Do you dream of seeing your invention sold at brick-and-mortar stores such as Target or Walmart? Then start your sell-to-stores journey today.

Once you are in the store where you want your product to be, ask and answer these questions:

  1. Where would this item fit in the store? Get familiar with the aisle where you think your invention will be sold. How would it fit? Is the aisle mostly shelves, or pegs with product hanging?  Considering your current design size and shape, can your invention physically fit and be sold in the aisle?  How deep and high are the shelves?
  2. Is this item priced right for this type of store?  Is it in the ballpark of what other items are selling for in that aisle?  Is your pricing higher, lower, or the same as like items?  If you’re higher priced, make sure customers would easily value and justify the cost difference.
  3. What product packages stand out from the rest? Look at the product packaging. Which items jump off the shelf, and which ones fade to the back? Now picture your item on the shelf. How does your packaging compare?  Are the graphics impactful? Is your key selling point easy to see?
  4. Who is the key competitor in the aisle?  Pick up that competitive product, check it out on all sides. Take pictures. You will need to know how to sell against this competitor in your buyer meetings.  Think about how your item is different. Why should the buyer make room for you?
  5. Is there another place in the store where the item would fit? You should find a space in the store where your item could fit, even if there is nothing like it in the aisle. If it doesn’t belong in an obvious category that has signage (such as health and beauty aids, electronics, housewares), is it a seasonal or impulse buy or something else? You must determine your category to get started; every buyer is in charge of a specific section in the store.

Visiting the store gives you a realistic view of where and how your product could be sold. This is a huge first step in your journey of successful selling to stores.

Consumer Goods Growth Strategist Cathy Parks, creator of the PARKS Method, helped Barbie become a billion-dollar mega-brand and now helps inventors and emerging brands successfully sell to retail stores.