October 7, 2012

Do retailers really hold all the cards?

New product introduction (NPI) has evolved drastically over the years.

There was a time when manufacturers could lie to retailers about market test results, for example. That ploy died when scanner data turned the tables and retailers grabbed the steering wheel. It’s just one more manifestation of our truism: today, buyers are in charge of all transactions. We’ve written about it before.

We’re tempted to see retailers as having all the power in the NPI situation, where they can legally blackmail you with “we don’t need your product, but if you pay this enormous slotting fee ….” Checkmate?

No, there are still ways to even the playing field. The most effective is to demonstrate the viability of the product online, using e-commerce. Prove it’ll move, and you really change the balance of power.