How to submit product to McLane
As a distribution network, a question that we are often asked is “How can I get McLane to distribute my product?”.
It is very similar to how to submit a product to a major big box retailer.
There are several steps to get McLane to distribute your product,
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 Walmart, Target, Kroger, 7-Eleven and more.
If you envision your product would be a good fit for McLane, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.
Before you read further, you may be asking yourself, “Why should I take advice from Mr. Checkout?” and “Who are you to give me advice on how to distribute my product?”.
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 offers access to our database of distributors, landing page on our website and access to the country’s largest wholesalers. 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 coast to coast grocers, convenient stores and big box retail stores, and are available to help you accomplish your distribution goals. We make it easy:
Here are 6 steps you need to take to have your product distributed by McLane.
1. Start with the right questions) Before you ask McLane to distribute your product, 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 McLane would be interested in representing your product? If you can strike a deal with McLane, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to McLane, or do you want to sell direct to stores?
2. Be prepared to profit.) Does your product offer enough of a profit margin for McLane? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check McLane’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 seek to trip 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 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 McLane is the right distributor or wholesaler for your product.) The relationship between you and McLane starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If McLane already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local McLane 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 McLane.
If your company is minority or women owned, check McLane’s website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Submit your product to McLane.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to McLane. Your presentation depends heavily on your strengths as a businessperson as they will most likely ask financial questions and logistics questions.
5. Complete the required McLane paperwork.) Often McLane will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by McLane, you should contact a buyer at McLane and let them know your intentions. Having a contact on the inside of the company will potentially move your application more smoothly through the process.
6. Anticipate the need for increased volume.) Having McLane agree to wholesale or distribute 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, McLane 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 have McLane distribute your product, 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.
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