Exclusive Q&A with Yohan Jacob, Retailbound CEO

Launching a retail product is always challenging for some reasons: A saturated market, a tough competition, copyright infringement, price wars and some other factors. Due to those challenges, retailing success is often obscure. The good news – that should not always be the case.

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Success in retailing is determined by how well your product can attract your target market’s attention. As you can’t afford to do too many trial-and-errors, you need to increase the chance for success. One of the ways which can help you with that is through retail marketing consulting.

If you are thinking about launching your own line of products and jump into the retailing market but not sure whether you will find success or not, you are right on time; today, we have this rare opportunity to have a Q&A session with Yohan Jacob, the CEO of a unique retail consultant – the Chicago-based Retailbound.

Without further adieu, here’s the Q&A:

SMBCEO.com (Q): Hi, Yohan – thanks for the opportunity; can you please share with our readers a bit about Retailbound?

Yohan (A): Retailbound was created back in 2008 from based on decades of experience working with both retailers and retail-oriented manufacturers. When I was a retail buyer for a large billion dollar retailer, many small to mid-sized manufacturers commented to me how frustrating it was to (1) sell to a retailer and (2) work with a retailer. Also, when some of these manufacturers reached me by phone, they weren’t prepared to talk to me yet and probably lost an opportunity to do business with my stores.

So I wrote a book called “Retail Bound | Learn How to Sell Your Products to Retailers” (available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers) to help manufactures actually learn how to sell and work with retailers from someone who has been on both sides of the retailer buyer’s desk.

I created a retail management and marketing consulting company based on the success of the book. Since 2008, we have been helping manufacturers and retailers across the country in becoming more successful in retail.

Q: As someone who has been in retailing before, I was overwhelmed by the unknowns, especially in product pricing, marketing, and so on; I’m sure many readers who are new in retailing also have similar problems. Can you tell us how Retailbound can help?

A: Retailbound offers 3 types of services to clients. The first service we offer is Retail Coaching. This service is best described as taking an instructional tennis lesson with tennis pro. There are no monthly retainers, contracts or minimums with this particular service unlike with our other 2 services we offer. Clients book 1 hour of time with us. We go over various retail strategies like pricing or distribution. We even go over various questions that most retail buyers ask and how best to answer them. After each session, we recap the notes via email as well as provide action items or homework for the client to work on.

Our retail coaching service is best geared towards entrepreneurs and inventors who want to know if there are ready yet for retail.

The second service we offer is Retail Consulting. This is geared to both larger manufacturers and retailers who are having specific issues. Our clients like our fresh perspective to their problems and the solutions we come up with. Unlike most consultants that just spout theories, we actually assist with the execution of the strategies.

The third and most popular service we offer is Outsourced Retail Marketing. Many of our clients, still reeling from the recession, have not added full time employees to their payroll. However, they need specific experience when it comes to retail marketing. With as little as 8 hours per week, Retailbound can act as their retail marketing manager, their brand manager, or their product manager.

Q: You help people to see whether their products are retail-ready or not. Can you highlight a couple of your case studies or success stories of how being retail-ready can make a huge difference?

A: We have helped hundreds of small businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups and inventors learn how to get ready to sell to and work with retailers of all shapes and sizes.

Our favorite case study is with one of our current clients. They approached Retailbound over 4 years ago with some products that they wanted to sell to retail. They had no experience with dealing with retailers or distributors. They started with a couple of 1 hour retail coaching sessions with me. Once I got them ready for retail, I sent them on the right track for success. Fast forward two years and the client were growing. They wanted to accelerate their sales growth so they hired Retailbound as their outsourced marketing manager. We changed their pricing strategy, found the right sales talent, and opened some large “name” accounts.

From the result of our hard work, INC Magazine recently named my client, SimplyGlobo, Inc. one of the fastest 500 growing companies in the country.

I used this story when talking to prospective clients that with hard work and patience, you can be successful at retail!

Q: Please share a tip or two for our readers who are considering getting into retailing.

A: Sure…

“Always price your products high when presenting to retailers.”
It’s always easier to come down in price than go up in price. I have seen countless times that small manufacturers don’t consider all the necessary factors when pricing their products for retailers. Once a retailer accepts your price, if you miscalculated your pricing, it will be an extremely difficult conversation for you to tell the buyer that you have to raise his price.

“Selling into retail takes timing and patience.”
One of our first clients wanted to sell to QVC. After some coaching, she was ready to go. However, QVC wasn’t. After 2 product meetings with the buyer and a couple of revisions to pricing, it was about 9 months until my client’s product was shown on air at QVC. Take your time with your retail strategies before you launch your products to retail. With the right strategy executed at the right time, your sales at retail will be ever-growing.

Many thanks for sharing your insights, Yohan!

Now, over to you… are you ready to get your big product idea on the shelves of big retailer’s stores? If so, don’t hesitate to seek for help. I suggest you to look for the right retail consultant with proven track record and work with them.

Photo credit: Kate Hopkins

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