Many producers, especially of consumer goods, get excited when their brand is for sale in some far away city across the country. They act like it’s some kind of an achievement to have placed their product there. They may even brag about all the places their product is “sold.”

The fact is, their brand may have been placed in those retail stores, but reorders require constant vigilance. We considered our brand as “in” a retail store only after it was reordered within 30 days of the initial placement, and then reordered again within the next 30 days. Even then, there was no guarantee our product would stay in that store.

Our brand was sold through the three-tiered system. This is industry slang for the producer selling to the wholesaler (also known as the distributor or jobber), and then the wholesaler selling to the retailer who sold to the consumer. We found that without our own representative servicing that store, our product would disappear, often shortly after its initial placement.

Why? For a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with the product, the price, the quality, or the branding. Most reasons were fixable, but only if our rep physically went into those stores. The many unbelievable-sounding reasons were painfully real.

Here are the 10 top reasons we discovered for no reorders:

1. The wrong product was delivered by the wholesaler and was never returned or put on the shelf.

2. Price tags were wrong or missing altogether.

3. Too much of a similar product was sold to the retailer by the wholesaler’s representative. Now the retailer won’t buy anything from that rep until the over-stock sells out.

4. New brands are not yet well known, resulting in the wholesaler’s rep and the retailer forgetting to reorder it.

5. Fast movers sell out so quickly that the shelf space is left open, soon to be taken by a competing brand.

6. A new owner wants to start fresh with different brands.

7. A new distributor’s representative didn’t know to reorder our brand.

8. A stack of someone else’s product completely covered ours from view.

9. It’s still in the back room, and never made it to the shelf. In the wine industry, we called this “aging in the back room.”

10. No promotional signs were put up to help it sell.

The list goes on. None of these reasons has to do with the brand itself, but all affect brand-building results. In fact, they can stop the brand dead in its tracks.

When you are starting out, your investment in brand building can be lost to simple out-of-stocks. Every new placement requires a follow-up on a timely basis. Your rep must see if its still there, and do what needs to be done to get reorders.

Before you start telling your customers where they can buy your brand, make sure it’s still there. Be sure to have room in your brand-building budget for your own field representatives. It can be the most essential part of brand building. It’s not the initial order that counts, it’s the reorder!









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Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact