Partnership for Success


Our favorite type of project is one that we help from start to finish. Our team identifies an opportunity for a client, guides the company through implementation, and celebrates the launch before we analyze results.

This month, we are pleased to highlight a partnership that we created between our partner, Petco, and Canadian Tire. You can read about the collaboration between these well-known retailers here.

Below you will find additional details about our role featured in the Pittsburgh Business Times.

"Pittsburgh startup helps Petco enter Canada"

How to Get Noticed on the Shelf


Congratulations! You have a great product, and you have interest from retailers. In fact, they want to put your product in their stores. Many brands believe “getting on the shelf” is the ultimate goal. They believe securing placement and distribution is the end-game for a product. In actuality, it’s  just the beginning.

If your product is on the shelf and customers don’t notice it – they don’t buy it. If customers don’t buy your product, you’ll be off the shelf in no time and back to where you began – but with one less opportunity. Follow these steps to ensure your product gets noticed and that getting on shelf is only the beginning of your success.

1)  Why buy? What motivates a customer to buy your product? What is the “reason to believe” your product will solve their problem? If you can’t answer the question of why a customer should buy your product in a clear and succinct way - they won’t. The reason for customers to believe in your product – the value proposition – must be easily understood and clearly articulated. Know exactly who your ideal customer is and why they need your product.

2) Tell your story; communicate the message. Once you have identified the value proposition, and you have identified the ideal customer for your product – you need to communicate the solution. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is incredibly relevant in this situation. Your product will be next to many other products, on a crowded shelf, in an unknown retail setting. If you try to communicate your message to the customer through too many words on a package, or a sign, you’ll get lost in the shuffle. Figure out a way to effectively communicate your message and grab your ideal customer’s attention with minimal text and compelling imagery. You’ll have a much better chance of “standing out” from the crowd.

 3) Get prime real-estate. Whether on an end-cap or at eye-height on the shelf, improving the physical positioning of your product in stores will encourage customer interaction. Identify opportunities in the physical store space that will call attention to your product and engage customers. Can you setup in the middle of an aisle? Is there a place near the check-out? Perhaps there’s a front window to the store that can showcase your brand? More “facings” for your product means more opportunity for customers to see, and, hopefully, buy your product. And, don’t forget about cross-merchandising. Can your product be merchandised, along with other complimentary products, in addition to the category listing?

 Follow these suggestions when working with retail partners and you’ll be sure to optimize the placement you have worked so hard to achieve. Remember, getting on the shelf is only half the battle. Your product needs to sell and for that to happen – your product needs to be noticed by customers first.

For more advice on how to strategically place your products in the right retail outlets, or build an impactful Sales Process, contact Castus via email ( or visit our website:

Using Features and Benefits to Bridge the Gap with Customers

Believe it or not, most Salespeople don’t understand the fundamental difference between Features and Benefits , as they relate to the sales process. The good news is that if you grasp the concept, you’ll be able to clearly articulate the value of your product or service to a potential customer. But before we share three keys to leveraging features and benefits, we must ensure you have a solid definition of the terms and can tell the difference between Features and Benefits.

Features are the attributes of a product, program, or service. Features are numerous and will almost always outnumber the benefits. For example, a parachute has many features. It can be lightweight, quick-deploy, high strength, and colorful.

Benefits are the reasons a customer will care or buy. Benefits can be intangible “feelings” and are often connected to a deeper meaning. Continuing the parachute example above, the benefits of the parachute are simple, but important – it will save your life when falling to the ground.

Now that we have established clear definitions, we’ll share three key concepts to keep in mind when focusing on the features of your product and how they benefit the customer.

1)    Resist Your Training. Most salespeople love to talk about features because they have only been taught (or learned) the details of their product.  Features, are easy to remember, and often allow you to physically engage the customer by demonstrating your product or service directly. Finally, features are objective. A new car is either black or blue in color. It either has four-wheel drive or it doesn’t.  As a result, explaining the features of a product is generally a “safe place” for the salesperson. But you must resist your training to simply list a number of features for the customer. Move forward in the process and explain HOW the features are relevant to the customer and WHY they should care.

2)    Why Should They Care? If you cannot articulate why a feature matters to a potential customer, then it doesn’t. And if a feature isn’t relevant then it shouldn’t be part of your sales process. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes for a moment and imagine listening to a long list of product features that don’t matter to you. You would not only refuse to buy the product, but you would be annoyed as well! If you have done your homework ahead of meeting with a potential customer and you clearly understand their need, you should be able to connect specific features to their need and ultimately demonstrate value.

 Photo by  Willie Fineberg  on  Unsplash

3)    Bridge the Gap. All customer problems (needs) are connected to a finite list of universal benefits. These benefits typically relate to money, power, time, prestige, self-understanding, and fear. But the benefits of your product are not always easily interpreted by a potential customer. They need help understanding how the feature(s) of your product will satisfy their need and, in turn, provide some of the universal benefits mentioned above. When “bridging the gap” you should focus on a specific feature, support it with evidence and/or data, and walk the customer directly to the realization of how it will benefit them by addressing the problem they are trying to solve. Make the connection from feature to benefit and you’re more likely to make the sale as well!

Not all customer needs are the same, so you’ll need to spend the appropriate time understanding what needs you are addressing with your product. But by keeping the above concepts in mind, and by following a measured approach you’ll be able to strategically and methodically move through your product features in a way that will resonate with your potential customers. This will, in turn, make your sales process more engaging and less chaotic!

For more advice on how to explain features and benefits to a potential customer, or build an impactful Sales Process, contact Castus via email ( or visit our website: