Video interview of Emily Page, CEO of Pearl Resourcing by Joe Tarnowski at ECRM October 15, 2018
In this brief video below we’ll share tips related to line extensions that actually lead to sales (in the least expensive way possible).
Video Transcript: How & Why To Develop Packaging Line Extensions (YouTube)
Joe Tarnowski: Joe Tarnowski here with Emily Page, who many of you probably remember from the interview about the Jocko white Tea, but what you may not also realize is that in addition to being CEO of Jocko White Tea, she’s the CEO of Pearl Resourcing, which is a product development and packaging design consultancy. So thank you for joining us.
Emily Page: Thanks for having me!
Joe Tarnowski: Alright. Today, what we’re going to talk about is line extensions. And for many of you suppliers that come to our sessions, a lot of you have one product and one SKU, because you’re a new and emerging brand. So one of the things that I wanted to discuss with Emily is when and how to explore adding to your lines?
I guess the first question for you would be, why would an emerging brand with one SKU want to do a line extension?
Q1: Why would an emerging brand with one SKU want to do a line extension?
Emily Page: It’s a good question. The first reason is when a customer is walking through a store, they usually don’t take time to look at every single item that’s on the shelf. You can imagine how quick it is that they’re walking past your product. The more products that you have on the shelf, the wider the footprint, the real estate that you get to actually advertise your brand.
“The more products that you have on the shelf, the wider the footprint, the real estate that you get to actually advertise your brand.” – Emily Page
You might have a best-selling flavor like chocolate, strawberry, vanilla. By having those additional flavors, you actually allow the customer to see your brand. They might buy the most of chocolate, you might have a loss leader in your collection, but just the fact that you’re on the shelf, you’re more likely to have sales across the board for all flavors. So it helps you to sell when you’re actually on the shelf.
And that is also true with buyers. When you sit in that meeting with buyers, a lot of people want to believe and see that your brand is well-established, that you’ve thought through different ways of carrying yourself on the shelf, and that there’s going to be more real estate. They feel more confident buying from brands that have a long-term strategy, both on the shelf, but also for the future, because they really believe in what they’re doing.
“Buyers feel more confident buying from brands that have a long-term strategy, both on the shelf, but also for the future, because they really believe in what they’re doing.” – Emily Page
Joe Tarnowski: So there’s growth there. They know there’s going to be growth with this one vendor, as long as they keep expanding their line.
Emily Page: Yes, that’s exactly right. So it’s about confidence.
The second thing that’s kind of interesting is that when you meet with a buyer, you might hear things like, “You know, in the West Coast we sell a lot of small little bags of chips, but on the East Coast, we sell huge bags.”
It might be the same retail chain, but the size of the bags … And then you might have different flavors. Right now, our office is in Texas, so a lot of like chicken wings, barbecue flavor chips or different flavors are going to … like sweet tea sells really well in southern communities, and in the north, different flavor profiles are working really well. California wants a lot of zero sugar, so we don’t do sweet tea.
When you meet with that buyer the whole point is taking advantage of it, optimize this moment, capture it, and capture a purchase order. So if you have thought through your brand, through different sizes, different flavors, and you have mock-ups, and you show you’re ready for an order.
It especially helps if you have printed physical mock-ups and if you have the pricing. You’ve got to think through your packaging costs and your sizing, like the actual serving size, before you can give them a cost. And digital mock-ups help so they can actually take something home in a pdf. If you have that, you’re more likely to actually close a sale and create vision for that buyer who’s seen thousands of SKUs while they’re at ECRM.
How are you going to stand out? You’ve got to make sure that you’ve thought through something that’ll work really well in their shelf, and that involves packaging. Because you need to have the packaging to have a SKU and a physical thing that they can imagine on their shelf.
Joe Tarnowski: Okay. So that’s a lot of stuff for … let’s say it’s a single person who’s doing their company out of their basement. What kind of resources would a supplier or new emerging brand need to build those mock-ups and put something together that they can show a buyer?
Emily Page: So obviously, you want to first think through what your target customer is going to do with your product and how they’re going to use it. You ask yourself a lot of questions. You actually do some trial and error with your product, and imagine different sizes. If a mom is going to be packing a lunch, for example, how is she going to use your product versus a working, single millennial who is also having to do the same thing? You have to think through how your customer is going to use your product, and where.
“When designing packaging… You have to think through how your customer is going to use your product, and where. -” Emily Page
And then number two, you want to reach out to your co-packer and talk about what it would cost. The cheapest way to go about doing this is to not actually do a whole production run of a larger size or different flavors. Just figure out how much it costs in the future. Do the minimum amount of work to actually have answers for your buyers so you can close a purchase order.
“Do the minimum amount of work to actually have answers for your buyers so you can close a purchase order.” – Emily Page
So once you’ve talked to your co-packer about the actual manufacturing costs, then you want to talk to your packaging manufacturer about the cost of that packaging. So you’ve had all the answers figured out, and then you can go to your graphic designer and create a digital mock-up of that thing so that they you can create a sell sheet, you can send something in an email afterwards for fast follow up.
And then the last thing is you want to get mock-ups – sometimes it can be your co-packer or you can hire a different consultancy agency. You got to work with all the different pieces, the co-packer, the graphic designer, and then the manufacturer. But then you should create a physical sample of that.
Joe Tarnowski: Okay. And we’ve seen some of these. I know at a lot of our candy sessions, we’ve seen mock-ups, whether it’s the bags or the stand-up pouches of line extensions that are coming, that are not ready yet, but they wanted something for the retailer, the buyer, to actually physically hold and look at, imagine what it’s going to be like on the shelf.
Emily Page: We’re all tactile so if I have it in my hand, I’m going to be so much more convinced and likely to buy it.
Joe Tarnowski: So it is important to have a physical mock-up whenever possible.
Emily Page: Oh yeah. You might say a product is coming soon, but until I touch it, I don’t believe you’ve thought through all the details that could possibly slow me up. Imagine what your buyer’s thinking. They have risk in accepting your product. What if they take you in, but you don’t deliver on time, and you haven’t actually created packaging that’s actually legally USDA approved?
“Imagine what your buyer’s thinking. They have risk in accepting your product… So you want to give them every piece of confidence and every resource to be able to visualize yourself on the shelf, selling fast.” -Emily Page
All of those little pieces can hurt your buyer. So you want to give them every piece of confidence and every resource to be able to visualize yourself on the shelf, selling fast. So by thinking through all those little pieces, you can change the game.
One really interesting example is Justin’s Peanut Butter, who thought through different ways of packaging their product, and they ended up changing the game in peanut butter… usually you buy peanut butter in jars, and they ended up putting it in little packets.
And because they changed the way that they were thinking about packaging, and they provided a different offering, their sales velocity increased, because they could suddenly reach moms who were packing lunches. So they grabbed that little tiny pack of peanut butter, and they can quickly make lunch.
Joe Tarnowski: And it became an impulse product as well. Right? They were able to put it at checkout. Right?
Emily Page: Yeah. At checkout. You go to Starbucks, and if I’m buying a bagel, now I can grab Justin’s Peanut Butter and put it on top of my bagel. So they were thinking through how the customer use their product, and that defined how they did their packaging strategy. So first it’s always about sales, it’s always about serving your customer, making their lives easier. And the packaging strategy follows that, and actually is what allows you to close more purchase orders, get better sales velocity.
“It’s always about sales, it’s always about serving your customer, making their lives easier. And the packaging strategy follows that, and actually is what allows you to close more purchase orders, get better sales velocity.” – Emily Page
Joe Tarnowski: And that’s the goal. So for new suppliers, who or what other types of resources they need in place, whether their own staff or if they outsource, in order to start exploring whether or not to do, and how to get done.
Emily Page: Yeah. So if you have an amazing team already collected, and you really trust your team that you talk it through, you start with brainstorming. We have a free pdf that you can download. We don’t take your email address or anything, just download it. It asks a bunch of different questions about things like planogram, where are you located, where could you possibly be located with your product on the store. Because you want to think that through before your sales pitch. About the target customer, what is the different ages groups, and how would each age group possibly use your product.
So you take a moment, you brainstorm, and you think big picture, and that is a resource that I’m happy to give you, or you can rely on anyone on your team.
Joe Tarnowski: Thank you for all the great information.
Emily Page: Oh yeah. I can’t wait to see everyone selling a ton!
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU CREATE A SUCCESSFULY SALES STRATEGY:
+ Watch this video to re-focus on what you know – different retailers require different types of packaging (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtVN2…).
+ Then download this FREE PDF worksheet (no strings attached) (http://bit.ly/2LgaPOT) which has questions to work through with your team to apply these facts and create a pitch strategy tailored for each retailer with packaging perfect for their style of store. These two resources will help you be prepared to meet with your retail buyers this coming year and close sales. Don’t miss a sales opportunity because you didn’t plan. Take time today to make a difference for next year.
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MORE ABOUT START TO SOLD How do you take an idea from conception to selling? Whether it’s packaging, product development, brand design, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, or operations and logistics, you’ll get the in-depth, relevant and actionable advice and resources you need, here at theStart to Sold Blog. Click to subscribe to our YouTube Channel:http://startosoldpodcast.com.
MORE ABOUT EMILY PAGE Emily is CEO of Pearl Resourcing and has managed and launched multiple 7-figure brands in Costco, Williams-Sonoma, Kroger, and Amazon. She’s bringing you the expertise, resources, and mentors you need so that you can develop products and make them sell. She also offers business growth consulting (https://www.emilyannepage.com) and free advice for brand owners through START TO SOLD (http://starttosoldpodcast.com).
This video will specifically address this question and give advice on how to make Sales Your #1 Priority. https://youtu.be/4VnXt05WLwY
MORE ABOUT ECRM
ECRM helps buyers to efficiently and effectively discover new products and plan their categories via its 85+ category-specific programs and its RangeMe digital platform. For more information, visit:
MORE ABOUT JOE TARNOWSKI
Joseph tarnowski’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tarnowskijoseph/
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