Pre-selling to the Trade

Pre-selling to the Trade

Pre-selling to the Trade

When a new product is to be launched upon the market, advertising has several jobs to do. First, the product has to be pre-sold to the retailer. He has to be convinced that, by allocating his valuable shelf space to the new brand and tying up his capital in stocking it, he is making a good investment. Obviously, advertising which is directed towards the distributor must tie in with the efforts of the sales force. In this instance, advertising supports the work of the salesmen, expands the message they are trying to put over and then goes on repeating it, as frequently as the advertising budget will allow.

The best assurance a retailer can have that he should not only stock the product but make every effort to resell it, will be the knowledge that a considerable consumer demand for the brand will be created. Therefore, when advertising his product to the retailer-in the trade press or by means of hand-out literature supplied by his salesmen-the manufacturer should provide also full details of his forthcoming advertising programme directed to the general public, such as the number of television commercials which are scheduled to appear at peak viewing times.

Since every retail buyer is himself a consumer, advertising which is directed to the trade should combine both retailer and consumer motivation. This applies not only to 'convenience goods', such as grocery, pharmaceutical, toiletry and confectionery products, but also to those items of merchandise which require an element of personal selling, including furnishings, clothing, electrical goods and appliances of all kinds. The shopkeeper must be assured that, should he decide to stock the line, he will attract good consumer demand promoted by national advertising. He will also wish to know what are the special selling features of the goods-durability, ease of maintenance, aesthetic appeal, fashion-worthiness, reliability, safety or whatever-in order that he may recommend them to his customers.

A major apprehension of retailers is that of 'missing the boat' with a new line. If they are convinced that other shops and stores have accepted it and are stocking it, they may well feel obliged to stock it themselves because failure to do so might lose them a valuable share of future business. Furthermore, there are some retail buyers who adopt a 'me-too' policy and prefer to follow a trend rather than create one. When engaged in 'selling-in' a new product to the retail trade one should bear this in mind and here one's advertising should emphasize the degree of trade acceptability which the new brand has already achieved.

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