How to submit product to CVS
There are several ways to get a product placed in CVS. However, most entrepreneurs only dream about getting their product distributed to major retailers, few actually do it. We have experienced a significant rise in interest since the show Shark Tank started airing on NBC. Mr. Checkout has had the pleasure of working with a few Shark Tank success stories such as KISStixx and 180 Party Cups which are now currently being distributed around the country to stores like CVS, Target, CVS, 7-Eleven and more.
If you envision your product would be a good fit for CVS, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.
We are a national distribution network of over 1,000 distributors, wagon jobbers and merchandisers that introduce new products into stores every day with our blitz program. We are a membership organization that provides access to our database of distributors, a custom landing page on our website and access to the country’s largest wholesaler network. Since 1989 we have been bringing new products to market and have seen successful placements in nearly every major big box retailer in the country. Over the years we have learned the best ways to place a product in retail stores like CVS, and are available to help you accomplish your distribution goals. We make it easy:
Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product placed in CVS.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to CVS, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. Do you need to build demand for your product, or is there already a demand for it? Do you know that CVS would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with CVS, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to CVS, or do you want to license your product to a manufacturer that will handle distribution?
2. Be prepared to profit.) Does your product offer enough of a profit margin for CVS? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check CVS’s guidelines for other fees that you will have to build into the cost of your product in order for you to be able to turn enough of a profit to make the effort worth your while. If you work with a discount retailer, they will try to strip your profits down to zero in order to keep their prices as low as possible.
The typical breakdown of margins are: If a products costs $1 to produce, that product will retail for $4. That product that retails for $4 will wholesale for $2 to distributors and stores that purchase direct. Big box retailers like CVS may offer to pay $1.25 to the manufacturer if the product costs $1 to produce. That is the typical profit margin.
3. Determine if CVS is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and CVS starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If CVS already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local CVS to see what kind of products they are selling, speak to the manager and see if he thinks your product will sell well in their store. Picture in which zone your product would best fit on the shelf and keep in mind that the most precious asset that these big box stores value are their shelf space. Keep this information in mind when you are preparing your presentation to CVS.
If your company is minority or women owned, check CVS’s website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to CVS.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to CVS. Your presentation depends heavily on your strengths as a businessperson as they will most likely ask financial questions and logistics questions.
It’s common for companies to hire a broker to pitch their product to CVS, as it will be more likely that your product will make it to the next stage if the individual pitching your product has industry knowledge or a personal relationship with CVS. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to CVS.
We at Mr. Checkout have experience dealing with brokers and know that there are several retail brokers that have poor business practices that can potentially damage your brand. If you are seeking a legitimate CVS broker, please give us a call for a recommendation. It could save you a huge headache and a lot of money.
5. Complete the required CVS paperwork.) Often CVS will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by CVS, you should contact a buyer at CVS and let them know your intentions. Having a contact inside of the company will potentially move your application more smoothly through the process.
6. Anticipate the need for increased volume.) Having CVS agree to stock your product will most likely mean a significant increase in volume. You should be prepared to ramp up your production and informing your manufacturer of this opportunity.
Having production, logistics and distribution to sync is not only difficult, it requires a significant amount of time invested in customer relations. Also, CVS may have stipulations in the contract that may penalize you for delays in shipping and production. Have an attorney explain all contracts to you if you don’t understand the terms.
If you’re looking to distribute your product to CVS, be sure to thoroughly assess the marketplace, carefully prepare for production growth, and take full advantage of resources available to help you grow your business.