Questions for Success: A Supplier Checklist  8/18/2015

ECRM’s 10- and 20-minute EPPS meetings – those private meetings in which buyers and sellers meet during ECRM events – can be a bit intimidating for a supplier, regardless of how much experience they have in the industry. There is a lot of ground to cover, and a limited time in which to cover it.

As a veteran attendee of more than 30 events, I’ve participated in a couple of ECRM’s new attendee panels, and from the questions posed to the panel participants, it’s obvious that the challenge for many new (and seasoned) vendors is not really a matter of time – after all, 10 face to face, uninterrupted minutes of a retailer’s time is a lot more than you would get at a traditional tradeshow booth -- rather, it’s a matter of focus.

Get to the point!
In other words, you need to get to the relevant points, and, most importantly, stick to those points. Even going off on a slight tangent can throw off the entire meeting and leave some bases uncovered. Give’em a memorable opening and product overview that will leave a lasting impression and a leave-behind that stands out (and preferably digital – remember, buyers can have 70 - 80 meetings at an ECRM show.) After that, the key is to gather as much relevant information as possible so that your follow up will also impress them!

To help new vendors get the most out of their meetings, I’ve created a checklist of key points and questions that should be covered during your time with the retailer. Not all are relevant for each situation, and there are many more questions, but they should help to determine if a follow up meeting is needed, and if so, give you the critical information for that impressive follow, up meeting.

Let’s get to that checklist:
  • When are the category review periods for my products?
  • Is the category review online, face to face or do I send products and information?
  • Are you interested in branded or private brand?
  • Where are the distribution centers located, and which are relevant for my products (frozen, ambient, refrigerated?)
  • Is there a distributor?
  • What are the costs for Terms, Slotting and Reclamation?
  • Are there terms and slotting for the Distributor?
  • Is there an inside program?
  • Is there a loyalty program in which I may be requested to participate? 
  • Do I need to work with an inside broker? 
  • What are the fees associated with private brand – Design? Packaging? QA? Review panels?
  • (For a private brand opportunities) Do you have a contract currently in place? One year? Two years?
  • Are you looking for the same type of packaging that you have on shelf or are you looking to change the style of the packaging? 
  • In which of your private brands do you see a fit with my products? 
  • Is there a target retail?
  • What is your timeline to launch – this year, next year, seasonal?
  • What are the margins for my category?
That’s it! The answers to the questions on this checklist should help get the most for your 10- or 20-minute meetings!

Do you have a ‘killer question’ that has helped you at ECRM meetings? Let us know in the comments section below!

Andrea Leiser

RSVP Solutions Group

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