Are you ready for retail?
At Mr. Checkout we speak to entrepreneurs and product managers everyday that have the goal of having their products promoted to the retail big box stores. We have an experienced network of product buyers in almost every major big box retailer that gives Mr. Checkout a foot in the door that traditional entrepreneurs can’t get when approaching them.
The numbers speak for themselves. According to the Wall Street Journal “about 10,000 new suppliers applied to become Wal-Mart vendors. Of those, only about 200, or 2%, were ultimately accepted”. Using an experienced product network such as Mr. Checkout, you can rise to the top of any buyers list and give your product a chance to prove itself on the shelf.
How do you know that you are ready for retail? There are a few steps that you should take before approaching a big box retailer to make your company more attractive.
Here are the 5 steps to launch your product into the retail market.
1. Have a history of proven sales.
Big box stores won’t give your product a second look unless you have a proven track record. We were instrumental in launching products like 5 Hour Energy and Blu because we are able to use our Blitz program to prove the product will sell when placed in a retail setting. If you don’t have a proven history of sales, click here to explore using an accelerated technique of getting your product seen in the market.
Make sure you have a diverse base of suppliers. The one thing a big box store looks for is that you will not go bankrupt if they do not place a re-order. Using independent convenience stores and small mom and pop grocery stores is a great way that you can diversify and strengthen your base of retailers.
2. Make sure your product stands out.
When approaching a big box store, it’s important to be different than the other products on the market. If you have a unique color, unique flavor or unique “twist” on a traditional product, they may not be interested. With so many categories of products in a big box superstore, it’s essential for the company to be able to offer new products without stepping on the toes of their existing suppliers. The ideal product for a big box giant would be something different, but will still fit with the product lines that they currently carry.
3. Don’t be a one hit wonder, have a product line.
Often we approach our buyers with a fantastic product that they are crazy about, however they always ask the same question… “What other product lines do they supply?”. Having only one product to offer can make or break a deal with a big box superstore. Setting up a new product supplier takes a lot of time, effort and money on the part of the chain, this is why they look for companies that offer a line of products over just one single item.
4. Be prepared to meet the needs of your retailer.
If you get picked up by a superstore, you must be prepared to meet their deadlines, ship dates and production patterns. It can take a while from the time of first contact until the first order, however it’s vital to show that you have the ability to meet the needs of the retailer from day 1. You as the supplier are expected to make quick decisions, ship quickly and respond immediately.
5. Openly communicate your expectations.
If you want to have your product on the shelves of Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar General or Walgreens, you have to show the buyer that you are able to quickly and clearly communicate. Whether the conversation revolves around your products point of sale display, packaging or pricing, you should be able to respond within 24 hours with a clear answer.
While it’s true that getting your product onto the shelves of a retail superstore can be time consuming and sometimes costly, it can also prove to be extremely rewarding both personally and professionally. Let us know if you have the goal of getting your product by the checkout counter, on the shelf or in the freezer of a big box superstore by filling out our product submit form and we will be happy to review your product and give you our feedback without a cost.