Put Your Product Into Bi-Mart
Founded in 1955, Bi-Mart is an employee-owned chain of retailers located in the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. A typical Bi-Mart houses merchandise including electronics and small appliances, housewares, hardware and power tools, sporting and hunting supplies, apparel, canned and packaged food, personal care products, a drugstore and, at many locations, a pharmacy.
Bi-Mart Corporation owns and operates membership and discount stores. The Company offers pharmacy, automotive, health and beauty, toys, clothing, shoes, food, and office supplies. Bi-Mart serves customers throughout the United States.
Like Costco and Sam’s Club, Bi-Mart stores are membership stores; unlike those chains, its members-only policy started as a workaround to fair trade laws established in the United States in the 1930s such as the Miller-Tydings Act and those related to suggested retail prices. Thus, the membership for an entire family costs $5 and never expires.
Customers are different and they have their peculiarities and these need to be addressed differently. Each customer has to be connected to separately. This means, the supermarkets try to address the needs and interests of individual customers. This is by offering local, international, and metropolitan products. Thus, as a vendor, you should be looking at getting varieties to the retailer.
Bi-Mart places its strong point in the market on three things: price, customer service, and topmost quality. To achieve price, the retailer must get the products at affordable prices from the suppliers. Customer service is with the company. The last part is topmost quality. This is also a point with the supplier. The retailer would sell what the supplier supplies. Thus, to maintain the standard, the products must be of topmost quality. Its food products are inspected to ensure the highest quality for customers.
As a vendor, you need a unique selling point. This is what strikes you different from other vendors. Your offerings are seen differently when you have uniqueness to your market offerings. If you don’t have one at the moment, look at what you offer in products and services and see how you can make it better. It could be a payment service, or the large varieties you present, or the extra-special freshness of what you offer. Just do something differently.
B-Mart has a reputable brand and its retail offerings are quite large. It sells thousands of products and can be a profitable retail outlet. If your products are quite popular in the local market, it will be easy for you to easily pitch to this retailer. You have to bring your product to top quality to help you with the pitch of the product. More, you have to ensure that your products conform to regulatory standards. Quality and price are the two standpoints of this retailer.
How to get your product into Bi-Mart
- Understand you client: Before you spend a lot of time and money creating a product, you should know if anyone will want to buy it. Learn more about Market Research
- Learn if it’s protectable: Know if you can defend your product against cheap copies if it gets knocked off. Learn more about Copyright and Patent your product
- Test your product: Make sure that there’s a demand for your product and the customer understands what you are selling when it’s on the shelf and nobody is there to explain it. Learn more about Product Testing
- Perfect your pitch: Before you speak to decision makers, know your numbers, know your retailer and know your logistics in and out. Learn more about Pitching Your Product
- Don’t do it alone: If you haven’t been successful in retail before, a secret of success is that you can’t do it alone. Having great sales staff, customer support and marketing partners can take you from zero to success faster than if you tried on your own. Learn more about Retail Partnerships
Contact Bi-Mart Buyer
Do not trust any “list” of buyers.
Typically retail buyers change either companies or positions every few years. This strategy helps retailers know that their buyers are not taking “kick-backs” and are selecting the very best product for the very best position each time.
Buyers are typically held to a very rigorous standard of sell-through volume that they must hit and because of this they are risk averse. Your job as a supplier or vendor is to convince them that the buyers going into the stores not only know about what you’re selling but are actively seeking the product in the store currently.
Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Bi-Mart radar.
Call the Bi-Mart corporate phone number and ask for the names of the buyer and assistant buyers in your category.
Always leave voicemail with whomever the dispatch will connect you.
Use that information to connect with them on LinkedIn, RangeMe and any other professional social platform.
Ask your representative at your trade bureau to connect you to the Bi-Mart buyers as they will potentially have a better history.
Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Bi-Mart buyer through 3rd party websites & industry media sources.
Be everywhere that they look, the key is to position your brand as the obvious choice when Bi-Mart is looking to either refill a slot or create a new category.
Latch on to the news of the day and any trend that will make your product fill that niche whether that be Non-GMO or Vegan Leather for example.
Investing in your brand can only benefit your opportunities in the future. As being “top of mind” will have a ripple effect when you physically present your product at a Bi-Mart buyers meeting or trade show in the future.
Bi-Mart buyers typically got to their position by picking “winners” and know how to see through the fluff.
Focus on the numbers, know your bottom dollar during a negotiation and how fees and chargebacks may cut into your position.
Know that long term success may outweigh short term sales, however financing large purchase orders from Bi-Mart when the net result is negative is not sustainable.
Understand the playing field and the other brands that are in your space, what they are offering as promotion and pricing and how you can stand out against them.
By knowing that each buyer at Bi-Mart probably knows more than you do, take an active listening approach to sales and understand that no is a perfectly acceptable answer that may have saved you millions of dollars on the backend.
How to Submit a Product to Bi-Mart
There are several ways to get a product placed in Bi-Mart. 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 Bi-Mart, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.
Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product placed in Bi-Mart.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Bi-Mart, 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 Bi-Mart would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Bi-Mart can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Bi-Mart, or do you want to license your product to a manufacturer that will handle Bi-Mart?
2. Be prepared to profit.) Does your product offer enough of a profit margin for Bi-Mart? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Bi-Mart 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 Bi-Mart 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 Bi-Mart is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Bi-Mart starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Bi-Mart already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Bi-Mart 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 Bi-Mart.
If your company is minority or women owned, check Bi-Mart and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to Bi-Mart) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Bi-Mart. 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 Bi-Mart, 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 Bi-Mart. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Bi-Mart.
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 Bi-Mart 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 Bi-Mart paperwork.) Often Bi-Mart will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Bi-Mart, you should contact a buyer at Bi-Mart 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 Bi-Mart 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, Bi-Mart 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 sell your product to Bi-Mart, 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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