metrics on tablet in a warehouse
  • It can take between six and eight weeks for sales to normalize at a retailer, and in the meantime, inventory is the key metric to watch.
  • Just like many retailers, Walmart provides forecasts to suppliers to help them plan for replenishment, but even the best-laid forecasts rarely match up with reality.
  • Digital brands often have a direct relationship with their customer. In retail, however, they are one step (or sometimes more) removed from the customer and need to keep an eye on different data points to make sure they are effectively managing sales and inventory. 

Whether you are releasing a new product or launching into an entirely new retailer, the period leading up to the launch — and the first few weeks after — are critical. Not only do you have to think about the competition within the store, but now inflationary struggles are driving consumers to be more wary of their purchases. 

Commerce media company Criteo recently released holiday preview data which states that consumers are more likely to buy from new brands, meaning there is hope for manufacturers to launch their new products into retail stores. With the right guidance, you can have a successful launch and keep the excitement going well after the first few weeks. 

Executives at Billie offer the following tips when launching a new product at a store:

1. Always Keep a Close Eye on Key Metrics

Direct-to-consumer brands, such as Billie, built their success in their direct channels on being more data-driven than established competitors. That same data-driven mindset carries over into the way they think about new product introductions in retail, as well. 

It can take between six and eight weeks for sales to normalize at a retailer, and in the meantime, inventory is the key metric to watch. Businesses do not want to be overstocked because that can be risky, but you also do not want to be out of stock since that will drive customers away. This means you need to find that perfect balance of enough inventory in stores, as well as in your pipeline so the hands-on are coming in correctly. 

2. Use Data to Influence Your Retail Buyers Early and Often

When it comes to launching new products, “set it and forget it” is not the best practice. This is even more true when you are launching into an entirely new retail partner. If you are a small brand like Billie, the burden often falls on you to provide your buyers or brokers with guidance on how much product to purchase. 

3. Retailer-Provided Forecasts are Important, But Do Not Trust Them Blindly

Just like many retailers, Walmart provides forecasts to suppliers to help them plan for replenishment, but even the best-laid forecasts rarely match up with reality. How much should a brand trust and lean on these forecasts versus other data? In short, retailer-provided forecasts are an important data point, but it is also important to have your own perspective and forecasts based on what you are seeing with your products. 

4. Always Expect the Unexpected

For upstart brands like Billie, the journey into retail is always full of unexpected surprises. Success in retail, after all, is nuanced and different from ecommerce. Digital brands often have a direct relationship with their customer, which impacts everything from sales to marketing. In retail, however, they are one step (or sometimes more) removed from the customer and need to keep an eye on different data points to make sure they are effectively managing sales and inventory. 

It is important to remember that you are not the only manufacturer trying to launch a new product at a retail store, and will be competing to stand out on the shelves. While keeping in mind the above tips, you should also strive to wrap the item in packaging that will stand out and include easy-to-read labels so the shoppers are not left struggling to figure out how the product will help them.



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