The second set of samples just came in from China; Not great - but a lot better than the first set. At least now I’ve crossed the line between “Not sure if they can get this” and “Ok, we can get them there”
The samples this time still have color issues, but at least this time we have 8 tightly wrapped bags in a nice shell case – and when you pull on them it words. They sent this sample with the first version of artwork, but that should be easy enough to fix in the next round. We'll let Patricia know about the changes and then it’s back in her court.
In the mean time we want to start thinking about our test program. “Test” is a step we put into the process between manufacturing and distribution. We do this because experience has shown us that when a sales rep is going to sell a buyer the best thing you can do is give him/her real information to show – and what better information to show a buyer than real sales data from a retail store just like theirs.
In a test program we select a series of retailers in our area that represent a good cross section of retail environments. These may be convenience stores, grocery, big box, or even gas stations depending on the product. We order in a “seed order” of maybe 2000 pieces and sometimes simply give the store a small orders worth for free. (It’s hard for even a retailer to say no to “free”) Or sell them in at our cost. Basically we have written of the 2000 piece order because we understand the sales data is much more important than the money at this point. Then each week for about 2 months we will go into the store and count the number of units left. When we take that data back and look at it over time, and compair it to the type of retailer it will tell us exactly where to focus our sales efforts to achieve the best result.
So…it’s off to line up our test retailers.