How Click & Carry Landed Six Retail Deals at One ECRM Program 9/30/2021
Landing six retail deals within four months of an ECRM program is no easy feat, but that’s just what Kimberly Meckwood, owner and CEO of Click & Carry, Inc. accomplished from her meetings at ECRM’s Diversity and Minority Owned General Merchandise Program back in May of this year. And more deals are in the works.
The program was part of ECRM’s Diversity Week, in which more than 600 buyers met with diverse-owned brands across general merchandise, health and beauty care, and food and beverage categories. (Click & Carry is a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council certified company.)
“I had a total of 19 meetings, and buyers from 16 of them requested samples,” says Meckwood. “So far six retailers said yes, including Kroger.com, Meijer, Zulily and Buy Buy Baby, which I met via my meeting with Bed, Bath & Beyond. And we’re still in the process of following up with the others. The reception was so positive that we have already signed up for ECRM’s Impulse, Front-End & Checkout Program in January, since we’re really an impulse product.”
In addition, Click & Carry was one of the finalists of Making It…With Lowe's – a nationwide pitch program in partnership with Daymond John that gives diverse entrepreneurs a chance to take their business to the next level by selling on Lowes.com and in Lowe's stores nationwide. Applicants submitted their products via RangeMe (Click & Carry has been a RangeMe Premium member for the past three years), and then Lowe’s buyers met with finalists on ECRM Connect. Click & Carry’s products are now listed on Lowe’s website.
Meckwood is also a Shark Tank alumnus, having landed deals with two sharks following her pitch. Even more impressive than that was her persistence in actually getting on the show; she holds the record for the most auditions held – seven – before finally being selected (click here to read this RangeMe post with details on Meckwood's Shark Tank experience).
Click & Carry’s eponymous product is a simple handle device that helps shoppers to manage and carry multiple bags at once, either by hand or by support from the shoulder. Each Click & Carry is divided in the center with a twisting column, with two identical side cavities to hold bags or cargo. Each side cavity can carry up to 40 pounds (80 pounds total), and it’s made of smooth, colored plastic with a padded gel grip (see video on the right to see how it works).
The idea for the Click & Carry was born several years ago, out of Meckwood’s breakup with a boyfriend. “Back in the day I had this amazing boyfriend, and when I came home with the groceries he would come down and get them,” says Meckwood. “When we broke up I was stuck carrying my own groceries, and I knew there had to be a better way, especially since I’m just 5’ 2” and very petite. Now I can easily carry them all up myself, in just one trip.”
While the product was always designed to be held in the hand or balanced on the shoulder, it has gone through several design iterations over the years based on customer feedback. The original didn’t have a top, for example, so when bags were carried to a car and placed in the trunk, the handles popped out of the Click & Carry and the bags opened. The next iteration was a two-piece design with the top secured by a magnet. But that top could be lost.
Her current design was influenced by a barrette wore in her hair, that secures and releases with a click and a twist. Once the bag handles are placed in the unit, the user twists the top closed and it clicks into place, securing the handles.
Her customers have also come up with additional unique uses for Click & Carry. “Over the years I learned that people are using it for other reasons,” says Meckwood. “For example, I’ve seen it used to carry skis, dry cleaning, and even construction pails. You can attach multiple dog leashes to it. And one of the most fun uses I’ve seen for it is someone twisting open the Click & Carry and using it as a phone or tablet stand. They get very creative with it.”
Prepping for successful buyer meetings
Aside from having a stellar product, Meckwood attributes her success at the ECRM Program to the intensive prep work she had done beforehand, taking full advantage of resources that ECRM provides on its program preparation site, which includes information about each buyer’s needs and objectives in the category, as well as a wide range of content on best practices around meeting prep and delivery.
“The best practices content is dynamic and informative,” says Meckwood. “It actually made it fun to prep for the meetings, and I learned a lot. I also had [ECRM Client Success Manager] Olivia Ford available whenever I needed her, and she helped provide guidance on using the platform. The entire process was smooth and easy.”
Meckwood selected the 10-minute meetings, and following the advice from ECRM’s best practices content, she devoted half of the time to her presentation, and half to Q&A and discussion. She led off with a quick video that demonstrated the product, followed by just four slides of information. That, along with her constant big smile, kept the buyers engaged.
“Too many slides bores people,” says Meckwood. “I showed the video because it really demonstrated how the product is utilized. And I made sure the slides were fun and exciting. And the rest was discussion between me and the buyers.”
What’s next for Click & Carry?
Based on her own experience and user feedback, Meckwood is developing several new additions to the Click & Carry lineup, including add-ons that will enable users to carry bulkier items. One is a strap that affixes to the Click & Carry that would enable longer flat items such as skis, a surfboard or a ladder.
Another is attachment that slings across the body that will enable the carrying of more rectangular items – like a box or case of water – using the hip as a stationery point. “It’s all about physics and using your entire body to make things feel lighter,” she says.
A breast cancer survivor, Meckwood has also just launched a pink Click & Carry for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with proceeds donated to breast cancer charities. “I want to give back because I had so many doctors and nurses, and if more people get mammograms early, it could save their lives,” she says. “So it’s a cause that’s close to my heart.”
While Meckwood does have more products in the pipeline, she can’t discuss them yet until the IP is all set But she’ll be participating in ECRM’s Impulse, Front-End & Checklane Program next year, so chances are you’ll hear about them there!