How to get your product into Dick’s Sporting Goods
- 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 Dick’s Sporting Goods
Founded in 1948, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. is an American sporting goods retail company, based in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. The company was established by Richard “Dick” Stack in 1948, and has approximately 850 stores and 30,000 employees, as of 2018. Dick’s is the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer, and is listed on the Fortune 500.
Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. is an omni-channel sporting goods retailer offering an assortment of sports equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories in its specialty retail stores primarily in the eastern United States. The Company also owns and operates Golf Galaxy, Field & Stream and other specialty concept stores, and Dick’s Team Sports HQ, an all-in-one youth sports digital platform offering free league management services, mobile applications for scheduling, communications and live scorekeeping, custom uniforms and FanWear and access to donations and sponsorships. The Company offers its products through a content-rich e-commerce platform that is integrated with its store network and provides customers with the convenience and expertise of a 24-hour storefront. It offers products to its customers through its retail stores and online. The Company offers hardlines, which include items, such as sporting goods equipment, fitness equipment, golf equipment, and hunting and fishing gear.
Dick’s is the largest sporting goods retail company in the United States, with approximately 850 stores, as of 2018. The public company is based in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, outside Pittsburgh, and has approximately 30,300 employees, as of January 2018. The company’s subsidiaries include Field & Stream and Golf Galaxy, and previously, Chelsea Collective and True Runner. In 2017, there were 690 Dick’s stores, close to 100 Golf Galaxy locations, and approximately 30 Field & Stream stores.
For a distributor, this is a well known sport goods retailer that can get your products to move as fast as possible. With the awesome varieties they offer and the established customer base, it can be easily deduced that there are customers already dedicated to what they sell. However, this is a big retailer and there is a high standard for the products they take and thus, procurement for the company may be centralized and pitching may need to go beyond the usual RangeMe platform method. You can create a buzz in the local market by offering awesome products and ensuring that you are known for every move you make in the market.
Being a vendor may require some form of distinctiveness from other suppliers. Look at your products and see what you are offering differently. If not different, go back to the drawing board and see how you can rebrand or bring out a distinction. This will give you a unique selling point as a seller and would help in setting your items apart.
The Dick’s Sporting Goods Supplier Process
Contact Dick’s 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.
Contact Dick’s Buyer
Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Dick’s radar.
Call the Dick’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 Dick’s buyers as they will potentially have a better history.
Get On Dick’s Radar
Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Dick’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 Dick’s 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 Dick’s buyers meeting or trade show in the future.
Use Hard Facts
Dick’s 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 Dick’s 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 Dick’s 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 Dick’s Sporting Goods
There are several ways to get a product placed in Dick’s. 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 Dick’s, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.
How to Get Your Product into Dick’s Sporting Goods
Sporting good brands across the country know how valuable shelf space in Dick’s Sporting Goods can be, which is why so many brands have their eye on this prized retailer. Unfortunately, not every brand will make the cut. To get your product into Dick’s Sporting Goods, follow these tips:
Make sure you’re ready for increased volume.
If you want to expand into new markets or retailers to make more money, you have to make sure that the rest of your business can handle the increased demand. You only get one shot to make a good impression with a retailer like Dick’s Sporting Goods, so if you do land a deal with them and then realize you can’t follow through with fulfilling the order, you probably won’t get another chance.
Do your research.
Once you’ve determined that your business is capable of handling an increase in orders, it’s time to figure out how your product fits in at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Visit stores in the area and get to know the layout of the store. Where will your product fit in? Why does Dick’s need to sell your product—is there a need that isn’t being met by the current inventory? Get to know everything about the store so you can make a compelling argument that shows Dick’s buyers why they need your product.
Contact the buyer.
Now that you know why your product belongs in Dick’s, it’s time to start reaching out to buyers or category managers. Buyers receive countless calls from brands that have the same goal as you, so it can be difficult to get in touch with someone. At the very least, try to talk to anyone in the buyer’s office to find out when and how often Dick’s reviews new products. This will help you determine when the best time is to send samples of your product to buyers.
Plan a thorough presentation.
Make sure you are preparing for every possible question that a buyer could throw your way during a presentation. Some items that need to be included are a product brochure, a list of retailers that currently sell your products, proof of potential for large sales volume, your marketing and promotion plan, your own personal history in business and of course, a sample of your product and its packaging.
Partner with Mr. Checkout Distributors.
It can be tough to get a successful retailer like Dick’s Sporting Goods to take notice of your product without the right connection. Luckily, distributors with Mr. Checkout Distributors have years of experience working with big retailers around the country. Mr. Checkout Distributors is always on the lookout for new products with good margins that are ready to launch in retailers. The network of wagon jobbers and direct store distributors will take accepted products directly to stores to get them into the market as soon as possible. When you work with distributors, you don’t have to spend time knocking down the door of Dick’s Sporting Goods, so you can focus your attention on other parts of the business.
Want to launch your new product in Dick’s Sporting Goods? Contact Mr. Checkout Distributors to talk to a team of experienced and knowledgeable distributors that service over 35,000 stores across the country.