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 Inventing a Retail Product Step # 12

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former mentor

PostSubject: Inventing a Retail Product Step # 12   Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:32 pm

Selecting a test store. – I should start off by saying using test stores is not always done in product development, in fact, it’s not even normally done. But I come from an engineering background of test and evaluation, so gathering data to me is a natural part of the process. This in mind, when I first started doing this many years ago I was so interested to prove the hypothesis that the product would actually sell, I rushed off to a local retailer and asked if they could put my samples in their store. They said yes, and I guess my test program was born.

Today we always place product into local retailers before we roll it out nationally. We do this because at the beginning of the process the data is far more important than the money. In a test stores…

We can see the actual sales happening - by simply count the number of units going out the door,

We can change locations inside the store to see the impact placement has on sales

We can see issues with the display or packaging

We can see theft or damage issues

We can test package and display changes

We can try new price points to see the effect on sales

We can track weather effects

And a very important part of test is it gives us real world sales data we can show a buyer to help reduce their risk and increase our chances of making the sale.

This is a copy of a chart we use on a sales sheet for our Twist Cap product. This is real sales data from a real retailer spanning 25 weeks of winter and into early spring. When we first developed this product we assumed it would not sell until the weather was warmer, but this data proves in a single grocery store in the dead of winter you can sell about 3 packs of Twist Caps a day…..can you see where the first warm day of spring was?

Using this data from a small scale test allows us to dial in the product for national distribution. The one thing you never want to do is change a product once it’s in national distribution….if you have to make a change - Do it in test.
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