Getting on the Shelf in a Competitive Retail Environment

Aug 5, 2021

How to successfully present a pitch to retailers and get on shelves is one of the most crucial aspects for any product-related business.

However, when you’re in a rapidly growing natural health space, this can prove challenging. Some of Australia’s most influential retailers shared their thoughts on successful pitch meetings at the 2021 Naturally Good Expo Business Summit.


Panelists from L to R; Peter Hathaway; Jody Farrell; Donna Pennings; Kirsten Mills

Understand your product’s category

Really get to grips with the area your product is in. “Reach out to the retailer’s category manager and have an honest conversation about the particular space and where you see your product,” said Kirsten Mills from Woolworths. “Also be crystal clear on knowing the value you give to customers with your product and back up any claims. If you claim a product is gluten-free, then actually get testing done to prove it.”

Get the timing right

Jody Farrell from Costco said it’s also important to understand the product needs to fit within a certain timeframe. In other words, your product may be hot, but just not hot ‘right now’. “However, it also helps for a business to be nimble. This is something that Costco tries to aspire to as well. We do main reviews twice a year in February and August, but whereas it can take months to see something on shelves, we can also have something in store in days. So, it helps in that case if the business is able to act quickly. We saw this with a few products during COVID. We were signing deals on a Sunday and by Tuesday had the product in stores.”

Identify your place in the market

Peter Hathaway, of Macro Wholefoods Company at Woolworths, said a business which can identify a gap in the market will always be of interest to a retailer. But it’s advisable to do your research thoroughly. It won’t do you any favours to say, ‘we’re the only one with this product’ only to find out later through a Google search or a little digging, that the claim may not be strictly true.

Fit in with the ethos of the store

Ms Farrell said understanding the personality of a particular retailer is vital. “Spend a lot of time in the store itself, observing everything you can about it including how they like to display items. At Costco we want to surprise and delight our customers with products, so our items are mainly about uniqueness and fun. You need to be able to explain how your product will fit in.”

Explain how you align with a retailer’s values

Donna Pennings, from leading natural and organic wholefoods market The Natural Grocery Company, said aligning with businesses with shared values was important to them. “We pay attention to products that are authentic, sustainable or can demonstrate a country of origin. Retailers need to be able to stand behind their products, so this is key in this space.”


  • Peter Hathaway – Macro Wholefoods Company
  • Jody Farrel – Costco
  • Donna Pennings – The Natural Grocery Company
  • Kirsten Mills – Woolworths

A big thank you to our speakers for being part of Naturally Good 2021. If you would like to hear more takeaways from our speaker series, subscribe here for regular updates.

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