183: How to Get Your New Physical Product into Big Retail Chains

183: Getting a New Hardware Product into Retail Stores

July 6, 2023

With Yohan Jacob, CEO of RetailBound

Hosted by Kevin Mako, President of MAKO Design + Invent

183: Getting a New Hardware Product into Retail Stores
183: Getting a New Hardware Product into Retail Stores

Yohan Jacob – Founder and President of RetailBound – leads a prominent agency dedicated to assisting emerging hardware brands in gaining access to major retail stores and sales channels. With a remarkable 14-year history, RetailBound has successfully collaborated with over 4,000 product companies. Yohan himself possesses an extensive background of 30 years in the industry, including noteworthy positions as a key buyer for Sears and Office Max. In our previous episode, we explored the topic of scaling up within retail stores. In this session, Yohan will elucidate the immense sales potential that the retail industry holds for inventors, startups, and small manufacturers in 2023. He will uncover some strategies for overcoming objections to pursuing the retail store route and offer valuable insights on establishing a fruitful relationship with a retail store chain in a prudent manner.

Today you will hear us talk about:

  • Retail stores are far from obsolete.
  • Retail stores have improved their omnichannel capabilities, allowing them to sell both online and in their physical stores.
  • There are numerous benefits to selling an invention through retail stores.
  • Utilize your product’s presence in retail stores to enhance its value online and among various stakeholders in your product and business.
  • Consider selling to distributors who can then distribute your product to retailers.
  • Develop a fundamental marketing plan.
  • Begin with a modest approach when entering the retail market, and then expand gradually.
  • Focus on profitability.
  • Capitalize on online sales to drive higher product sales.
  • Avoid unnecessary complexity and fear.


  • 3:30 – Retail is not dead
  • 4:00 – Many retail stores are still being built, especially worldwide.
  • 4:15 – Retail store omnichannel approach, selling both online and in stores and cross-pollinating those platforms.
  • 4:30 – Getting into a retail store gives you a lot of legitimacy to your brand and product.
  • 5:00 – Give your customers more options of ways to buy your product.
  • 5:30 – Equity valuation of your hardware product business increases significantly with retail sales.
  • 6:00 – Retail stores are getting more and more creative about how to integrate online and in-store value for getting new buyers to new products.
  • 8:00 – Look at a retail store and envision where your product could sit to attract those walk-by shoppers.
  • 8:30 – Retail stores give new brands that are unknown to catch the attention of relevant buyers.
  • 8:45 – Seeing and touching a new product, especially a well-designed and high-quality product, as someone can validate the product sitting in their hands quickly.
  • 9:00 – The market basket theory and the Costco treasure hunt.
  • 11:00 – Getting in-store is a great way to stand out from competitors or other buying options.
  • 11:10 – Leveraging in-store products can be powerful for your online media.
  • 12:00 – Selling through retailers is still very profitable for both the manufacturer and the retail store.
  • 12:30 – In the beginning, you make fewer margins with retailers, but over time, that grows into substantial potential long-term profits as you scale.
  • 13:30 – Initial orders at retailers are just for market fit testing.
  • 14:15 – The bigger you grow in manufacturing, the better the quality and the lower the cost of your product.
  • 15:15 – How do you get a new hardware product into retail stores?
  • 15:30 – Show at least a small round of sales, even if it’s just a crowdfunding campaign or something like that.
  • 16:00 – Marketing plan, sales support, supply chain, and product quality.
  • 16:15 – Get into online retail marketplaces first, then work your way into the stores.
  • 17:00 – It’s really easy for a new hardware brand to offer phenomenal customer service.
  • 17:30 – Start small, and work your way up.
  • 17:45 – Ensure you have a world-class product, and the supporting supply chain professionally developed so that it is clear you are ready to scale.
  • 18:30 – It is comforting for hardware founders as you don’t need a huge team, just build a great product, supply chain, and support infrastructure.
  • 20:15 – At the end of the day, the true value and innovation are in the product itself.

Yohan Jacob Links:

LinkedIn | RetailBound

The Product Startup Podcast Links:
Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube

PTC Links:
OnShape | Creo

Mako Design Links:
YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Kevin Mako Links:
Instagram | LinkedIn | Quora | Facebook | Twitter

Partner: PTC’s best-in-class software solutions Onshape: The only cloud-native product development platform that delivers full-featured computer-aided design (CAD), integrated product data management (PDM) and enterprise analytics in a single system, and Creo: 3D CAD solution that provides designers with the most innovative tools to build better products faster, such as generative design, additive manufacturing, real-time simulation, IIoT, and augmented reality.