5 Steps To Getting Your Product Into Big Box Retailers
Most likely if you’ve developed a product, one of your goals is to get that product on the shelves of big box retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Best Buy (just to name a few). While this might seem like a daunting challenge, it’s actually easier than you think. Big box retailers are constantly looking for new products so they’re extremely receptive to hearing pitches from qualified vendors. If you want to achieve your goal of getting on the shelves of these types of stores, the following five steps can help you get there.
- Build demand.
Before you try and nudge your way into the big leagues, you first need to build demand for your product. Big retailers want to see that you’ve already been able to generate sales. By doing so, it proves to them that consumers are interested in your product and that there’s money to be made by stocking your product. So, to build demand, start by selling your product to friends, at trade shows, at community events, online and even in smaller retail stores. Social media is a great marketing tool to spread the word and acquire more sales. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are free, easy to use, and reach a large audience instantaneously. If you can utilize your social media accounts effectively and if you have a good product, you’ll increase your sales tremendously. If you are able to build enough demand and generate considerable interest in your product, you might even end up having big box retailers reaching out to you instead of the other way around.
- Know your production capacity.
So you’ve built up a following for your product and made a decent amount of sales, that’s great. But before you continue on, you need to figure out exactly what your production capacity is. The worst thing is to have a buyer interested in your product, but you can’t produce the amount of product they need. If you don’t think you’d be able to keep up with the exponential increase in demand that comes with being in a store like Target, don’t reach out to those buyers just yet. Wait until you believe you’d be able to handle the production and then proceed to step 3.
- Contact buyers.
You’ve built up a demand and you know you can produce the amount of product that big retailers need, so now the next step to take is actually contacting the buyers for the stores you’re interested in. Persistence is key with this step. You have to keep following up with buyers from different stores. It could potentially take months until a buyer will even listen to what you have to say, but persistence beats resistance!
- Prepare for the pitch.
You did it! You’re finally getting time in front of the buyer! This is a big opportunity for you so the most important thing is to make sure you’re extremely prepared for your pitch. First, figure out the best person to deliver the pitch. If no one in your company is up for the task, you can always hire an outside representative, although someone from within the company would most likely know the product better and be more passionate about getting it into stores. Whoever ends up delivering the pitch needs to be extremely prepared. They should know this product inside and out, know the facts and figures to support claims that are made, and be ready for any questions a buyer could have for them. They should also dress appropriately, be friendly, and be enthusiastic about the product. Once you nail a pitch, don’t always expect an immediate answer from a buyer. Give it a few weeks and then follow up if you haven’t heard anything.
- Follow through.
Once you’ve convinced a big box retailer to stock your product, make sure you follow through. This is the most important part of this process. Your shipment should arrive on time with the full amount requested and in good condition. Keep in touch with your buyer on a consistent basis to see how the product is selling and if they’re interested in repurchasing. It’s essential to develop a good relationship and reputation with your buyer. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and if you’re unreliable, hard to work with, or unable to keep your end of the deal, buyers will be sure to let others know and this can throw a huge wrench into the progress of your product.
Getting into a big box retailer is a huge opportunity for your product to gain attention from the masses. This process may be overwhelming at times, but don’t be afraid to take that first step! Work hard, be patient, and remember that persistence beats resistance.