Timeframe from pitch to product on shelf?
March 25, 2008 12:42 PM   Subscribe

How long does it take to get a product from pitch to store shelves at a retailer such as Ritz Camera or Target?

I am working on a project for grad school and we are trying to sell a theoretical consumer photography product. Ritz, etc are very tight lipped but we are trying to find out how long it would take from pitching the product to having it on store shelves to getting our money from the purchase order. Any ideas?

Or how much we should actually be stocking? 10 per store? Should we account for warehouse storage?

Assuming we already have a final product ready for shipment...

Its a $149.95 item for pro photographers and/or anyone with a digital SLR....
posted by UMDirector to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: A few specific notes from my group lead:

How much inventory they keep in distribution
centers? We need to know how many units to ship.
Also, please clarify with them how one would go about supplying
them with a product and setting that up? We also have
contract negotiation set right after one meeting with them, is that too quick, even for a product they may want to sell?
posted by UMDirector at 12:44 PM on March 25, 2008

Assuming that you have a final product ready for shipment, you have probably spent a couple of years in development. Then you have to sell the product to the buyers at the company, who will put in a buy based on many issues. Is the $149.95 your MSRP or your wholesale price, so what is the manufacturing costs and how long does it take to get the product assembled? Will it come assembled or is there further construction necessary on the part of the consumer?

There is rarely product negotiation after one meeting unless the interest is competitive, I don't think this would happen unless you offered prosumer and consumer models as well. I assume this is an MBA question?
posted by parmanparman at 12:56 PM on March 25, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah its an MBA question :)

The $149.95 is our MSRP, our whole sale is $99, our manufacturing is, I think, around $10-$20.

The product is pretty much assembled within a few minutes...it just needs to be put in a small box with instructions and shrink wrapped.

The consumer has to do a bit of work on their own..at least in this initial version. In a real company I think after a few years we would grow to the point where they wouldn't have to. For the sake of this project that is not the case here.

That was our feeling as well on the product negotiation. The company I currently work for has spent almost a year on an enterprise software product so a time frame of a month or so seemed a little short. We have someone who actually works in the field we got that number from but I think perhaps her heart is just not in the project.
posted by UMDirector at 1:13 PM on March 25, 2008

Response by poster: I should add we tried to get in touch with Ritz Photo and B&H for information on this and they were both (not surprisingly) tight lipped about the whole thing. Felt obligated to at least try.
posted by UMDirector at 1:14 PM on March 25, 2008

Assuming we already have a final product ready for shipment...

It has been my experience that companies don't have enough of a final product ready for immediate shipment to a nationwide retail chain, until they've got a signed contract with that retail chain. That'd be a lot of inventory and money wasted if you don't manage to strike a deal with the retailers. You might want to re-examine this assumption and then include a realistic manufacturing time into your timeline, if this assumption wasn't part of the assignment.

I can't give you detailed insight into the overall timeline, but it has certainly taken longer than a month in my experience. I'd say 6 months to a year is more reasonable. Some of it will depend on whether you're pitching a brand-new product that they've never carried before, vs. competing to be their main supplier of some kind of product line that they already sell. (e.g. "Would you like to carry our never-before-seen 3D camera?" vs. "Can we be your exclusive supplier of padded camera bags?") In the second case, the retailers may have a once-a-year bidding process for vendors of any particular type of product. Then your time from signed contract to entry into the stores would probably be shorter. On the other hand, if you miss the bidding process by 2 weeks, you'll have to wait another year to try again.
posted by vytae at 2:12 PM on March 25, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah the "ready to go" is hypothetical. Its a very easy item to manufacturer...mostly stamped metal.
posted by UMDirector at 3:52 PM on March 25, 2008

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