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Product Managers Discover The Power Of Shelves – The Accidental Product Manager

Product Managers Discover The Power Of Shelves

It turns out that even in this modern age, store shelves are still important
It turns out that even in this modern age, store shelves are still important
Image Credit: Marcus Johnstone

Product managers are starting to discover that something that we may have stopped thinking about in this digital age is still very, very important. Even as more and more of our customers are buying things online, it turns out that they still go out and go shopping. When they do this, they want to see and touch the things that they are going to be buying in a store. What this means for product managers is that store shelves are still a very important place for our products to be.


The Power Of Store Shelves

I’m pretty sure that by now we realize that customers will buy just about anything that is made available to them online. However, when it comes down to buying common, everyday items such as the things that we use around the house, customers still prefer to go out shopping for what they need. The realization that this is the way that customers want to shop is coming as a surprise to a number of the largest consumer-products companies who now realize that they are going to have to change their product development definition. They have spent a great deal of money investing in start-up firms that sell directly to customers online and who have no presence in any stores.

These new upstart brands are having their own awaking. What they are discovering is that in order to continue to be successful, they are going to have to move their products into real stores if they want to have any hope of being able to compete outside of the narrow niche that they were originally successful in. There are two key reasons why they are going to have to do this. The first is because if they can pair up with a big retailer, then these start-up brands can get critical visibility that they can’t get any other way. Additionally, it turns out that customers like to make a single shopping trip to purchase their items. This is in contrast to having to sign up to multiple subscription services in order to get what they want.

Product managers are starting to realize that it’s not enough to just be growing. There are a number of firms that show up, grow fast, and then start to get referred to as being a “success”. However, product managers are responsible for ultimately creating value not just growing a business. What product managers are realizing is that a business model that can make money may turn out to be a bigger challenge than was originally thought. The companies that are currently online only are discovering that what they need to do is to find a way to get onto the shelves at Target or at Walmart along with other traditional retailers.


How To Maximize Store Shelves For Your Product

What product managers for products that are being sold on line are starting to realize is that they may be asking too much from their potential customers. They are already asking their customers to switch from the well-established brand that they may currently be using to the new brand that the product managers are offering. However, it turns out that they are also asking them to make their purchases of the new product in a new way – online. The product managers fear that this may be asking too much. Getting their products into stores and onto shelves can make it easier for customers to select their product.

Times are changing for these new products. What they are discovering is that once they can get their product onto store shelves, their online sales start to increase also. In order to boost the success of their product, these firms have started to make investments into print advertising and television as they discover that social media is not enough to attract the attention that they are seeking. Last year consumers spent US$3.7 trillion dollars on retail products. Online sales accounted for 15% of those sales. Overall retail spending increased by 4.6% and online sales increased by 10%. Numbers like that would look good on anyone’s product manager resume.

When large firms purchase online-only retailers, they make a number of discoveries. It turns out that the cost of acquiring an online customer is the same as acquiring a customer in a store. Many of the online companies are successful because their customers forget to cancel their subscription even after they stop using the product. There are some products that don’t respond well to having a subscription service created for them. These products end up being all too easy for customers to just pull off the shelf and drop into their cart. For these types of products, product managers can simply focus on making them easier to find in the store.


What All Of This Means For You

The world in which we live is constantly changing. A number of new products that have shown up online have become overnight success stories. These products are now looking for ways that they can continue to grow. Somewhat surprisingly what is being discovered is that the old standby, shelves in stores, is what it will take to introduce these products to new customers. Now online-only product managers just need to look at their product manager job description and find out how they can go about making this happen.

Although customers these days buy a lot of things online, it turns out that they prefer to buy many retail items in a store when they go shopping. Startup brands are starting to discover that if they want to continue to grow they need to get their products into stores so that they can leverage the store’s brand and so that customers can select their product when they are on their once a week shopping trip. Being in charge of a growing product is good, but the product also has to be a business success. Product managers need to get their products into stores in order to make it simple for customers to select their product. Getting an online product into stores and onto shelves causes online sales to also start to increase. Not all products respond well to having a subscription service created around them.

Online product managers are experiencing a great deal of change. They need to find ways to get their products into retail stores. If they can make this happen then they’ll be able to reach new markets and boost sales. The key will be finding ways to get retail stores to want to stock their product. If they can make this happen, then they’ll be able to sell their products both online and off of shelves.


– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™


Question For You: At what point in time do you think that an online only product should start to look for a way to get sold in a store?


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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Being a product manager in a growth industry is one of the best jobs that any of us can have. Everyday things seem to be rushing forward faster and faster, it’s all that we can do to keep up. This is exactly how life must be for product managers who are involved in the fracking industry. Just in case you don’t know, fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc. so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. This technique has opened up vast new areas of land for drilling for gas and oil. A product management job in this industry has been one to have for a long time. However, now things are changing and these product managers have a problem on their hands: sand.