Nailing the Product Line Review

Nailing The Line Review

author: Joe Rogge

Written by: Joe Rogge

Chief Creative Officer

08.26.2021

  • Best Practices
  • Creative

The Product Line Review (PLR) is an opportunity to pitch a product or a line of products to buyers at big box retailers—like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, and national grocery chains—who then decide if the product(s) aligns with the retailer’s merchandising goals and whether or not the product will ultimately be added to the retailer’s shelves. This is a new business presentation that either strikes fear and loathing or hope and excitement into the hearts of those that pitch their wares at big box retail.

Success can change a business significantly. Landing a national big box listing could put that product into every retailer’s store—with the potential for tremendous revenues. The process is defined by crazy deadlines, tight budgets, last-minute travel, focus groups, poring over consumer surveys and Google analytics, all-nighters spent building presentation decks, stuffing binders full of research, filling packaging mock-ups full of foam peanuts, and assembling point-of-sale concepts—all to make a great impression on the buyer and hopefully land that national account!

Preparing for a line review can be hectic, but with potential for tremendous revenues.

The risk? Well, that’s the rub. You see, there is a significant upfront investment in the development of a compelling product concept. The product has to be researched, tested, and branded. Packaging needs to be designed, point-of-sale and marketing strategies need to be developed, and—of course—the line review presentation deck itself has to be created.

The presenter has to communicate a deep knowledge of the product category, what the market opportunities are, how the product meets the consumers’ needs, and why that specific retailer’s consumers will buy it. Often the presenter needs to have an even deeper knowledge of the retailer’s consumers than the buyer has.

Line review success is never a guarantee. But if you understand the process and follow best practices, your investment is much more likely to pay off.

Line review success is never a guarantee. But “nailing” the line review is more likely when you understand the barriers to success and follow best practices. At EPIC, we have helped dozens of brands navigate the pitfalls, overcome obstacles, and put their best foot forward when presenting to national retailers. Need our help? Reach out to learn more about how we can support your efforts.

All of the work in the run-up to line review day is certainly trying, but answering that follow-up call from the buyer telling you that they are interested in putting your product on their shelves is one of the most rewarding business calls you will ever receive. You nailed it!

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