Convenience Stores

How to Launch a New Product in Convenience Stores

Mr. Checkout is a national association of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to approximately 35,000 independent stores around the country and are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

7 Elements of a Successful New Convenience Store Product Launch

A new product launch is an exciting and daunting task, but launching a new product in convenience stores adds another hurdle, that of the competitive independent c-store landscape.

Fear not, entrepreneurs, we’re here to guide you on how to launch a new product in convenience stores and have your new product become the item customers need to buy.

If you have a product that fits the convenience store niche market, then read this guide to learn how to launch a new product in convenience stores.

  1. As with any major business venture or product launch, a convenience store product launch starts with research. But you’ve done all that, and you’ve created a rock-solid marketing plan and a thorough business plan. It’s time to turn these crucial elements into a compelling presentation that you can use when you approach convenience store owners, c-store distributors or the brokers that represent them. You want to demonstrate your vast knowledge of the convenience store landscape, your ability to deliver a quality product, fill orders and make these individuals money. You’ll research your competitors’ selling price to determine your own price, which will have the various distribution costs built in. You must know what you have in inventory, the lead times for every order size, minimum order quantities and pricing tiers. Comprehensive, compelling product sheets should stock your arsenal. These product sheets explain the features and benefits of your product and demonstrate why the consumer wants your product over another product, also known as your USP. A product sheet should describe what problem your product solves, or what need it fills, and should demonstrate how your product is the best on the market. Be sure to include key features and details of your product, general usage information, ingredient lists, how much you’ve sold so far and any key accounts or endorsements you’ve acquired thus far.
  2. People are visual creatures, so have images of your product. Include UPC codes, specs and the available flavors and colors that will be sold. Show what you offer. Don’t forget to include the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) and the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the sales sheet; it’s meant to sell the product, so show what it’s all about. The product sheet will be a key player in getting and then launching your product into convenience stores.
  3. Craft a killer spec sheet to demonstrate the marketability of your new product. This spec sheet will show how your product will fit into the convenience store, as it contains the plans for your end cap display and ideas for other attention grabbing displays. It’ll inform the convenience store’s representative or convenience store supplier how many displays will come in one case and how many cases of your product are on a pallet, thus demonstrating your ability to supply a quality product, anticipate needs and think ahead.
  4. You’ve researched and you have studied the market and your competitors, you’ve planned and prepared, so now it’s time to present to convenience stores and launch your product. According to Forbes, you should “book meetings at 9:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.” In order to secure these meetings, you should “call during ‘prime times’: 7:30 a.m. to 9:00, 11:30 to 1:30, and the best, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00.”
  5. Another element of launching a new product in a convenience store is to build a website to raise awareness and get the online community familiar with and excited about your new product.
  6. Your product launch needs to be exciting and informative. A successful new product launch in convenience stores will generate attention and recognition of your brand and product. It’ll build buzz. You can do this with a targeted ad campaign, promotions, in-store giveaways and free samples.
  7. In store marketing efforts are the lifeblood of a successful product launch. Once your new product is in a convenience store, it’s vital to accumulate valuable shelf or refrigerator space so consumers see and buy your product. You need a sales team that is willing to go toe-to-toe with the bigger brands to fight for your new product.

Now that you know how to launch a new product in convenience stores, let us know if you have a new product idea on the site!

If you have a product, we want to hear from you!