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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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!

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

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

I appreciate your offer John and would welcome your feedback:

Jerry Mills

Gramercy Kitchen Co.


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

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!)

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.


George Yu

George Yu

BlueBox Electronics Inc.

Hi John,

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


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

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

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