How to Successfully Bring Your Direct-to-Consumer Brand to a Retail Store Environment.

Jul 19, 2023

If you are a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand thinking about expanding your product to a wider shopper audience, there are some crucial steps that you need to make the jump to in-store retail. There are several obstacles to navigate: knowing your industry and competition, building a strong relationship with your Walmart merchant, having great display and ad content, and building loyal customer base. Making the jump to retail is definitely a risk, but well worth it to expand further and reach new customers. This is where retail environments, such as Walmart or Sam's Club, can play a crucial role in accelerating your brand. In this blog post, we will explore how you can bring your DTC brand to a retail setting and experience a new wave of success.

1. Understand the Your Industry and Your Product Placement

Before you make the leap from DTC to retail, it is essential to understand your industry and competition forwards and backwards. You must research the market, trends, and competition in the industry. Determine what sets your brand apart and how it can thrive in a crowded market. You must answer the question, "Why will the customer buy your product over another?" You also need to research the retail stores where you want to present your products, such as Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, Costco, or any other major retailer. Learn about their customer base, sales process, and regulations, and how your products can fit into their environment. Most importantly, you must know what drives your customers' loyalty to your product and what values they find with their purchase.

2. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Merchant

One of the most critical steps in bringing a DTC brand into a retail environment is building a strong relationship with your Walmart or Sam's merchant. Your merchant is your gatekeeper, your direct contact with the retailer, and they can help you navigate the complexities of retail. However, your success in retail is dependent upon your trust and communication with your merchant. Keep communication lines open and be responsive to feedback and insights from your merchant, who can help you optimize your brand's positioning for better sales results. You also need to develop a comprehensive plan with your merchant that outlines your goals, timeline, pricing, and promotional strategies. Lean on them, be transparent, and utilize their insights and feedback as a team effort to improve your product and sales.

For more on how to cultivate a good relationship with your merchant, listen to our podcast "The Merchant Mindset" with special guest Matt Musgraves.

3. Create an Attractive Display Strategy

Once you have established a smooth working relationship with your merchant, it is time to start thinking about how to showcase your products in a retail environment. You need to create an eye-catching display strategy, clear messaging, and great content that effectively communicates the unique features and benefits of your products. This helps to capture customers' attention and convince them to purchase your products. Consider investing in tools such as interactive displays, photography, packaging design, product demos, and in-store promotions that can make your brand more memorable and impactful.

PRO TIP: Your merchant will ask to see your investment in marketing. If you haven't invested confidently in your marketing, why would they take a risk with your brand? 

4. Implement a Solid Marketing Campaign

Now that your products are on display, it is time to develop an effective marketing campaign to promote them. Take advantage of the retail store's marketing channels, such as social media, email, and in-store signage, to spread the word about your products and generate buzz. You'll also want to invest in videography, graphic design, and content around your brand.Your marketing will need to tell a great story of how your product makes the customer's life better. You'll also want to share the stories of happy customers who are willing to be brand evangelists. Consider launching exclusive discounts and coupons for customers who purchase your products through the retail store. A well-executed marketing campaign can help drive sales, separate your brand from the competition, and increase your product visibility in the retail environment.

5. Keep Track of Sales Analytics and Optimize Your Strategy

Finally, as your brand starts to generate sales in the retail environment, it is crucial to track the sales analytics and measure the effectiveness of your strategy. Utilize the analytics tools provided by the retailer such as Walmart Luminate, to monitor sales performance, customer demographics, buying patterns, and more. Using your performance data to optimize your strategy will not only help you improve your results, but also builds trust with your merchant and ensures that your brand stays relevant and competitive in the retail store environment. Knowing the exact reasons why your brand is succeeding or failing, your insights and analytics, is crucial.

BONUS TIP: Ensure your logistics and fulfillment is ready.

This is likely not a surprise, but you need to double check your OTIF and fulfillment capabilities for delivering to a large retailer. How much time will it take your team to produce large quantities of your product? What kind of lead time does your product need before being ready to hit stores? What kind of stress can your logistics handle? Knowing and having confidence in your logistics before entering stores will help your launch into retail be as smooth as possible.


Bringing a direct-to-consumer brand into a retail environment can be a daunting prospect, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can unlock tremendous potential in a new market and attract a more extensive customer base. Remember to approach the retail environment with an open mind, work closely with your merchant, create attractive displays, investing in marketing, and track your sales data to optimize your strategy continually. Doing this will help guarantee your success and bring your DTC brand to new heights.

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