Independent Store Distribution FAQ
How do you get a c-store distributor’s attention?
Getting the attention of a c-store distributor can be difficult in some instances considering that many convenience stores and the distributors who service them are independently owned. The independent sector is very fragmented which means getting widespread distribution into these c-stores is no easy task. The best way to go about this is; finding a convenience store’s broker or buyer and having them get you in touch with the store’s distributor(s) or by using a service like Mr. Checkout in which you have access to almost 1,000 distributors, many of which service c-stores. If you have a c-store appropriate product, good margins for distributors, and if you approach distributors in the correct manner, you should be able to get your product on shelves in no time.
What’s the typical cost of using a distributor for my products?
The cost of using a distributor for your products comes in the form of markups on products. Distributors typically want 15%-35% margins for products they distribute, so you have to take that into account when pricing your products. Many distributors will cover the cost of shipping the product, but there might be some cases in which you, the supplier, need to cover that cost. The better the margin you can offer distributors, the easier it will be for you to secure contracts with them [ the distributors ].
What margins do convenience stores require on new products?
Retailers typically markup products anywhere from 45% all the way up to 150% depending on the type of store, the type of product, and the region of the store where the product is being sold. Typically, convenience stores work off of a margin more in the high thirties up to around 45%. The better the margins for a retailer makes the product that much more attractive to them.
What is the best way to get a product into convenience stores?
The best way to get your product into a convenience store is either going through a convenience store buyer or broker, or getting in touch with distributors who service convenience stores.
Over 60% of convenience stores are independently owned and are serviced by small distributors known as wagon jobbers or rack jobbers. These small distributors can be very difficult to find, get in contact with and do business with due to the barrier of trust. One way to deal with those obstacles is by getting set up as a supplier in Mr. Checkout’s network. By doing this, you have instant access to almost 1,000 distributors that service over 35,000 stores who have all agreed to hear from suppliers in our network.
What is a Unique Selling Position (USP) and why do you you need it?
A Unique Selling Position is something that all products need in order to get on the shelf at any retailer, whether it’s a convenience store or a big box retailer. A product’s Unique Selling Position, or USP, is what sets the product apart from all the rest of the products already on the shelf. You should have two USPs, one for the retailer and one for the end customer.
For the retailer, your USP communicates to them why he or she should place your product on their shelves, why your product is different from the competition and why a retailer should discontinue using one product and substitute it with yours instead. For the end customer, your USP is what tells them why they should buy your product over the competition. It’s extremely to have a very clear and concise USP so that both retailers and customers understand the value of your product.