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How to sell tech to retailers post NRF 2020

Just back from New York where I got another reminder, not that one was needed, that selling to retailers is not easy, and it will only get harder. There are many reasons, but here are the two most important. Understand those and you can work around them. 

  1. There are too many vendors chasing too little business, so there is more tech and more vendors than time and budget can support. What this means is that retailers cannot afford much of what is on offer, and the sheer number of suppliers makes it hard for them to make a decision. Who do I trust? Will they actually be able to build it and will they be able to make it work? Will the implementation break me and my business?
  2. Some vendors are holding the market back. Retailers constantly get the blame for not adopting the tech that will help deliver their future, or even their survival, but often, it is the dinosaurs of tech that are to blame. They defend their territory, as you’d expect them to, and keep innovation out, or they pay lip service by working with innovators, but hardly ever enable them to deliver a solution because the culture clash is too strong.

Technology is transformative but not without a partnership approach. Sometimes the dinosaurs and dynamos collaborate to build and deliver solutions, and this is most certainly the blueprint for retail tech in the future. No one can work in isolation, other than at the tactical, point solution level.

So here are 5 ways I believe tech vendors can work smarter to get chosen by retailers.

  1. Rework your message to the market. Is it clear, simple, compelling and likely to lead the reader to take the next step? Is it even clear what you do at all, because NRF EXPO stands are often a lesson in opacity?
  2. Describe a problem you know your target prospects are having, show them how you fix it, and what value that will give them. That involves a lot of work to get right but this is the foundation on which account-based marketing must be built.
  3. Look hard at all your partnerships. You are quite likely to be dissipating your energies across too many companies and also having what might seem like positive conversations with all sorts of companies that are as desperate as you. Stop it.
  4. Rinse and repeat. With attention spans at an all-time low, it makes more sense to keep repeating yourself rather than constantly looking for something new to say, because each new message may be received for the very first time.
  5. Build a profile for your chosen spokesperson. NRF is where people go to buy from people, a reminder that we cannot hide behind our digital walls the rest of the year. All companies have dynamic and attractive personalities that can sell you in the best possible light. Give them the words and the channel space to grow you.

At Fieldworks we specialise in helping retail tech brands build visibility and reach prospects with our award-winning digital marketing and PR.

To find out more about our ABM services visit:


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