Matt Nuccio. "Sustaining Sales in a Confused Economic Environment."
Toy & Family Entertainment, Feb. 2013
Right now the entire world is a mass of economic confusion. It is a "Brave New World" we live in and, like it or not, we have to play the cards we are dealt. Most of us have had to survive through these seemingly endless ups and downs. Credit is short and receivables linger. When get your items on the shelf you still have to worry about sell through and returns. The question cycles in your head. How do I sustain sales in such a confused economic environment?
Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this difficult question. There are however, steps you can take to exploit your brand by paying attention to details from the beginning of your products' design through its shelf presence in the marketplace. The details are where the roots of an items success and failure are. During boom times many companies seem to gloss over the small stuff but now is the time to pay acute attention to it.
Try to be original. There is way too much "me too" product out there. Calculate very carefully the value and need of placing a license on your product. Licensing is increasingly expensive so use it where it has the most value and don't just throw it on products needlessly. It does both your product and the licensing property an injustice. Start your development program as early as possible for forth quarter items try to start developing at least 5-6 months before the first September previews.
When developing a product be sure that you have the best price point for your product. Then cost it out carefully with multiple makers for the best price and delivery. Remember that in today’s world you have to concern yourself with wall thickness and mold set up on plastic parts. Make an item too thick and you will pay too much. Make the mold one up or multiple cavities is a "Mold cost vs production capability " question. You must attend to these questions early on.
Avoid safety testing issues by attending to safety early. Build safety in from day one! Develop a good relationship with your safety lab by submitting early and with all your paper work complete. Not attending to these issues costs time and shipping delays.
Make sure your packaging design is started alongside every other aspect of product development. Attractiveness, size, shape, durability, assembly and environmental issues all have to be dealt with. Again, the earlier the better. If the item is licensed, don't wait until a week prior to shipping to submit for approval. That is the formula for disaster. The same applies to sculpted designs that must be approved.
Keep your shipping promises realistic and hunt for the best shipper prices. On time product lets the buyer know you are dependable, a sure way to continue increase your sales. Lastly, once you are on the shelf, track where your product is being placed. Is it really on the shelf or forgotten in the back of a chain or stores warehouse? If the item warrants it, consider hiring detailers to make sure the product is where it should be. Of course the point of all of the above really comes down to this. Organize, schedule and follow through, as early as you can. The fruits of doing so are undeniable.