If you have been trying to convince store owners to place your products on their shelves without success, maybe it’s time you reviewed your strategies.

For many small business owners, getting their products on the shelves is a big deal.

Because it means more distribution, exposure, sales, etc.

But it also requires hard work and persistence.

Because there are hundreds and thousands of small business owners who are seeking to do the same for their products.

Unfortunately, there are only a few stores with a limited number of shelves and budget to satisfy the demand.

This is why small business owners should be creative as well as leverage strategies that have proven strategies like the six we share below to get ahead of the competition.

Six (6) Strategies To Get Your Products On Store Shelves In Nigeria

The best strategy to get your products to shelves is to create a product that customers want.

With a good product, the task of getting them to shelves is much easier.

The success of the six strategies we’ve shared below depends to a large extent on the quality of the product. So, make sure it’s something people want.

Below are six strategies that have been proven to get your products on shelves in Nigeria:

1. Research

The more extensive the research you carry out, the better your chances of success.

Unfortunately, only a few small business owners start by researching the stores they want to get into.

The purpose of research is to gather as much information as possible.

Information like the product needs of the stores, the kind of products they prefer to stock, their purchasing cycles, key decision-makers, and the competing products they carry would help you position your products to meet their needs better.

2. Choose The Right Store

As much as there are thousands of stores you can get to carry your products in Nigeria, not all of them are a good fit for your products.

A few factors like your ideal customers, your product type, vis-à-vis that of the store would help you determine what stores are a good fit for your products.

Say you manufacture children’s clothing, no matter how much you try, you cannot get a store that sells fashion items for adult men to stock your products because of the lack of fit.

This is another reason why you need to carry out research even before approaching retail stores.

3. How To Convince them

There are so many things that go into giving a great pitch.

Whether you’re pitching via a cold email, a Direct Message or physically (recommended), there are a few things you have to make sure to note.

a. Give them a good reason – Make sure you’re ready to highlight what makes your product different from the rest, your capacity to meet demand when/if they increase, why you think it’s a great fit for the store (again, see the importance of thorough research), and, importantly, how they stand to benefit.

An important factor for the admittance of any product into a store’s coveted shelf is that it must be a quick seller and have a high margin.

So, show them that their store can make good money putting your products on their shelves.

b. Show them proof – But talk is often not enough to convince stores to place your products on their shelves, show them that customers want your products.

Show them your sales figures from your direct sales.

If you’re just starting and have little or no sales.

You can ramp up your sales figures by listing your products online.

It’s a cost-effective way to start and show that customers want your products.

You can also just sell them on how good your product is.

If they fit into your customer type as individuals, you can get them to test the quality.

4. Build Connections

Sometimes, it is not enough to have a great product, you need a connection to meet the key decision-makers.

You can build a connection with store owners by getting people who are already in their inner circle to introduce you, or you can form a direct relationship from the scratch.

Research business owners who have successfully put their products on your target stores and reach out to them to get you in the door.

Or attend events and fairs where you can find store owners and retail buyers in attendance.

Then make your pitch.

Joining a business mastermind is another great way to form new connections that would help you put your products on the shelves.

Because a mastermind is a group of business owners that you can leverage their experience and network to achieve your goals like getting your products on the shelves.

5. Start Small

Many small business owners want to start by selling their products on Shop Rite or Ikeja mall or any other big retail stores.

But they are often devastated because of the heightened competition.

Starting small is an excellent strategy for getting into stores because it means that you start by getting your products into local stores.

These would help you get sufficient proof of demand to get your products into bigger regional and national stores.

6. Don’t Stop Promoting Your Products

It is easy to think that getting your products into a few stores is the end goal.

But it’s not, for your products to keep being on those shelves, you have to do even more by sending customers to the stores.

Don’t rest on your oars, promote your business to more customers, leverage google adverts, SEO optimization, paid social media ads, local influencers, to spread the gospel of your products.

The more successful you are at promoting your products, the easier it is to get into stores and stay on their shelves.

If you need help growing your small business in Nigeria, or you want to build a profitable enterprise that can run with you, then you need the SME Coach.

The SME Coach is a seasoned entrepreneur with extensive experience and network gained from running and growing many successful small businesses in Nigeria.

Contact the SME Coach today and reap remarkable results for your business.


(Photo from National Geographic, Robin Hammond)