Why Can't I Find Black-Owned Brands in Stores?
I always get questions about why finding some Black-owned or founded brands in stores is challenging. I love that consumers want to support them! Before you get frustrated because you had to go to five stores before you found what you were shopping for, let's take a moment to understand why some brands are in limited stores, what the process is to get in stores, and how you can help them grow their reach. (Also, you should always use the store app or website before getting in your car—gas is expensive out here!)
What's really going on?
Let's look at the journey of a typical Black-owned brand at Target as an example.
When Target considers placing a brand in-store, they often pilot the product online first. The pilot provides them with data that will guide their next steps: where are people buying from, how in-demand is the product, and can the brand handle the volume of orders from Target.com? They're also looking for proof of concept: will this product feasibly perform well long-term? In stores?
Or sometimes, Target chooses to place a new brand in a store first. However, this is usually around 50-200 stores (compared to the almost 2,000 stores in the U.S.). The success in the stores is critical for the item/brand's future in Target. Decision-makers want to know if you can sell off the shelf, hit monthly markers, and replenish adequately. Selling out is not necessarily a good thing. Products should never be missing from retail store shelves for months or weeks. For the retailer, they see this as missing out on money. Brands need to be in demand and present to meet that demand.
From Shopify: An example of a quarterly sales goal could be to make $100,000 in sales revenue during Q2. A monthly sales goal could be to increase monthly sales revenue by 10% month over month during Q3 and Q4.
Once a product is deemed successful, then they expand to other stores. However, remember that some items will vary by store based on demographics and other details.
Example: Stores in predominantly Black areas may have more Black haircare products.
Cash rules everything
The bottom line is it all comes down to money, and every step of the process has a cost: production, manufacturing, shipping, and advertising. When the company is responsible for those costs, they have slim margins and no room for mistakes. They can't experiment with it because they need the facts and figures to be precise. Black-owned companies receive less venture capital than non-minority-owned companies and might not have the money to be in every store.
How to Become a Supplier
If you're ready to get your product in stores or curious about how the process works, take a look at these links:
What can consumers do?
Buy from their website if you can't find what you want in stores. Retailers and the brand can see who is buying what regionally and geographically.
Support brands at their website AND the retailer's website (Yes, both! Not either/or. Both are important). They need multiple income streams. Remember, shopping Black in retail is a strategy.
If you see a product you've wanted in store, buy it! It might not be at another location.
Request brands! Tell a store manager what products or brands you want to see (ask on social media, too!).
Find a product you love and want everyone else to know about it. Then, share it on social media and let people know where to get it. You don't have to be an influencer to help out small brands.
Need help to find your favorite brand where you found them before? Reach out to the company and ask where to buy or use the store locator almost every brand has on their site!
Need a consultant? Or want me to speak at your event? Please contact me at email@example.com