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Q We sell a rechargeable twin-blade razor designed by a NASA scientist, with a suggested retail price of $29.95 for the razor, battery and five twin blades. How do we position ourselves in the personal-care market to persuade retailers to sell our razor?
A You seek to convince retailers that they should sell your razor, a basic but difficult task. You need to get retailers, in sufficient number, to put the item in their assortment of goods so it is available to potential customers. Then you need to keep the retailers pleased by making sure customers buy the product in sufficient numbers. In short, "Fill the shelves, then empty the shelves."
Retailers will fill the shelves with your product when they are convinced that they will make a decent profit and that not stocking it will result in lower earnings.
Here is where some marketing arithmetic comes in. The retailer makes an estimate on the number of units the razor will sell in the store or online and also estimates the profit margin to be earned on each razor. The product of the two estimates is the key to the retailer's decision. If he or she can stock and sell your product and make an acceptable level of return, the retailer will be likely to stock your product.
You have several tools to work with. You can adjust the suggested retail price or the retail margin and guarantee to buy back unsold product. You can increase sales by providing demonstrations in select retail locations, especially before key holidays such as Fathers Day.
You can increase consumer demand by appearing or advertising on television programs, developing the image of your razor as a high technology, superior product. Also, you may recruit dealers to help generate "buzz" about your product where consumers are interested in your product.
In each of these tactics, you are seeking to "push" the razor onto the retailers' shelves and, at the same time, cause the consumer to "pull" the product from those same shelves. You need to do this in such a way that your partners make an acceptable profit for their cooperation.
PROFESSOR OF MARKETING,
UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS