How To Get Into Market Basket
In 1961, Bruce Thompson opened the first Market Basket grocery store in Groves, Texas. Today, Market Basket remains a privately-owned grocer serving the East Texas and Louisiana region with 34 full-service supermarkets. Market Basket supermarket stores offer outstanding value on grocery foods including fresh produce, quality meats, delicious bakery goods and beautiful floral arrangements. We also provide pharmacy services in select grocery store locations.
Since opening its first location in 1961, Market Basket has focused on providing an extraordinary shopping experience to its customers. Today, Market Basket remains a privately-owned grocer serving the east Texas and Louisiana region with 34 full-service supermarkets with more than 2,000 employees. Market Basket is invested in providing their customers with a community oriented and a family friendly atmosphere. To ensure that it continues meeting the needs of customers in east Texas and Louisiana, Market Basket conducts a regular sales data review. For instance, Skylar Thompson, the brand President, says that shoppers in Louisiana tend to be more interested in local products than east Texas counterparts.
Always striving to stay on top of industry developments, Market Basket is aware of the consumer move toward healthier eating. Thus, the company is exploring online ordering and e-commerce to help accommodate consumers’ busy lives as well tailoring their products towards a more organic menu.
“People want more convenience and options that make the shopping experience quicker,” Thompson says, “We are also doing more bundled purchases and quick and easy meals, as we are seeing a lot of popularity with our breakfast and lunch meals that people can pick up at our locations.”
Going forward, Market Basket is emphasizing slow and steady growth. In the past, the company having gone through periods of acquiring stores in more distant or unfamiliar markets, so right now it is focusing more on careful single store acquisitions and investments in remodels. Through controlled growth and prudent selection of locations, it can manage risk.
“We know we have challenges like deflation in pricing, competitive pressure and continuing to pursue online ordering and curbside pickup with third-party partners,” Thompson says. “But we will continue to emphasize perishables and focus on doing a great job of taking care of and creating loyal customers.”
Market Basket Smokehouse, as it is sometimes called, has over 30 years of experience and in that they can boast of their sausage and boudin which they claim is the best. Their mode of acquiring suppliers and vendors, like many other stores, is not really out there. However, I believe that is due to the fact that they are still developing their online presence. Albeit, if you have a recipe which you think you would love to share with Market Basket and the community, feel free to submit your recipe on the official website at marketbasket. Fill out the form and click on submit. Once that is done, you should be on the lookout, your recipe would be featured on their site for everyone to see.
How to get your product into Market Basket
- 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 Market Basket 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 Market Basket radar.
Call the Market Basket 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 Market Basket buyers as they will potentially have a better history.
Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Market Basket 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 Market Basket 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 Market Basket buyers meeting or trade show in the future.
Market Basket 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 Market Basket 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 Market Basket 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 Market Basket
There are several ways to get a product placed in Market Basket. 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 Market Basket, 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 Market Basket.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Market Basket, 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 Market Basket would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Market Basket, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Market Basket, 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 Market Basket? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Market Basket 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 Market Basket 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 Market Basket is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Market Basket starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Market Basket already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Market Basket 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 Market Basket.
If your company is minority or women owned, check Market Basket website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to Market Basket.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Market Basket. 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 Market Basket, 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 Market Basket. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Market Basket.
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 Market Basket 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 Market Basket paperwork.) Often Market Basket will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Market Basket, you should contact a buyer at Market Basket 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 Market Basket 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, Market Basket 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 Market Basket, 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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