How to Get Product into Kroger
Krоgеr’ѕ іѕ a mаѕѕіvе соmраnу. They have convenient ѕtоrеѕ, jewelry ѕtоrеѕ, dераrtmеnt ѕtоrеѕ. Thеу have thousands оf dіffеrеnt stores and all of these dіffеrеnt brands undеr Krоgеr. Thеrе саn аlѕо bе mаѕѕіvе орроrtunіtіеѕ for you tо ѕеll into Kroger’s.
If уоu hаvе a рrоduсt thаt’ѕ perfect fоr a supermarket lіkе Krоgеr’ѕ, there аrе lоtѕ of ways to make money wіth Krоgеr bесаuѕе they buy іn volume. One wау you саn dо іt is take уоur brаndеd рrоduсt, the product that уоu made іn уоur оwn расkаgіng, rеасh оut to thеm and trу tо gеt уоur рrоduсt іntо Krоgеr ѕtоrеѕ as you оwn thе product аѕ your own brand.
Hеrе аrе the 5 steps уоu nееd tо tаkе tо hаvе уоur рrоduсt рlасеd іn Krоgеr.
- Start with the right questions. Before уоu trу distributing уоur рrоduсt to Krоgеr, уоu nееd tо ask yourself a few bаѕіс questions. Dо you nееd tо buіld dеmаnd fоr уоur рrоduсt, оr іѕ thеrе already a dеmаnd for it? Do уоu knоw thаt Krоgеr wоuld bе іntеrеѕtеd in ѕеllіng уоur рrоduсt? If уоu can ѕtrіkе a dеаl wіth Krоgеr, can уоu handle thе рrоduсtіоn volume? Do уоu wаnt tо ѕеll directly to Kroger, оr dо уоu wаnt tо license уоur рrоduсt tо a mаnufасturеr thаt will handle dіѕtrіbutіоn?
- Bе рrераrеd tо рrоfіt. Does уоur рrоduсt offer еnоugh оf a рrоfіt mаrgіn for Krоgеr? Can уоu ѕеll your рrоduсt аt a rеаѕоnаblе еnоugh profit tо соvеr thе packaging, ѕhірріng, соmmіѕѕіоnѕ, marketing аnd whоlеѕаlе distribution? Check Kroger’s guіdеlіnеѕ for other fееѕ thаt уоu wіll have tо buіld іntо thе соѕt оf уоur рrоduсt іn оrdеr fоr you to be able tо turn enough оf a рrоfіt tо make the еffоrt worth your while. If you wоrk wіth a discount rеtаіlеr, they wіll try to ѕtrір your рrоfіtѕ down tо zеrо іn оrdеr tо kеер their рrісеѕ as low аѕ роѕѕіblе.
Thе tурісаl brеаkdоwn оf mаrgіnѕ аrе: If a рrоduсtѕ соѕtѕ $1 tо рrоduсе, thаt рrоduсt wіll rеtаіl fоr $4. Thаt рrоduсt that rеtаіlѕ fоr $4 wіll wholesale fоr $2 tо distributors аnd ѕtоrеѕ thаt рurсhаѕе dіrесt. Bіg bоx retailers like Krоgеr may оffеr tо рау $1.25 tо thе mаnufасturеr if thе рrоduсt соѕtѕ $1 tо рrоduсе. Thаt is thе typical рrоfіt margin.
- Determine if Krоgеr is thе rіght ѕtоrе fоr уоur рrоduсt. Thе rеlаtіоnѕhір bеtwееn уоu аnd Krоgеr ѕtаrtѕ with уоu brоwѕіng their ѕtоrе fоr соmреtіng рrоduсtѕ. If Krоgеr аlrеаdу has a ѕіmіlаr рrоduсt, іt іѕ going tо bе vеrу dіffісult tо gеt уоur product рісkеd uр. Spend ѕоmе tіmе аt уоur lосаl Krоgеr tо ѕее whаt kіnd оf products they аrе ѕеllіng, speak tо the manager and ѕее іf hе thіnkѕ уоur рrоduсt wіll ѕеll well in thеіr ѕtоrе. Pісturе іn whісh zone уоur product wоuld bеѕt fіt on the shelf and kеер in mind thаt the mоѕt precious asset that thеѕе bіg box stores vаluе аrе thеіr shelf space. Kеер thіѕ information in mіnd whеn уоu аrе рrераrіng your presentation to Krоgеr.
If your company is mіnоrіtу оr wоmеn оwnеd, check Kroger’s wеbѕіtе аnd see іf thеу offer specific opportunities fоr those designations.
- Pіtсh your product tо Krоgеr.) Dесіdе whеthеr іt wіll bе you or a rерrеѕеntаtіvе tо present your рrоduсt to Krоgеr. Yоur рrеѕеntаtіоn dереndѕ heavily оn уоur strengths as a businessperson аѕ thеу will mоѕt likely аѕk fіnаnсіаl questions аnd logistics ԛuеѕtіоnѕ.
It’s соmmоn fоr соmраnіеѕ tо hіrе a brоkеr tо ріtсh thеіr product tо Kroger, аѕ іt wіll bе more lіkеlу thаt уоur рrоduсt wіll make іt to the nеxt ѕtаgе іf thе іndіvіduаl ріtсhіng уоur product hаѕ industry knоwlеdgе or a personal relationship wіth Krоgеr. Thе реrсеntаgе of commission vеrѕеѕ, hоwеvеr gеnеrаllу a broker wіll take around 5% tо rерrеѕеnt your рrоduсt to Krоgеr.
Wе аt Mr. Checkout hаvе experience dеаlіng with brоkеrѕ аnd know that there аrе ѕеvеrаl rеtаіl brоkеrѕ that hаvе poor business рrасtісеѕ that can роtеntіаllу damage уоur brаnd. If уоu аrе ѕееkіng a legitimate Kroger brоkеr, please gіvе uѕ a саll for a rесоmmеndаtіоn. It соuld ѕаvе you a huge hеаdасhе аnd a lоt оf money.
- Cоmрlеtе the rеԛuіrеd Krоgеr рареrwоrk.) Oftеn Krоgеr will hаvе you go thrоugh an application process. However, bеfоrе submitting the рареrwоrk required bу Krоgеr, уоu should contact a buуеr аt Kroger аnd lеt thеm knоw уоur intentions. Hаvіng a соntасt inside оf thе company wіll potentially mоvе your аррlісаtіоn mоrе ѕmооthlу through thе process.
Hаvіng production, lоgіѕtісѕ and dіѕtrіbutіоn tо ѕуnс іѕ nоt only dіffісult, іt requires a ѕіgnіfісаnt аmоunt оf tіmе invested іn сuѕtоmеr rеlаtіоnѕ. Alѕо, Krоgеr mау hаvе ѕtірulаtіоnѕ in thе contract thаt mау реnаlіzе you fоr delays іn ѕhірріng аnd production. Have an аttоrnеу explain all соntrасtѕ tо you іf уоu don’t undеrѕtаnd the tеrmѕ.
If you’re looking tо distribute уоur рrоduсt tо Kroger, bе ѕurе tо thоrоughlу аѕѕеѕѕ the mаrkеtрlасе, саrеfullу prepare for production grоwth, аnd tаkе full advantage оf rеѕоurсеѕ аvаіlаblе tо hеlр уоu grоw уоur business.
Work with a distributor.
Whether you’re just starting out or have already established yourself in the industry, working with the distributors at Mr. Checkout Distributors is a wise decision. If your product has strong margins and is ready for retail, it could be sent directly to wagon jobbers and direct store distributors to bring to retailers right away. These distributors already have relationships built with retailers such as Kroger, so they don’t have to jump through the same hoops you do to get a meeting with a buyer. Working with these distributors allows you to save time and energy on securing distribution, so you can focus on other areas of the business.
Want to launch your new product in Kroger? Contact Mr. Checkout Distributors to talk to a team of experienced and knowledgeable distributors that service over 35,000 stores across the country.
Become A Kroger Supplier
To begin as a supplier for Kroger you’ll have to submit your information like you Company name, EIN, and contact information to the pre-registration portal. If its approved further information will be sent to your email.
*If you don’t have an EIN number you can contact the IRS to obtain an EIN number.
After being selected all suppliers have to use Supplier Hub: Kroger’s centralized vendor management system. You will have received login information to be able to access Supplier Hub through your email after approval.
Must Have Information
Your D-U-N-S Number
You will be required to have and provide your DUNS Number (Dun and Bradstreet number). You also have to provide the DUNS number for all of the supplying facilities that provide the products, ingredients, and packing for Kroger.
Required Documents and Certifications
- SVA (2017 version or later)
- Certificate of Insurance:
Other things you may have to provide:
- HACCP, GFSI, etc.
- Direct Ship to Home Addendum
- Fred Meyer Addendum
- Social Compliance Audit
Manufacturing: Manufacturing Page
General: General Merchandise Page
Retail and Apparel
Health and Beauty Care
- Amendment to SVA Diamond Testing (Completed by vendors that sell diamonds)
- FMJ VFIDS Addendum
- VFIDS Term Sheet
- New VFIDS Vendor Profile
- Conflict Minerals
Preparing To Present Your Product
Not All Brands Belong In All Stores
- When deciding the region you want to work with in Kroger, keep in mind whether or not you want to expand into other regions. Some products work better in certain states or sections of states than others. It would be in your best interest to, while pitching your product, have an in depth conversation with your buyer on best serving the region you desire to put your products into.
Making an Attractive Brand
- Your brand much clearly and concisely communicate to the consumer what the product is and its purpose. If the consumer can not easily interpret that information then the buyer wouldn’t be able to either. Buyers are concerned with products that fit the region they serve.
- Your brand messaging much also be clearly communicated through your packaging design and function.
- Brand loyalty counts for a lot when showing big box retailers your past sales records or how well you’ve been able to sell in other destinations. Buyers will take this into account when deciding whether or not your product will/should pass.
Easy and Safe Packaging
- Aesthetics do matter in making your packaging more attractive to retailers, but one of the fundamentals that must be taken into account with your packaging is whether or not it is easy to work with and safe to the consumer.
- Be careful to make sure that if you have a product that make shift or move around within its container that the packaging is durable enough to not only hold the product but be durable while being put in carts or moved around after consumers have purchased the product.
Safety and Testing
- Keeping your products safe during shipping and while on the shelf should be a high priority.
- All products moving through Costco are required to pass through safety inspections. There are different safety requirements for consumable and inconsumable products. Your buyer will be able to supply you with this information.
- Not many vendors realize that for most big box retailers, the manufacturers building or creating your products for sale must also follow much of the same rules and regulations that your own company is expected to follow. So make sure your manufacturer is regulated, ethical, and functions within the proper rules and laws of your country.
General Merchandise Compliances
Regulatory Compliance and Quality Assurance
Kroger has its own regulatory compliances and quality assurance requirements for general merchandise. General merchandise products are required to meet all U.S Federal/State rules, regulations, bans, and standards as well as Krogers standards for quality, safety, and performance. Suppliers must fulfill regulatory responsibility and establish their own initiatives to adhere to Kroger’s requirements. Suppliers must have their own workers to manage product safety, compliance, quality and to facilitate the product’s progress through Kroger’s compliance and quality assurance program.
General Merchandise Testing
- General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) & Kroger General Certificate of Conformity (KGCC)
- Law Labels & Manufacturer Registration for Stuffed Articles
- Chemical Reporting Requirements
- Conflict Minerals Policy
- Product Inspections
- Kroger Resources
Accountability and Requirements
Supply Chain Sourcing and Accountability
Kroger maintains very strict sourcing commitments and requirements in order to minimize any possible negative impacts and increase positive impacts within the supply chain. Suppliers are being held accountable for meeting their standards and improving the traceability of the brands Kroger works with.
They monitor the supply chain to make sure that practices are aligned their specific environmental and social certifications.
- Sourcing Framework: Outlines major policies and commitments.
- Kroger as a full Sustainability Report where you can check out there Supply Chain Accountability section.
Social Compliance Auditing
Social Compliance Audits are conducted to ensure that suppliers are aligned with Krogers Vendor Code of Conduct. The Vendor Code of Conduct informs suppliers that the facilities they own and/or operate are also subject to Social Compliance Audits.
Kroger requires social compliance audits for all of the brands they work with.
Krogers Supplier Hub is a centralized management system which ensures that all vendors they’re working with are identifiable, accessible, and regularly accessed for compliance.
Animal Welfare Audit Requirements
Audits are conducted to make sure that their acceptable animal welfare standards are being implemented. All beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and egg suppliers must provide evidence of their annual animal welfare audit.
Testing, Monitoring, and Reporting
Suppliers must align with regulatory standards regarding product safety, quality, and performance requirements. This is a must for all products that Kroger works with.
Kroger also has a General Merchandise Regulatory Compliance and Quality Assurance program that outlines product testing protocols and requirements, labeling requirements, and chemical reporting requirements.
Required forms for your Kroger Manufacturing representative
- Standard vendor agreement
- New vendor setup forms
- Blank invoice w/remit address
- Continuing guarantee
- Color additive guarantee
- Confidential mutual disclosure agreement
Policies and Information
What’s Selling At Kroger?
How to get your product into Kroger
- 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 Kroger 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 Kroger Buyer
Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Kroger radar.
Call the Kroger 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 Kroger buyers as they will potentially have a better history.
Get On Kroger Radar
Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Kroger 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 Kroger 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 Kroger buyers meeting or trade show in the future.
Use Hard Facts
Kroger 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 Kroger 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 Kroger 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 Kroger
There are several ways to get a product placed in Kroger. 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 Kroger, 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 Kroger.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Kroger, 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 Kroger would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Kroger, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Kroger, 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 Kroger? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Kroger 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 Kroger 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 Kroger is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Kroger starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Kroger already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Kroger 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 Kroger.
If your company is minority or women owned, check Kroger website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to Kroger.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Kroger. 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 Kroger, 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 Kroger. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Kroger.
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 Kroger 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 Kroger paperwork.) Often Kroger will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Kroger, you should contact a buyer at Kroger 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 Kroger 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, Kroger 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 Kroger, 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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