WeStock’s Cameron McCarthy Talks All Things Omnichannel Retail

Dive deep into the challenges first-time retailers face (with solutions) and the must-know strategies for scaling.

Before omnichannel retail came about, Cameron McCarthy, co-founder and CEO at WeStock, went door-to-door selling chocolates to independent retailers. As a result of that experience, he learned how to overcome the big challenges in retail and accelerate business growth.

In this episode, Cameron and Cogsy CEO Adii Pienaar double down on today’s best practices for operating multichannel. Plus: 

  • Specific challenges first-time retailers face
  • Why retail is a day-one problem that empowers brands to scale 
  • The differences between selling to independent retailers versus nationwide chains

Tune in on: Apple | Google | Spotify

“If you're not testing how your product does in retail from day one, it's gonna be really hard for you to go into retail down the line. You need to understand what resonates, what doesn't. Do demos work for you? Do promotions work for you? What's your sales pitch in the store? I would just test and iterate on that day one because you really wanna put together that retail plan that you can take to other regions and expand nationally.”
Cameron McCarthy, co-founder & CEO at WeStock

Meet Cameron McCarthy

Cameron McCarthy is the co-founder & CEO of WeStock. He was previously the sales director for Delighted By Hummus. After expanding the brand to over 7,000 retail locations (including Target, Costco, and Walmart), he identified the crucial pain points in the retail industry.  

His passion for retail and years of experience have made him an industry leader. You’ll often find him connecting with consumers, retailers, and brands through his weekly podcast — Honest Retail.

Connect with Cameron on: LinkedIn  | Twitter

About WeStock

WeStock is the first crowd-stocking platform that enables brands to better understand and engage their customers. It has helped brands capture feedback, better understand customer buying habits, and open thousands of retail doors.

WeStock takes pride in its consumer-first approach to empowering subscribers, developing mutual relationships, and cultivating brand affinity.

Learn more about WeStock on: Linkedin | Website

The Checkout episode 51 unpacks:

In today’s episode, Adii Pienaar and Cameron McCarthy discuss current and upcoming multichannel trends in retail, including harnessing the power of qualitative feedback to accelerate growth. Here are the highlights:


What retail means to future-forward brands

  • Retail can be interchangeable with commerce but now it’s on a crash course to just being called omnichannel
  • “Moving forward, it’s more of an omnichannel presence and figuring out how to blend your DTC strategies with your retail strategies. And I think that those are gonna be the brands and companies that kind of win in the future.”

Retail as a volume channel

  • Brands today can acquire customers online and drive those new customers to shop offline, or where their higher margins are
  • “Build out your audience online and then drive them in-store.”

Testing and iterating since day one

  • Before starting WeStock, Cameron worked for a small chocolate brand and learned that if you’re not testing how your product does in retail from day one, it’s gonna be really hard to scale down the line
  • You need to understand what resonates and what doesn’t: Do demos work for you? Do promotions work for you? What’s your sales pitch in the store?
  • “So, I would like test and iterate on that day one, cause you really wanna put together that retail plan that you can take to other regions and expand nationally.”

Using the right tools to capture qualitative feedback

  • Most people make too many assumptions in this business without taking the time to look at the data early on
  • Now you can use tools to understand how your customers are approaching your brand, how they view it, where they shop and what strategies make sense
  • “I get that you think your story is super special, but that personal story is only gonna take you so far. Brands need to capture data from day one and use a tool that’s not gonna allow their bias to seep in.”

Independent vs. national retail channels?

  • If you’re a small brand without funding or a distributor, go the independent route. If you’re a bigger brand, you can get into national distribution much faster
  • Some brands shun big retailers like Target or Walmart and grow their specialty channels first, but that’s not necessarily the way consumers shop now
  • “You don’t want to assume that your shoppers are somewhere because the answer’s probably that they’re at multiple locations.”

Challenges when selling to retail for the first time

  • Entering into retail stores can take a 9-12 month buying cycle from category review schedules to hunting the right contact directly and having them try your product
  • Getting a “no” from a retailer probably means a “no” for a full year and you’re gonna have to come back and pitch them again
  • “There’s a saying that it’s really easy to get on the shelf, meaning to open up a new store. It’s really hard to get off the shelf, which means like have consumers go and buy your product.”

Data transparency is the worst part of retail

  • “There’s a lot of gatekeepers on the retail side of things, and you don’t have the same access to data that you do on the direct to consumer side of things. It’s really the worst part of the industry.”
  • While brands are subscribing to different data sources, they aren’t using it to their advantage

Why it’s important to prioritize inventory with retail partners

  • Retail partners are less forgiving than consumers. If you fail to ship an order, they have to find other products to fill the shelf space, and the likelihood that you’re gonna get that shelf space back is low
  • “I’m gonna always lean towards supporting those B2B relationships because they’re just gonna be a lot less forgiving.”

The big thesis in retail

  • Physical stores are going to be more focused on product discovery and then customers will support their brands through subscriptions online whenever possible
  • Towards the tail end of next year expect to see a clear pathway forward where new brands are going omnichannel from day one
  • “I think my big thesis on retail is it’s gonna be like a lot smaller store formats moving forward.”