When you’re looking to launch a brand across U.S. retail, businesses tend to take any opportunity they’re given. They’re not highly selective when it comes to expanding into the U.S. market and instead, they throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.
That may be a fine strategy when you’re just trying to get your products on U.S. store shelves. But when those opportunities start to develop, the “throw everything” approach needs to go out the window. Instead, it’s time to be strategic and develop a game plan for where you go from that point on.
So let’s assume that your business has developed a presence in U.S. retail, and it’s looking to build upon that early success. What’s the path forward? What strategic variables need to be considered? Here’s a look at the strategy considerations to keep in mind.
When you’re building your brand’s presence in the U.S. retail market, regionality can be very important. For many different reasons, consumers in one region of the country may respond better to your product than others; many factors drive this: population density, ethnicity, and other key demographic factors. The key here is to respond accordingly to maximize the sales opportunity and use this as a springboard for success.
One business we’ve worked with, a cat food company, started to build consumer traction on the West Coast. Then, it established a presence on the East Coast—and its sales performance in the Northeast really started to take off. There are several factors that played into this successful expansion, including: The Northeast has a higher density of cat owners, and the population density in general is higher in the Northeast than in the more spread-out regions of the West.
As a result, that cat food company made the decision to focus its marketing and sales efforts in the Northeast region, building a core base of consumers in that part of the country and focusing key marketing resources there. Too many companies try to distribute all across the country at once, instead of focusing their resources in the regions where they’re most successful. When that core base of consumers is established, it’s easier to build your brand’s presence out from there. Remember, build from your core!
Channel pricing can be a slippery slope if you aren’t familiar with the U.S. retail landscape in areas where you’re building a brand presence. Although it’s normal for prices to vary from one region to the next based on distribution costs and other factors, your relationships with retail partners can sour quickly if they’re getting a price they consider unequitable.
In some cases, off-the-mark pricing in one region could have a ripple effect that hurts your brand’s sales prospects in other regions as well. To navigate these challenges, it’s helpful to have a strategic partner who has experience in these regions and can guide your channel pricing strategy to the best results.
When it comes to entering the U.S. retail market, many businesses don’t know what they don’t know. Use research and testing in each market, along with the guidance of a strategic partner, to create an ironclad channel pricing strategy. And be ready to pivot when needed as your U.S. market strategy grows and evolves over time.
Ability to Adapt
Your initial retail strategy provides a roadmap to building a presence in the U.S. market, but it’s never set in stone. With so many variables in play, it’s impossible to predict how your brand will find its place.
Consumer preferences can be different than your research suggests, and various market forces can create surprises when it comes to building a core base of customers in a given region. Your business needs to be flexible enough to change its strategy based on where your business finds opportunity.
But it also needs to be willing to reconsider packaging, messaging, and other aspects of your consumer packaged goods (CPG), depending on what’s going to drive the best possible results with U.S. consumers.
If you want to be successful in the U.S. market, you can’t play it fast and loose. Every CPG brand needs to manage its resources carefully and make strategic decisions that lean into success and take advantage of efficiencies in distribution, shipping, and marketing.
Looking for an experienced partner to guide you through this process? Contact us today for a free consultation.