Why do retail buyers always say they want to see "programs" instead of single product brands?

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Retail has historically been defined by limited physical shelf space and costly inventory. As a result, traditional retail buyers have often sought to minimize risk by focusing on large brands or brands that are offering multi-SKU product families or "programs". Interestingly, we believe this mindset is changing pretty rapidly. With e-commerce and the rise of direct-to-consumer brands, consumers are demanding unique, authentic brands that suit their individual needs; often these brands are highly focused on one product and market niche. Thus far, only large e-commerce platforms (i.e. Amazon) could support these one-product brands and satisfy the increasing demand for long-tail products. As retailers increasingly move toward a business model of lean-inventory and online-enabled infinite shelf space, however, savvy buyers are becoming more willing to work with early-stage, single-product brands. The next-generation of reps and buyers understand this, and will evolve and thrive with this change. This is great news for both consumers and entrepreneurs.

Very insightful. Thanks!!

Davison Landry

Chunk O' Change

Shelf space and managing their vendors is a ongoing challenge for most retailers, Buyers like to know that when they invest in a line, that it bring svalue and brand strength into their stores. It is tough to make money for a brick and mortar retailer with an single item unless it is one of those rare one in a million, walk off the shelves by the hundreds type of item. When retailers review a line they like to see depth, longevity and broad based appeal. That usually comes with a variety of products and ongoing vendor product development.

To add to the excellent answers below, I want to add that a single product brand gets lost on a retailers shelf. I would aim for at least 3 products or more before I would approach a retail buyer.

Also, a 'program', may also be a product package, where you offer a good sampling of your best-selling products at an introductory price. This helps buyer know which products are more likely to sell for them plus they get a great sample of your line.

Good luck,

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