How to get your product into BJ’s Wholesale
- 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
Put Your Product Into Bj’s Wholesale
Founded in 1984, BJ Wholesale is an American membership-only warehouse club chain operating on the East Coast of the United States and the state of Ohio.
As of 2018, BJ’s operates 216 BJ’s clubs in 16 states and employed approximately 25,000 team members (both full- and part-time). Clubs are found in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Ohio with the 217th store currently being built in Chicago, IL. Its major competitors are Costco Wholesale and Walmart’s version of a warehouse club concept, Sam’s Club.
BJ’s offers a variety of special benefits to its members. These include “member pricing”, a variety of name-brand products at discount wholesale prices, acceptance of all valid manufacturers’ coupons, and acceptance of many forms of payment (cash, check, ATM/debit cards, all major credit cards, and EBT SNAP benefits).
On its supply chain, the company has its vendors’ compliance information at https://www.bjs.com/biz/about_conduct/images/Code_of_Conduct.pdf
The above is a link to a document. Questions or concerns about this document may be sent by email to email@example.com
The Company provides a one-stop shopping destination filled with brands, including its exclusive Wellsley Farms and Berkley Jensen brands, along with USDA Choice meats, and delicious organics, many in supermarket sizes. The Company offers two base types of memberships Inner Circle memberships and business memberships. The Company also offers its co-branded My BJ’s Perks, and Mastercard program. The Company’s products are sold under Wellsley Farms and Berkley Jensen brands.
The Company’s merchandise includes perishables, edible grocery, general merchandise and non-edible grocery categories. Perishable consists of meat, produce, dairy, bakery, deli and frozen products. Edible grocery, which consists of packaged foods including breakfast foods, salty snacks and candy) and beverages, including juices, water, beer, wine and liquor. Non-edible grocery consists of detergents, disinfectants, paper products, beauty care, adult and baby care and pet foods. General merchandise consists of small appliance, lighting, television, electronics, imaging and apparel.
Many of BJ’s clubs offer special services to members, such as car rentals, gas stations, home heating oil, an optical department, propane filling, and vacation packages. These services vary from location to location. As of 2008, there were 154 clubs with optical departments. As of 2010 BJ’s operated 104 gasoline stations at their clubs. In February 2007, BJ’s closed all pharmacies in its clubs.
BJ’s Wholesale Club locations frequently stock different varieties of products at different locations. However, all clubs carry the items listed in the coupon book that is published on a monthly basis. However, at certain times, it is not uncommon for a certain club not to carry a new item immediately due to its higher demand.
This wholesale club has been able to offer wide varieties in household and grocery needs to its members. As much as it caters to non-members too, it places a premium on its membership. Being a member is very simple as it can be done at the checkout.
Contact BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale’s radar.
Call the BJ’s Wholesale’s 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 BJ’s Wholesale buyers as they will potentially have a better history.
Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to BJ’s Wholesale’s 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 BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale buyers meeting or trade show in the future.
BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale
There are several ways to get a product placed in BJ’s Wholesale. 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 BJ’s Wholesale, 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 BJ’s Wholesale.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to BJ’s Wholesale, 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 BJ’s Wholesale would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with BJ’s Wholesale, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to BJ’s Wholesale, 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 BJ’s Wholesale? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check BJ’s Wholesale’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 BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and BJ’s Wholesale starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If BJ’s Wholesale already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale.
If your company is minority or women owned, check BJ’s Wholesale’s website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to BJ’s Wholesale.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to BJ’s Wholesale. 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 BJ’s Wholesale, 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 BJ’s Wholesale. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to BJ’s Wholesale.
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 BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale paperwork.) Often BJ’s Wholesale will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by BJ’s Wholesale, you should contact a buyer at BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale 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, BJ’s Wholesale 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 BJ’s Wholesale, 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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