Retail Shelf Fill Lesson

Caught the back-end of a reality telly show that could have been quite promising, all about how ordinary members of the public were given the chance to pitch for putting a food product onto the shelves of gigantic Tesco.  For those unfamiliar with this supermarket brand, they’re often accused of having the morals of the kind of dictator that refers to themselves as ‘the people’s president’, and as I blog, one in every seven pounds retail spend in the UK apparently goes into their coffers.

Then Allan Leighton crops up.  In his current role as Post Office Chairman, his personal appearances are typically shambolic and hopelessly out of touch, yet he was now on home turf.  Being the man that helped shape Tesco competitor Asda (for whom I’ve always had a soft spot after doing a project on a new store opening of theirs in Nottingham at Uni), surely he would add value here.  After all, it’s the case that popstars cannot act (and vice versa) in the same vein as conquerors of one industry tend not to be able to command the waves of a totally different one, despite ‘performance’ seemingly being a related endeavour, so I eagerly awaited his pitching advice on what was necessary to get on his shelves back in the day.

I fear injudicious editing robbed us of most insight, with the producers focusing more on his abruptness rather than his messages.  Nevertheless, he did provide two relevant pitch tips:

  1. If you can’t sell it in 30 seconds, it’s not worth selling, and
  2. every time each combatant mentioned something he thought could be a differentiator, he got them to drill down into that point – they tended to just mention it (almost in passing) and move on, eg: the lad had a ‘hog’ pie, the lady, a ‘magic spices’ choccie cake, where both traits were much better when expanded.

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