Jim DeBetta is an expert in the retail and marketing industries, have amassed years of experience developing winning products and brands. Some of his former retailer customers include Target, Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, Sears, Michael’s, Cabelas, Home Shopping Network, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Discovery Channel Stores, and Costco. He’s helped thousands of inventors and start-ups learn what it takes to successfully sell and profit from a product in the cutthroat world of marketing. I enjoyed the opportunity to interview DeBetta and share his wealth of knowledge with you. If you’re curious about how to go about manufacturing your own idea, please read closely!
“Have there been better times in the retail environment? Sure. Several years ago, retailers were more willing to take a risk on a product because they had the extra cash to do so. What with the economy the way it is, retail is a bit more sluggish. The average inventor has bit more of a challenge. But the bottom line is, if a product has a clear benefit over what’s being sold in the stores, it’s desirable. There are always opportunities for the right kinds of products,” he declared.
What kinds of products are the right products? Products that are innovative, can be used in multiple ways, and have low price points.
“There are certain categories that are continuing to flourish. These include pet products, baby accessories, home and garden products, and anything that might appeal to the baby boomer generation. When I work with buyers from Bed Bath and Beyond, for example, I constantly hear that they want multi-functional products that have low price points. 2 in 1 products, 3 in 1 products, etc.,” he explained.
I was curious if DeBetta felt it was necessary to have a finished product before contacting a retailer. It’s often unrealistic, price wise, for most inventors to invest in manufacturing a product before any interest in buying the product has been solidified. But if a buyer asks for a finished product…
“Showing a finished product in its package is always going to appeal to retailers. If a buyer wants to put your product in stores now, but it’s going to take you three months to produce it, there’s no way to guarantee they are still going to be interested three months later. Going back to them might be difficult. It’s a good idea to have production details in place – not necessarily an entire warehouse filled with product,” said DeBetta.
Most inventors struggle with rejection. But DeBetta argues that the entrepreneurs he knows are most successful are able to separate themselves emotionally from their product and its success.
“It’s a cutthroat industry, I’m not going to lie to you. If a buyer doesn’t think they can make money with your product, they’re not going to want to listen to your life story. A lot of inventors think their product is going to set the world on fire! They stop thinking from business perspective. The entrepreneurs who get past that succeed.”