What are some successful tactics when selling consumer products in the US?

Goro Kosaka / September, 2018


Vufine was founded by Goro Kosaka to create a simple wearable display that utilized the functionality of current technology. Goro is well versed in both the wearable market and myriad challenges facing a Silicon Valley hardware start­up. In this video, Goro shares his experience in selling his product online as well as getting into retail chains like Fry’s Electronics.

Video Transcript:

What are some successful tactics when selling consumer products in the US?

So yes, it’s tricky and we are still struggling. It’s been changing a lot. It’s one of the things I see a very different approach in the consumer market in Japan and in the US. Today, people are shifting more and more towards buying online and buying from Amazon. Some people say if you cover Amazon. You cover like 40% to 60% of your potential sales channel. It used to be your own e-commerce, you have Amazon, and then ten other Amazon like online stores who want to sell your product.

Now, we do all of our shopping on Amazon. Being on Amazon with good reviews and stars is the key to online sales. Since our product is a hardware product, some people like to touch and feel before they place their order on Amazon. Now, unlike 10 years ago, there are so limited places where you can put your product. Basically, there’s like only one electronics retail store nationwide which is Best Buy. Best Buy has like 1000 stores in the US and Canada and all the other computer and gadgets stores are gone. You want to be getting into Best Buy or something like Best Buy but now they are the last one standing it’s much harder to get into. They know that we want to have a touch point. They know that we want to have a retail presence.

So instead of trying to make money from people coming to Best Buy to make a purchase they try to make money from us to be on a good shelf to be on their marketing campaign. It cost and it’s risky. Sometimes you have to fulfill all 1000 stores on your own risk and they only pay you for the products they have sold which has a very long payment time. It’s hard for small startups like us, but the good thing is you can focus on Best Buy for retail and Amazon for online and you don’t have to worry about the small players. If you do this two and if you have your own online store that covers 75 to 80 potential sales channels, so you don’t have to worry about getting reps and distributors to go into small stores. That’s good but, but it’s hard to get into those three.

When we shop on Amazon, we search for a product and we also look at recommendations. When you see the products, you compare by reading the reviews, see how many stars. Getting a good review is very important. We all know Amazon try to make sure there are no fake reviews. You can’t just go and pay somebody to give you five stars. They have algorithms to detect fake reviews and they give reviews to reviewers which review which one is more trustworthy and stuff.

Basically, what you can do is to make sure customers are happy with your product. You can’t control reviews. One thing you can do is if somebody is unhappy try to follow up and solve the problem they are having. They may give you good stars for good support. This is funny I’m not sure if it’s official but other retailers also use Amazon stars as a reference. I was told that if I want to be on the shelf on Best Buy I have to have like at least 3.5 stars or something. I understand that people do look on Amazon to make their purchase decision.



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