Retailer meetings are not a 30 minute infomercial about your products - SKUFood
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Retailer meetings are not a 30 minute infomercial about your products

Retailer meetings are not a 30 minute infomercial about your products 

One thing that can be very frustrating for a category manager is when a supplier comes in for a meeting and takes all of the time to just talk about their product. They know you like your product. 

They want to understand what you are going to do to drive sales and generate margin in their stores. It is also important to customize parts of your presentation. Every retailer is different and you need to make sure they understand you are ready to help them succeed. 

SKUfood meeting agenda to get a listing 

This is our approach to support suppliers to get your product listed. If you have different objectives for your meeting you need to develop an agenda that will accomplish your goals.

Cover page 

Your presentation should start with a cover page. The cover page should include your brand or a photo of your product, your name, contact information and the date. This might sit on their desk so it should be a billboard for you. Retailers always like to see their own logo. Make sure it is correct and good quality!


Start the meeting off with a very quick summary of what you will review. It also helps keep the questions focused on the topic as opposed to an item you have coming up later in the presentation. Include page numbers on the agenda. Some people prefer to forward this in advance of the meeting.


Develop a very brief introduction to your business. What you do, where you sell your products and most importantly why do you do it. You should include your unique selling proposition. What makes you different than the last 5 people trying to sell their product in the chair you are occupying. Remember, they are most interested in why and how the item will sell at their store, not that you had to work 20 hours a day for 8 weeks to get your line up and running.

Point of differentiation

Your point of differentiation must be tangible and if possible, quantifiable. You can do this with ingredients, format, ease of preparation, health benefits, production techniques or process, packaging or best of all; it is unique and they do not have anything like it in the store.

Illustrate to the category manager how your point of differentiation is reinforced on your product and your advertising. How will the consumer learn about this so that it leads to a sale?

You must be objective about your point of differentiation, the category manager will be. If you are looking for a new listing, they will have to decide that another item will be delisted or lose some shelf space to make room for your product. The place where the product is manufactured is not a point of differentiation. It is only a point of differentiation if consumers will come to the store for it in that market.

Sales plan

Sales are the number one priority for retailers; you must explain how your item will perform. Forecast sales and make sure you and your customer agree on the number. Be realistic in your sales forecasting. Category managers are familiar with sales in their category. They will not see a decline in the winter as a negative, if it is a reality.


Category managers spend considerable time on product costing. They have an advantage here in that they know what your competition costs and they will expect you to be reasonably close. Present a cost per case and a cost per unit. This should be a delivered cost to their warehouse or the store if your item is direct store delivery (dsd).

It is advisable to look at the category and understand the right retail for your product then allow for retailer’s category margin. This will provide a good estimate of your delivered cost. Be prepared to negotiate and if you are willing to offer any special costing for promotions this is where you must include it.

You should have a retail price for your product in mind. Do not tell them what it should be, but be prepared to answer with a suggested retail, only when they ask. You should also know what your product is selling for in other stores.


This is the most important demo you will do. Be prepared and give your product the best chance. Make sure the category manager and others in the meeting experience your product at its best and as the consumer would. If it needs to be served hot, figure that out. Your sampling is a reflection on your business.


You must build credibility with category managers in your ability to execute. The previous segments of your presentation have built a foundation. Now you must bring this together in a plan that outlines what you will be doing to ensure that you will produce, deliver and sell the product.

Your plan needs to include a reference to production, packaging, distribution, marketing and finance. One of the biggest challenges for retailers working with different suppliers is credibility. You must prove to them that you and your organization will meet or exceed their expectations. Only include commitments in this section you are prepared to deliver. If you do not follow through it is worse than leaving them out.


The final page of your presentation should be one line from each of your key points.

A. Your point of differentiation;

B. Your annual sales;

C. Cost;

D. One line summary of your plan;

E. Reinforce your credibility. 

This is the last chance you have to make an impression. This page should leave them with no doubt that this is right for their stores.

Recently I was doing some role playing with food and beverage entrepreneurs from the prairies. It was great to learn about their products and give them a chance to practice their skills.


SKUFood Recipes for Success Podcast

We are super excited to announce we have launched our SKUFood Recipes for Success podcast. We have been working on this project for a while and it is finally ready to share with all of you. Our intention is to share the stories of food businesses and others in the value chain while also providing insights that are interesting and helpful to people in the food and beverage industry.

In this episode we are joined by Cheryl Donnelly, Senior Market Development Officer at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). With 14 years of experience in international affairs at AAFC, Cheryl has been instrumental in driving market development strategies and initiatives in regions such as the EU and the Middle East. Her expertise extends to leading the modernization of AAFC's Canada Brand Program, aimed at promoting Canadian agri-food and seafood products on the global stage.

Cheryl has a proven track record of success, having led e-commerce and digital marketing campaigns in Japan and Vietnam as part of launching the Canada Brand internationally. Currently, she's focused on the Indo-Pacific region, devising strategic approaches to help companies capitalize on export opportunities.

Join us as Cheryl shares her insights into export trade, market
development strategies, and the importance of the Canada Brand in promoting
Canadian products globally. Whether you're a seasoned exporter or new to
international trade, this episode offers valuable lessons and strategies for
success in the ever-expanding global market.

Listen and subscribe where ever you get your podcasts.

Where is Peter Speaking?

Retail food prices in U.S. drop for first time 

In North America we have been operating a period of higher than normal food 
inflation for the last 2-3 years. We have seen signs it was subsiding and now in 
the U.S. the consumer price index shows a .2% decline in April. 

If you are selling into this market the discussion with retailers will change. 
Obviously. it changes by category but the overall average shows a decrease. 
With items like olive oil up significantly other products will be down.

Loblaw agrees to sign Grocery code of conduct

After months of holding out Loblaw has agreed to sign the grocery code of conduct. With the caveat that they will sign, if other industry players do (read that Walmart), Loblaw will agree to the terms. This is positive for our industry and something that should have happened moths ago. We believe the finger pointing about price delayed the progress of the code. We do need to have a balance between retailers and suppliers. Hopefully this will bring us closer.


The 2024 edition of SIAL has been very busy so far. More people attending the 
show with a presence from many of the large retailers. Here are a few photos 
as we walk the show and get a sense for what is trending this year.