear yes’s. Everything about getting your product into the hands of customers is all about building relationships, relationships with brokers, buyers and, of course, the customer.