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Want Honest (Frank) Feedback About Getting Your Product Into Retail?

With over 30-years of experience in the product business my company has placed thousands of items on to retail shelves in many categories including ASOTV, Gadgets, Consumer Electronics, Sporting Goods, Housewares and more. Want honest feedback about your offering? Post a comment below.

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Yes, would like some honest feedback.

Carl E. Schlacher

Schlacher & Söhne

Good morning Carl,

I spent some time just now reviewing your product, your website and your social media. Let me start out by saying that your product packaging and the website design are excellent. Very stylish and professional.

As a manufacturer's rep, I'm an expert in relationships - not products. My job is to identify brands/makers that might work for my chain store clients - products that will make them money.

Not being an expert in Pumpkin Seed Oil I took the #1 feature listed on your website "100% Pure Styrian" and did an Amazon search. It appears that the going rate for 8oz of 100% Pure Styrian oil is about $22 average. As a rep, first question I would have is "why is your price higher than the market?" I could not find an evident answer on your website so as a rep I would assume you are priced too high.

When it comes to the flavored seeds it seems you have something completely unique. However when I look at the going rate for flavored pumpkin seeds the market average (Bigs for example) is about .40-.70 cents an ounce. Your product is over $2/oz. Again, my first-blush conclusion being that your retail price seems too high.

Admittedly I do not know the state of affairs on pumpkin based oil and flavored seeds in the Whole Foods / Central Market scene. My best advice to you would be to find a rep who places similar products into Whole Foods and pay to get their opinion. They should be able to tell you whether or not you really have a value proposition that's going to work for retail chain stores.

Wishing you success,

John T Clark

Hi John,

Please take a look at my products and offer your honest feedback.

Thanks

George Yu

BlueBox Electronics Inc.

Good morning George,

As a rep, throughout my career, I've sold more consumer electronics product than any other category. I'm very familiar with the charging cable market, MFI certification etc.

No major big box/chain store will buy your product because they are already sourcing it themselves in China. I see that your product is well reviewed on Amazon and therefore your quality must be good. But that also means you aren't competing on price. Walking into the retail charging cable market in the US is like walking into a minefield.

You stated on your profile you wanted to get into Target, Costco and Wal-Mart. This would cost millions of dollars for you to compete with the major US brands and with Wal-Mart's own China sourcing. Even if you paid your way in you'd probably end up at a loss in the end. As a brand that no one is familiar with there is nothing to catch the attention buyers at major account stores.

You must differentiate yourself somehow from your (literally) thousands of competitors. I looked at your website and your Amazon listings - there is nothing that grabs my attention. I see no value proposition that makes you in any way different. If your quality is a little better it's meaningless.

If you are depending on the US charging cable market to support your factory it isn't happening without you doing some serious research and legwork.

Here are some quick ideas to (possibly) give you an edge:

1) You could license emerging media properties (I.e. kids cartoons, sci-fi and fantasy movies/tv, maybe even music groups). This would give you a connection to a specific market group whereas you have the only product of its type that is available.

2) You could take the eco-friendly route and produce a line of cables made from recycled or highly renewable materials. Can cables be made from bamboo? Recycled plastic bottles?

3) You could design a line of rugged cables using a strong male oriented brand (i.e. Ford, CAT, Nascar etc).

4) You could engage a design group to create identify very specific color tones based upon emerging market trends i.e. pastels, earth tones, hipster patterns, steampunk etc.

Bottom line is this - if you want to really get some market share in the US then you must stand out from your competitors and it must be hard to copy your idea. You should engage a US design firm immediately who can help you discover market niches/trends and how you might respond to them.

Wishing you good fortune,

John T Clark

Hi John,

Thank you for taking the time to share all of that great information with me. Your comment and advice have been extremely helpful.

Just want to let you know that our product portfolio includes charging cables (Apple MFi Certified and USB-IF Certified cables), AV cables (HDMI, DP, etc...), fiber optic cables (LC, SC, CS, etc...), dongles, hubs, and more.

Other than products, we provide OEM and ODM services as well. We have two factories in China. Would a rep such as yourself be interested in working with a company like us? If you're interested or know someone who will be interested in working with us, please email me at the following email address :

[email protected]

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks,

George Yu

George Yu

BlueBox Electronics Inc.

Hit me with some feedback!

Good morning Benjamin,

I spent some time just now watching your video, researching your product category and looking at your website. Congratulations on your very successful Kickstarter campaign and the excellent demo video - well done.

It seems you have the best quality for your type of product (survival card) and have spent more time thinking though your design than your competitors. I loved that the pocket guide was rip-resistant material - bravo. Obviously NOT "Made in China." No question you've done a superior job creating this product and your are passionate about it.

Throughout 2016 I was consulting for both Polaris and MeyerCo (inventor of the spring assisted knife) in regard to the sport knife industry. Big box sporting goods retail stores are not doing well financially at present and the sport/hunting knife industry in general is hammered and tired. That being said I believe the placement for the product is at POP (point-of-purchase) either in the impulse aisle or in a countertop display.

I assume that the patent pending on the product is for the way the card is designed/stamped with the 17-tools. As I'm sure you are aware competitors can change the design and stamp a 15-tool card without violating your patent. I did not see your product on Amazon and there were lots of similar options. IF you have a utility patent pending on the magnetic part of the product then my advice here might be different.

I could not find a photo of your retail packaging for the survival tool nor photos of any in-store display units. I did see the retail package for the survival guide - nothing similar would be suitable for major retail.

From a rep's perspective you only have one SKU to sell so the possibility of them generating significant commissions from your item is slim. Reps normally need to represent a line of product with many SKU's where they can continue to sell for months or years after the initial product placement. Plus, to even think about presenting your item a rep would have to see your retail package and displays.

(Had to split into two posts....check the next one for the advice!)







(...continued from last post!)

From my bird's eye view here's some next-step advice:

1) Create a new but similar product and do another Kickstarter campaign. Possibly an XL version? Maybe a version specifically designed for women?

2) If you are set on trying retail placement then immediately get a clamshell, hangable, retail package designed that will communicate your value proposition (what's special about your product over your competitors) in less than 3-seconds. Think about the ASOTV (As-Seen-On-TV) business and their product packages. Take a trip down to Walgreens or Bed Bath and Beyond and look at all the ASOTV product packages. Your package needs to explain your item the same way.

3) Create a PDQ (counter-top) display with a built-in digital picture frame in the headboard. Run a looping, 30-second explanation video (silent) on the picture frame and have the product packaged in an acrylic or PVC totally clear box. If you had a men's version and a women's version than the display could be stocked half/half and the picture frame display two separate videos. This would be perfect for small gift shops or convenience stores but the display MUST sell the product.

4) Farm and ranch stores are a perfect market for this product. Might work in grocery store buying groups as well. There are reps here on Abound that specialize in both of these markets but they'll ignore you unless you create your new packages/displays first.

5) Great giveaway or promotional item. Look into how you might connect with PPAI reps here on Abound.

6) Immediately put the product on Amazon in third party at full retail. NEVER allow your retail to go below MSRP on Amazon. Take ALL your profits from the sales and put it back into advertising so you break even. What you need is an Amazon listing showing 100+ 4.5 star feedback when it comes time for a chain store buyer or manufacturer's rep to take a look.

Good fortune Ben! I hope this helps!

Warm regards,

John T Clark

Wow fantastic advice John! I really appreciate you taking the time to help us out. This is the first product of many to come in this line. SO we are new at all of this stuff. Thank you very much!

I appreciate your offer John and would welcome your feedback:
https://gramercykitchen.co/
https://www.amazon.com/gramercykitchenco

Jerry Mills

Gramercy Kitchen Co.

Jerry,

Good afternoon.

I took some time and reviewed your Amazon listings and your website.

As a rep who did housewares for years the only thing that seems to have a unique value proposition is your sous vide circulator and you don't have a brand name to carry it. The other items in your lineup are available "off the shelf" from China meaning that anyone who knows the appropriate factories can just order the goods.

Your mortar and pestle for example I sourced for one of my consulting clients (exactly) for about $5. I'm assuming the big box stores can do even better than me. There is an exact copy of your cold infuser in the "Madonia" brand on Amazon at $27 which tells me that again, you bought the product ready-to-go from a China factory and put your name on it. Any major retailer can, will and is doing the same thing. AND the chain store buyers will be more well informed than myself!

In the past year I've spoken with at least five companies who found some specific niches on Amazon and wanted to break into major retail. It's not happening. Several of those companies are on their way out of business today.

Your items just don't have anything unique enough to attract a chain store buyer or a manufacturer's reps attention in order to get national placement. To get into big box you must have a unique value proposition - something they can't source themselves, something that has consumers going into a store to search for it. When it comes to major retail on kitchen products it is a world driven by brands. Your products don't meet any of the criteria.

The only advice I can offer is ride the Amazon wave as hard as you can while it lasts. Your chances of retail placement with these goods are slim.

Good fortune,

John T Clark

Yes please! We would love some honest feedback about our products.

Jesse Morgan

Morgan Manufacturing

Good morning Jesse,

I've just spent some time going through your various products and websites. Allow me to address them separately :

1) Charcoal toothbrushes - a) you are completely outgunned by the brands if it's a real thing b) you have no copy protection and c) much more attractive product is available on Amazon for less. Get out of this immediately.

2) Bullet Back-Scratcher - I have consulted in the sport knife and military novelty industry for years including for national companies like Polaris. I used to have an office across the street from AAFES because my company sold so much product to the military. This idea won't sell - it's too much of a niche. Dump it now.

3) Orth-O-Grip - an Amazon search for "arthritis grip" shows innumerable results for different solutions that are much more attractive than what you are offering. Frankly, the logo you have on the side of this product is an incredible turn-off. Also, if you tried to really go to market other trademark holders with deep pockets would sue you over the name.

4) The Extractor Tool - at first, when I saw your (14) 5-Star reviews on Amazon I thought you might have something. But then I checked your Amazon listing with FakeSpot.com and they gave you an "F" rating meaning that you faked (paid for or manipulated) all the reviews.

----------
Maybe you are an extremely talented inventor and have yet to create your masterpiece? Who knows? Only you! BUT all of your marketing efforts are doing the opposite of what you want them to do. Your websites look like you designed them in the 80's (or maybe your 13-year-old) - seriously horrible. This is your Achilles heel. I know you are a very intelligent person but you don't know anything about marketing.

My best advice for you is as follows:

Completely cease all sales efforts. Get rid of all your products thus far - everything. No more websites, no Amazon, nothing. Remove all the clutter from your home and workplace. Then...

Start over fresh from a completely clean slate on your masterpiece. When the idea comes, consult with a product specialist and determine if you have a real value proposition for the market or not. This way, you might find joy in your invention. Otherwise with the products you have you are only headed for frustration.

Good fortune,

John T Clark



Would love some honest feedback, please.

Jessica E Gourieux

Simply Gourmand

Happy Sunday Jessica,

I just spent more time than normal researching your product, your competitors, watching videos and reading reviews. As it happens, I'm traveling at the moment and someone bought me literally the best piece of cheesecake I've ever put in my mouth last night! 4.5 pound slice!

I've not tasted your creations but in looking at the finished product I believe you are doing it with love which means A LOT. The variety (and creativity) in your recipes is impressive.

I'm assuming because you asked for feedback you are looking to move to the next level with your product so I'm going to speak frankly on what needs to happen.

1) Your website needs a complete overhaul. It's taking away from your value proposition rather than enforcing and strengthening it. Below are a few of the things I noticed quickly but far from a comprehensive list.

2) When I got to the website I immediately hit "Shop Online" and that gave me an email signup screen and then a gift card pitch. I had to scroll down to see your products. I should have been shown multiple items from your 20% best sellers, creations MOST people love, not an email signup box!

3) The entire product selection area is very "90's" and looks like it's designed to try and hit too many different customers. All the different size selections just serve to make the page look messy and not increase sales or confidence. I'm assuming 80% of your sales are in 20% of your products and that's the jar cheesecakes. The site should focus on those.

4) I watched the video of you on WXYZ news and I thought "Wow, Jessica is a VERY sweet person!" Then I see the photo on the website and your Instagram page and think "That's not her." The photos look like you are going into a cooking competition with Gordon Ramsay! If you're going to use your personal photo it should say "I love making cheesecake for you!"

5) If you're really wanting to get retail placement then I would get rid of everything "craft show" related on the website and focus on designing a website for the company you WANT to be rather than the company that you are. The web (and a good photographer) can make you look 10x larger and you need this to impress a rep when they are evaluating you.

6) I went to the FAQ page and looked at "Are the cheesecakes available in stores?" with an answer of "Yes, you can check out our "Where to find us" page that is constantly being updated as we add more stores." I finally found that page (hard to find) and then there was only one store listed. This hurts you more than it helps you.

Your immediate action steps should be:

A) Use Abound (QuickInsights) to find a food placement expert. When you contact them say "I want to pay you to help me with your brand - will you consult with me for a fee?" Then pay them for a few hours of their time to give you even more specific suggestions about your brand. Just don't expect them to work for free.

B) Redo the website (and Chef Jessica's image) using professionals. Also your Instagram look and feel is inconsistent and you don't have nearly enough traffic. I might also engage a logo expert to get a more modern look.

C) You need a food packaging expert to evaluate your jar and your label. Both need a step up from where they are now in order to increase your perceived value for the consumer. I give your product label 3/10. Fix it.

D) Get placement in at least 10 independent retail stores and have those listed on your website.

When you've accomplished these things you'll be much more attractive to reps. My gut tells me you have a winner but you need to focus on what you are best at - creating unbelievable, inconceivable, chocked-full-of-love cheesecake.

Get some help in the areas that you are weakest and I predict success ahead!

Wishing you good fortune,

John T Clark

P.S. Next time I'm in Michigan I'll be by for my free samples!

HI John,

Thank you so much - I really do appreciate the feedback and can't wait to get started on fixing some of these items immediately. I have actually been trying to figure out re-making my labels. I have already re-branded some of my other marketing materials.

It's funny that you mentioned the picture as it is from a food competition- last year I competed in the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, AL and have already qualified and will be competing again this year in Dallas, TX.

I actually am working on getting into a few more local stores now along with a couple of wineries. Thank you again for yor feedback and suggestions - I will be working on them immediately so that I can focus on expanding my business this year. Would love to have you try my cheesecake - let me know when you are in Michigan :)

Jessica E Gourieux

Simply Gourmand

Hi John,
I have a new category 😜🔫 of a women's accessory. I can sell them in person with a demonstration and they sell quite well. It's unique value is that it prevents a women from misplacing their keys and prevents her from digging for her keys in her purse. It's better then a key locator tag because my product prevents the keys from getting lost in the first place. It's also a quality leather good/wallet holding keys and credit cards. Problem is that people comment, "That's soooooo cute. . . wait, . . .what is it??"
here is a demo video https://www.instagram.com/p/BxselzmF6LA/

It there a rep who would touch a "new category' item or is it all on me to get it to a popular status before I can get represented?

Good morning Karen,

I just reviewed your website, your Etsy page, your Amazon listings and a couple of videos on your Instagram.

I spent many years in the ASOTV business selling similar items to organize keys and cards. This idea has been done A LOT. If a person goes to Kickstarter and searches for either "Keys" or "Wallet" there are a mountain of results. There is too much data for me to be certain you have a value proposition for the market without an exhaustive search. That being said, your product looks original to me and it might have a shot. I also like the name "Keysie".

I spent a good deal of time sourcing leather products from the far East. I can make your product for $2.50, match your quality and it will look better than what you are making now (more uniformed stitching, better trimmed edges etc). If you are going to continue doing this you have to source it from a factory. There are sourcing experts to be found here on Abound. Consulting with one of them for just a few minutes will seriously help you.

You are going nowhere at $38+ retail. It's too expensive. For $68 I'd expect it to be Michael Kors and it would still be too high. Your retail pricing is much greater than the perceived value of Keysie to consumers. But at $9.99 to $14.99 you might have a winner. $19.99 is too high.

Your website looks professional. However the first thing hitting me in the face is a 50% discount. As a rep it tells me the product isn't selling. Emerging products can hold their retail price without having to discount. Neither of the 'Buy Now' buttons on the home page move the user to the correct location and your Instagram isn't linked - both of these things need to be resolved.

I checked your Amazon listing vs FakeSpot.com and it gave you an "F" rating meaning that the reviews on your item are false. If I was a rep and found this I would go away immediately. Take this down Amazon listing immediately to avoid damaging your reputation. https://www.fakespot.com/product/keysie-key-wallet-hand-stitched-artisan-34

I see no notice of patent so I'm assuming that you don't have one. If you do have one you still must have the money to defend it if someone copies you. Without a patent you need to focus on smaller retailers and possibly regional chains. Easy to do with Abound.

The #1 issue with your item at retail you've already identified - "What is it?" What you must accomplish is to transmit your value proposition to a consumer in just a few seconds. Here's some ways you can take the next steps in your product placement journey -

1) You need a package that is in the genre of the ASOTV business. I'm thinking it's a clamshell with a backing card that tells the story. For example there is a bold arrow showing where the credit cards reside.

2) Create a full-color, heavy weight card that fits inside the Keysie, inside the package and extends past the bottom of the Keysie that shows keys and cards as if they were actually hanging out .

3) You need an expert to help you design a store display that communicates your value proposition either by the headboard telling your story or (better) a small digital photo frame with a repeating professional video that explains the product.

Summing up your action steps -

A) Remove the fake Amazon listing.

B) Get an expert in sourcing to help you find a factory. Manufacture your product for no more than $2.50, wholesale at $5 and retail at $9.99.

C) Using professional designer create a display and a retail package that communicate your value proposition to the consumer as described above.

D) Fix your website - update your Instagram continually and with a consistent marketing face.

E) Once you've done the steps above, then start placement in independent retailers - think small Hallmark-style gift shops and boutiques. Once you get 20-30 placements use Abound to find a rep who can take you to some regional chains.

Wishing you good fortune,

John T Clark

Hi John, some honest feedback please. Thanks, and much appreciated.

https://aquamiser.ca

Waseem Syed

Aquamiser

Good morning Waseem,

I just looked at your website, watched your video and did some research on Amazon regarding similar items. I looked at your item as a rep would thinking "Will this sell and can I make commission on it?"

Seems like there is a glut of these types of products on Amazon. Maybe yours is different but it isn't enough to stand out from the crowd. I couldn't figure it out easily and the average consumer has 1% of my product knowledge and experience.

Similar items on Amazon state they save 30%, 50%, 70% on water - whatever. You say 95%. Aquamiser looks like the same thing that's on Amazon in 100 other versions. The market is glutted and nothing is easy identified as unique. Amazon's Choice for "water saver faucet adapter" retails at $6 and averages less than $1,000/month in sales so the demand for these types of product is small.

Personally, I dislike these types of attachments because when you put your hands under in the water the splashing on the sides of the sink from the mist is 10x worse than a normal faucet stream. Sure you save water (and a tiny bit of money) but the inconvenience of wiping up water from the counter seems highly counterintuitive. This can be seen happening in parts of your demo video. I assume since you are making the droplets smaller that this effect is even worse.

I saw no patent notice on any of your media so I'm assuming the item can be copied by any major plumbing company or by me with one call to my sourcing agent.

The term "Aquamiser" is a registered trademark in the US to another company. If you were to try and sell this product on US store shelves you could very well be in for a lawsuit. https://www.thomasnet.com/profile/30552868/cesco.html

Aquamiser has 53 followers on Instagram and 20 likes on Facebook. There is no Amazon listing and therefore no sales history I can observe.

As a rep I see no unique value proposition nor anything that can make me any money whatsoever. As a product expert I would suggest you abandon this item altogether.

All the best,

John T Clark

Hi.I really need some honest feedback and advice.Thx.

gul berkin

Etceterras LLC

Good morning Gul,

I just reviewed your website. To be frank, I cannot determine what is unique about your artificial flowers as opposed to other types. Not to be misunderstood, the arrangements are beautiful. However from a rep standpoint (earning commission) I do not see a unique value proposition for the market that would warrant my time and effort to place your goods.

I do have a long-term business associate that has sold tonnage of home decor (and artificial flowers) to the likes of Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Target etc. I'm also presently consulting with a distributor who sells imported, decorative items to the same account group as well as independent retailers.

Both of my contacts are struggling to survive as all the big-box stores in question already have sourcing departments in China to buy these products direct. There are no patents so these items often be copied exactly from a photo.

I'm far from an expert in artificial flowers - can you tell me what would a) make you unique in front of a big-box buyer? and b) keep them from simply copying you?

Warm regards

John T Clark

Would love some feedback and insight!

Good morning Kait,

I spent some time this morning reviewing your marketing face including your website, Amazon listing and a few of your Jetpack/Electric Car promo videos.

As you know chewing gum is a highly competitive segment ($4b in US sales) with some heavy-hitter competition. I personally do not have experience placing chewing gum but know of the business through associates.

Surely you went into this aware that making Apollo gum successful and getting it onto retail store shelves was going to take serious marketing dollars over the course of time.

Here's some observations I hope help you -

1) As a rep reviewing your brand my first question was "What happened with 7-11? Did the local test not pan out? Even after all the press?"

2) You need an image upgrade. In a business as highly competitive as gum you must be 10/10. Right now the Apollo look and feel is 7/10 and Golf Gum/Fly Gym are 5/10. When I looked at your Abound page and saw Golf Gum and Fly Gum up against Apollo I immediately thought those were done by a cheap designer.

3) When I went to Amazon and typed in "caffeine gum" and Apollo didn't come up in the listings. A brand called "Run Gum" dominates the top of the page with an ad. Why isn't Apollo owning this spot on Amazon?

If you truly want to get your product into retail stores you've got to be walking the walk and talking the talk. If I'm a retail buyer thinking about including caffeine gum in my lineup the first thing I'll do is go to Amazon and see what's happening. Right now I'll find Run Gum at the top with a better marketing face than Apollo.

If you want to get into big box retail you need to prove to them ahead of time that your product sells. Buyers at chain stores want to find products that will do better than products they already have on the shelves.

If I'm calculating correctly it seems like you have a much better economic value proposition than Run Gum. The retail price of their gum is more than 2x your price per mg of caffeine - this is great.

Fakespot gives you a "B" rating for some fake reviews on one of your listings - never do this again. If your rating drops further buyers and reps will ignore you. Never fake Amazon reviews.

You should upgrade your marketing image and then try to take over this spot on Amazon from Run Gum. Put ALL your profits (and then some) back into advertising in order to own the real-estate and grow legit feedback.

You should be 1P at Amazon and hire a rep firm to do this for you. Trying to do it yourself is a time and money waster in a competitive market caffeine supplements.

5) Searches for "Golf Gum" and "Fly Gum" on Amazon didn't show listings in the first few pages - you should own these search terms on Amazon as well.

6) Use QuickInsights consulting here on Abound and contact a rep who specializes in golf retail. Pay them to tell you if you have a value proposition that will work in pro-shops. I believe you might be able to get this gum into some POP slots but you need to talk to an expert. The same rep will likely be able to advise you on placement in major golf retail as well (i.e. Golf Galaxy).

7) There are reps here on Abound who specialize in Hudson News and other airport kiosk sales. I would also consult with one of them to ask if Fly Gum has a chance at airport / travel location placement.

Remember that before doing #6 and #7 you've got to get your marketing face at least up to par with your competitors.

To summarize -

1) Upgrade your marketing face
2) Control the top of the Amazon page for caffeine gum
3) Get listings up for Golf Gum / Fly Gum
4) Focus and get consulting on the niches of golf and travel.

Once you have some success in these niche areas then it would be time to start talking to reps for regional and national chain placement.

Wishing you good fortune,

John T Clark

After watching your webinar. I would love to have your feedback!

Carman Cook-Campbell

Swabbies Technologies, Inc

Good morning Carman,

I spent some time this morning going through your website, watching your demo video and checking out your social media. Whenever I do an evaluation like this I try and put myself into the position of the rep/buyer that will get you into the stores you mentioned like Walgreens, Target, Kroger etc.

1) Upon arriving at your website I find your logo and branding to be fabulous, 10/10. Packaging looks great too. Swabbies at first glance looks on par with Huggies or Pampers and that's fabulous.

2) On each page of your website I get a pop-up box offering me 25% off my first order in exchange for my email address. I get hit with it on every page even if I close (X) it out. Needs to be fixed - makes the brand look desperate rather than projecting success.

3) The demo video is good in that it shows how the product works. However the form of the video is targeted at absolutely the wrong group. The video uses the ASOTV idea of showing a big mess and then the solution. Having been in the industry for years I know that this type of pitch only works for an older generation (grandmoms) while your product needs to be targeted at young moms. The voice in the video and the music choice are very uncomplimentary. I see your website and think "these folks are big and well placed." Then when I watch the video I assume you are still struggling to get placement.

4) As a rep I notice your website says you have placement at Buy Buy Baby. So I immediately went to BuyBuyBaby.com and typed in Swabbies and got nothing. I also went to Amazon and found there were hardly any reviews on your product. Facebook like count was very low. Twitter follower count very low. Instagram is OK but not linked to your website and obvious you are doing it yourself - it isn't of the same quality and cleanliness of your logo/website. I see you posting on social media last week about a Drug Store News article from 2018. I also found the failed Indiegogo campaign.

As a rep what I would assume is that you got some sort of test at Buy Buy Baby and it failed. There doesn't seem to be much grass roots interest in your product from investigating your social media and no evidence that it even works on Amazon. In other words, I don't see much going for your product at the moment that is going to earn me any commission. If I was a buyer at a chain store I'm going to assume the product doesn't sell.

My gut tells me you still have a viable product but you are going about placement in an ineffective manner. The DSN article states that you have a patent on this product - I hope that is accurate. Surely there are enough lazy parents in the world to make this product enough of a success to make you happy and wealthy!

You are in a product category with juggernauts (i.e. Pampers, Huggies etc). At a minimum will have to get a media face-lift before you try and get placement at the accounts you stated (Target, Walgreens, etc). You will need to plug all the holes I described above and more.

Before you do any of that however you must get an expert opinion on getting your product onto major big box store shelves. I just did a little research (with my Abound subscription) and found a well-known rep with 14-years of experience placing juvenile products. She only charges $120/hr for consulting. Call her and get her expert opinion about placement.

Maybe she knows about alternative distribution channels you've never thought of that can help you get some placement today in independent stores. Possibly she is aware of similar products that you will have to compete against. She might give you some slight advice about your products presentation, pricing or marketing that makes a huge difference in how you are perceived by buyers. No matter what, it will be money well invested.

Carman I'll say once more, I *think* you might have something especially if the item is patented. You owe yourself to consult with a rep who can give you the real skinny about what's happening in the juvenile market.

Wishing you success,

John T Clark



Thank very much, this helps a lot! Yes I agree we are working on boosting our Amazon SEO for more sales resulting in more reviews along with our social media presence making it more Omnichannel. We are also working on another commercial. Buy Buy Baby actually launches in August(comming soon is missing....will fix the pop up too). I will definitely be getting in touch with the juvinelle product consultant!

Carman Cook-Campbell

Swabbies Technologies, Inc

Good morning Carman,

Happy to hear you are making progress. Sounds like you had some of it in hand before my comments which is great. Like I said, my gut keeps telling me "winner" when I look at your product so keep going!

When you activate your Pro-Brand membership on Abound PM me and I will send you the link to the rep I referred to in my comments.

All the best,

John T Clark

Thank you again! Sincerely grateful! Will do! Oh, and Yes I do have a patent!

Carman Cook-Campbell

Swabbies Technologies, Inc

Yes, I would like honest feedback and suggestions. Thank you so much.

Nathan Townsie

Nature Loves You Skincare

Good afternoon Nathan,

I just took some time to go through your website, social media and checkout your Amazon listings including investigating your feedback.

Your website looks great and your social media is going in a good direction. One thing that should be corrected in the font spacing on the front of the bottles. The titles on the bottles (Shave Oil & Rejuvenation Serum) are too close to the text beneath. I noticed that when your graphic artist from 99designs presented the packaging it was spaced correctly. As a rep of 30 years, when I saw this error I knew quickly that your placement was limited. This is something that should be changed immediately. So many other things about your marketing face are done right - fix this one too. HBA product packages at major retail MUST be 100% perfect to get placement on major retail shelves.

I ran FakeSpot on your Amazon listings and came up with an "F" grade on the shave oil (https://bit.ly/2KXVrpc) and a "C" grade on the face serum (https://bit.ly/2WPC3Sj). I found a blog that had several reviews of both products that all came up within a certain date range (https://bit.ly/2Im9eny) leading me to believe they were given in exchange for a free-product-for-review deal. I have to assume if you faked them out on the net you faked them on your website as well.

I'm presently consulting for a men's shave product company that produces all-natural products including shave oil. The competition is fierce! Only makers who walk the straight and narrow even have a shot!

So at this point, as a rep, I would not waste any more time looking at your brand. Since you seem to have lots of fake reviews online it leads me to believe the Amazon review is true where the guy says the shave oil "smells like I am basting a turkey."

If I'm wrong and you really have a product for the market then you need an HBA rep to confirm that for you. Here on Abound through the QuickInsights consulting program there are some superior reps in the HBA business who have gotten consistent 5-star reviews on all their consulting calls. Get with one and ask them what you need to do. Then follow their instructions.

Otherwise, from a mile-high view, your brand looks dead in the water.

Wishing you good fortune,

John T. Clark

John,

Thank you for analyzing my company. It really is eye-opening to see what tools are available to give reps a snapshot of the brand. You definitely are a straight shooter!

I'm a bit confused about how the Fakespot software works because I know for certain that all of our reviews are 100% authentic. Amazon posts a "Verified Purchase" icon next to any reviews linked to a direct purchase. I find it strange that the Fakespot website would score my brand so low for visibly verifiable and honest reviews. (https://www.amazon.com/Nature-Loves-You-Skincare-Moisturizer/dp/B07DLJ4ZNX/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8#customerReviews).

For the other website (https://www.purpicks.com/brand/nature-loves-you-skincare), the host was compiling a non-toxic database and asked my brand if we had any reviews to go along with the products. Since we did, I imported the reviews from our website and submitted them. I'm assuming this was not such a good idea. Would you recommended simply amending the dates or completely deleting the listing?

I scheduled a QuickInsights consultant call for tomorrow. I will use the information you have given me to ask pertinent and necessary questions. Thanks again for your help.

Nathan Townsie

Nathan Townsie

Nature Loves You Skincare

Nathan,

Good morning and happy Tuesday.

If I was advising you I would do whatever was necessary to ramp Amazon sales. Forget about profit for now and put all the money back into getting the product into people's hands and therefore legit, quality reviews to cover up what is already there.

As for PurPicks, if you change those dates that would equal a mis-truth - then you'd have to deal with the karma backlash so not a wise decision. If your product is really what you say it is then you don't have to do anything but get the product into the hands of the people who really NEED it. The accolades will then come by themselves.

Very pleased to hear you seeking a coach through QuickInsights. I refer people all the time explaining it's the fastest way onto retail shelves!

Intending Your Continued Success,

John T Clark

Hello John!

I would love to hear your feedback! I look forward to hearing from you.

Ashley Driessen

MaeRose & Co.

Good afternoon Ashley,

I hope you had a good holiday weekend - my apologies for the delayed response. It just so happens I've spent the last few weeks doing research off and on regarding candle companies.

I spent a little time looking at your website. I tried to access your social media but the links at the bottom of your page didn't work and gave me 404 errors. As a rep, this would throw up a flag for me immediately. 262 likes on Instagram, 141 likes on Facebook - doesn't build confidence from the start - either seriously maintain your social media or turn it off.

There is a photo on the front page for your "Cherry On Top" scent. The label on the front of the jar is crooked - it's higher on the right side than on the left. Then on the next photo down on the small version of "Something Tropical" the sticker on the small size is hanging off the bottom of the jar. Respectfully, if you can't get the stickers right in your promo photos no way I'm introducing you to my valued contacts! Makes me think the product will show up at the customer's door with poorly affixed labels.

Onward and upward -

Any company, any product., no matter must have a unique value proposition. This is the one thing that makes them/it special in the market. Something has to carry the brand. In your case this would be things like -

1) Original fragrances hard to find anywhere else - I looked at a maker today with all alcohol-related candles (i.e. Margarita, Sex-On-The-Beach, Mojito etc), another with only men's fragrances (i.e. Fresh Tires, Gone Fishing etc). Your Facebook page says your #1 seller is "Something Tropical" which is "fruity and wonderful" - way too broad.

2) Packaging or a marketing face that is distinctive. Your jar looks like everyone else's and your label is just average.

3) Ingredients that are different or unique - everybody is doing soy. What's in your candle that's a little something extra?

4) Shapes or colors that are one-of-a-kind - I see all sorts of dessert-shaped and character-shaped candles for example - if I removed the label from one of yours it would look like fifty other makers.

All reps sell to make commissions. When they take on a new product line they're making a bet as to whether or it has a chance at getting onto store shelves nationwide. Your social media, website and "marketing face" tells me you haven't become a local success and you simply aren't ready for the big leagues.

Maybe your candles are really the best smelling thing on Earth. I've not smelled them. Maybe they are made with so much love that I finally find God! I've not felt them either. What I'm trying to communicate is that if you really have something special I can't figure it out by looking at the evidence online.

If you really want to pursue this as a wholesale business then I suggest you contact a manufacturer's rep who has sold candles for decades and pay them to give you their opinion. A few hundred dollars and they can tell you with a high degree of accuracy what you need to do in order to make your product line work. QuickInsights here on Abound is a good place to find such an expert.

Wishing you good fortune,

John T Clark

Would love honest feedback! www.puppypaws.shop

Tonja Osborne

Puppy Paws Coffee & Company

Good afternoon Tonja,

I just took a few minutes to go through your website and your social media. As far as I'm aware dogs + coffee has not been done before so this is a new one for me! My gut tells me you are onto something that could be big!

To get the negative out of the way...I didn't like that you were selling stuff (pet toys, heated travel mug) that are obviously not unique to you and can be bought off-the-shelf at a China factory. I think this seriously degrades your brand and takes away from a really fantastic idea. If the items were Puppy Paws branded and unique - maybe it works. But why get away from your core focus? Stick with coffee that helps puppies!

I REALLY like that coffee assortment box with the "Every Cup Supports A Pup" in the flap. The design to me is 10/10 and a very original and unique gift item for any dog lover. Great value proposition - this is what gets a product onto store shelves in nationwide chains.

Here's my suggestions -

1) One of your marketing statements says "this coffee is one of the most highly marketed coffees in the world" - this is the opposite of consumer logic. People want to buy something unique - not the thing that's been marketed to everybody. Rarity = value. Get more serious about sourcing your coffee. I see you have a roaster you are working with in New Orleans. Find some small, international farms to support and tell their story along with your commitment to assist animal related charities. Having lived in Central America for many years I know there are plenty of small growers and farmers that would be happy to work with you

2) The individual item packages need to have line art of dogs or the individual breed mentioned - maybe it's half the breed's face on the bag with the print turned sideways? If this is going to sell at retail you need something to grab the consumers attention in seconds. The gift box is great - individual item packages have to get better, they are just too plain.

3) Get all the pet treats branded as Puppy Paws or get them off too. Promote you and you alone - not other folks! The pet treats that are shown on your front page might be a better surprise free gift to create repeat business rather than something you tell them about up front.

4) Create a point-of-purchase display that will hold 12 or 18 assorted bags of coffee and start getting them into small, independent retail stores. Fix your retail packages first - make the display accent the packages and vice versa.

5) Right now your messaging says "Support these dogs and here's some coffee". What is much more marketable/sellable by a rep is "Check out this coffee that's over-the-top tasty, unique AND it supports small farmers and animal causes."

6) Consider it might be more advantageous for the company to give 25% of your net profits to charity instead of 50% and put the rest into the coffee quality/sourcing and story.

Reiterating - I believe you have a good thing going. Take the time to combine kick-ass coffee with this idea and I believe you'll find much more success. Get more focused and you just might have something that lands on store shelves everywhere!

Wishing you good fortune,

John T Clark

Thanks so much for taking the time to look around our website around reply. I totally agree with many of your points, I appreciate your insight. Thank you!

Tonja Osborne

Puppy Paws Coffee & Company

Hi John. I’m very impressed with your concise and to the point valuable information shared with each and every person on this chain. Could you please give me a review of my products. Looking forward to your feedback. https://www.imprimeriebeauty.com/

Maggie Wedemeyer

Imprimerie + Beauty

Happy Monday Maggie,

I read through your website as well as checked out your social media. Wow what a story you have! It seems like you've turned a tragedy in a fantastic direction so congratulations on that!

Makeup and HBA are very crowded spaces. Without being aware of the present competition advising you is more challenging. There are some seriously experienced and helpful HBA reps in the QuickInsights program here on Abound. Consulting with one of them would be well worth the time in money invested. Especially if you'd like to see this product on store shelves nationwide.

I love what you've done with the Abbey Holden and the packaging - great idea, very classy and stylish look. You've really increased your perceived value with this marketing decision and I believe it will pay off for you shortly in the future.

Your social media tells me that you've not had much success yet in your local markets and with grassroots marketing. As a rep this would concern me. However my biggest question is "Where does this sell now and to whom?"

If it is selling in at least a few locations now (independent retailers) then I would be pressing to get in more locations. If not, you need to get a few going and see if there really is a market for these goods. Maybe design a point-of-purchase display that showcases your best selling items? Make it easy for the independent retailer to do business with you. Get some sales under your belt and then talk to reps about a bigger placement.

All the best,

John T Clark




Here is a potty product I want your opinion on! https://katamco.com/blogs/katamco-blog/top-reasons-for-retailers-to-carry-the-toilet-timer

Adam Stephey

Katamco, LLC

Adam,

Good afternoon.

As fate would have it, I once worked on the Potty Putter project when I was in the ASOTV business. As you must be aware most items like this are just a fad. They last a little while and then sales go to nothing. Telebrands, the maker of the Potty Putter, has tested it over again every five years - it doesn't work anymore. It's old news.

A reviewer of the product really summed it up "This is a cute novelty item, but unfortunately, it doesn't inspire my husband to move things along any faster. I swear, he sits in there and waits for poop to form in his colon."

From a rep standpoint, you don't have much to offer. Very few SKU's. If was to present you to Spencer's Gifts for example, without a patent, they could simply knock you off. Especially when they see the offering on eBay for your product at $3.50 delivered from China. This is probably the factory where you had it made. If this is so, copies are soon to be everywhere.

You're doing good on Amazon - seems like the thing to is to keep coming out with more versions that play on current societal themes so they can be bought as gag gifts. Get on as many different ecom platforms as you can and try to get all the copies taken down that you can. Probably want to try and get it off Alibaba too where they are $.99 cents each.

My overall opinion - cute item, maybe an future online but when it comes to retail placement unfortunately I think you are shit out of luck.

Good fortune,

John T Clark

John! Thank you so much. Your advice is fantastic and appreciated. The knockoffs of our product were a direct result of this being a Kickstarter campaign. (Likely it was one of our original backers.) They are coming out of a different mold than ours, but are nearly identical. I need to buy the knockoff ones because they are much cheaper! ;-) Is Spencer’s in the habit of counterfeiting product submissions? I hadn’t heard that. Thanks again!

Adam Stephey

Katamco, LLC

Adam - Spencer's isn't in the habit of counterfeiting (which is an illegal activity). We live in a world where large companies feel it's morally OK to copy you / knock you off (not illegal) when you haven't protected yourself. ALL major retail chains now either have contracted sourcing agents or buying offices in China. All the best, JTC

Do you have any resources/suggestions on the topic of knock-offs? I didn’t know counterfeiting was different from it. Thanks John!

Adam Stephey

Katamco, LLC

All i could get for this product was a registered trademark in the supplemental register. I also missed the patent train. Nuts.

Adam Stephey

Katamco, LLC

I would love some honest feedback regarding our products! You can learn more about them at https://stompandhollersauce.com.

Matt Rogers

RogersMade

Good afternoon Matt,

As fate would have it I'm already familiar with a couple of your brands. My team and I were doing research recently for a client and came across your company. I short-listed you for the project because I liked what you were doing so much! So what can I say now? Bravo!

Normally when folks are asking for feedback here it's because they are someone lost in the product placement journey and need information and encouragement to get their products onto store shelves nationwide. I know you're already getting a lot of placement at independent retailers so you're just about to the goal it appears!

You're doing it all correctly as far as I can tell. Websites are excellent. Packaging is great to superior. Your social media looks alive (Dolly Parton is my spirit animal too). Tiffany's taste is 10/10 - she probably needs her own TV show.

(right here I went back and researched everything again because I couldn't think of anything negative to say for my Abound fans....)

Good job Matt and Tiffany. You stumped me with your excellence! A rare occurance to be sure!

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

All the best,

John T Clark



Hi John, I'd like to take up your offer of providing Frank feedback.
Best regards,
Attila

Attila K Banhegyi

Glowing Orchid Organics

Our website is www.glowingorchid.com

Attila K Banhegyi

Glowing Orchid Organics

Good afternoon Attila,

I just went through your website, your Instagram page and many, many of your the customer reviews on your website. Your reviews have convinced me that you've created a fantastic all-natural, healthy, cruelty-free product line that customers genuinely love.

Just from my quick analysis, I think you've got something that may be worthy of placement on store shelves nationwide.

Here's some quick suggestions for improvement -

1) Consider that your product packaging, when it's all displayed together, causes a sort of "snow-blindness" where nothing in particular stands out to the customer. If I was going to rep this product into stores there would definitely have to be a package upgrade where something differentiates one product from another. Colors indicating the product category perhaps? Something.

2) Your website is 7/10. If you seriously want to compete in the beauty market then your website has to be on par with your competitors. For example when I scroll down the page and see your category buttons they don't look professional. The "Glowing Promise" information is GREAT but the graphic layout of it is sloppy. Font choices in general are poor.

3) Your Instagram looks good, but not professional enough to be slugging it out on a national scale. For example you put up the posts that say "We are now sharing in..." but then when you list the follow tag at the bottom they aren't centered. A good rep will notice things like this quickly.

Again, from what your reviews say your customers are raving about your product. The most challenging part is to create something people love so you've gotten that done - congratulations. The next step in getting onto retail shelves is to make yourself look like you belong there.

Do some research on companies that you admire. Compare your webpage and your Instagram to them. Make a list of improvements that are needed in order for you to come up to their level. Then make those changes!

I would also suggest you consult with an HBA/Beauty rep here on Abound through the QuickInsights program. Get their advice on your next steps - they might be able to save you serious time and money!

Wishing you good fortune,

John T Clark

Thank you John!

1) We have just received our brand new packaging last week and are announcing it soon once we've cleared out our existing inventory. It differentiates the deodorant tubes with small colourful emojis to represent the scent, to avoid exactly what you described as "snow-blindness". We proposed a colour banding solution to our current retailers but it was voted against. They claimed that their customers are looking for more minimaslistic packaging. I understand that this pertains more specifically to the eco conscious niche which may limit our growth potential, however we are not worried about moving outside of the niche until we've gotten close to saturating it.

2) I agree. What do you think about this webpage makeover proposal we received? https://www.qeretail.com/mockup-full-preview/9248/9238 Would it take it up to an 8/10?

3) Thanks for pointing that out, I hadn't noticed and you're absolutely right. Our social media has been a sticking point and it is tough to find the right VA or SMM individual to produce good content that we end up doing it ourselves and it doesn't get the love and care it deserves.

I will check out the quick insights program, and thanks again for the constructive criticism.

Attila

Attila K Banhegyi

Glowing Orchid Organics

Please link the quick insights program if you have a chance, I have been unable to find it on the website.

Attila K Banhegyi

Glowing Orchid Organics

Attila - here's that link to the QuickInsights program - https://helloabound.com/representative_consulting_profiles

On the new website, yes, that gets you 8/10 but why not 10/10?

Here are three that I love:
fuzebody.com
waltonwoodfarm.com
yourlixir.com

Good fortune,

JTC

Thanks John

Until we are financially positioned for upgrading our website to a 10, I have implemented some changes based upon your advice.

I will peruse the consulting profiles as a resource to keep on file and leverage as needs arise.

Best regards
Attila

Attila K Banhegyi

Glowing Orchid Organics

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