How To Get Into Morton Williams
Morton Williams, founded in 1954, is a family-owned and operated food retailer with fifteen stores in the New York City Metropolitan area. “Each store is designed to reflect the needs of the individual neighborhood.”
Morton Williams stores feature ShopRite products as its private-label brand and is supplied by the warehousing division of ShopRite’s parent company, Wakefern Food Corporation.
The retail chain has quite a number of retail stores and it has continued to supply its usual goodness and steep low prices to its customers. The company has made it a point of duty to put its customers first and this has helped it grow its dedicated customer base for generation.
The supermarket business in the United States is one that tries to connect with the individual customer. This means, the supermarkets try to address the needs and interests of individual customers. This is by offering local, international, and metropolitan products. The company’s stores offer natural and organic grocery products, such as organic produce products; bulk food and private label products; dry, frozen, and canned groceries; meat and seafood products; dairy products and dairy substitutes; prepared foods; bread and baked products; seafood; and beverages.
The uniqueness and the innovativeness of Morton Williams set it apart. It isn’t like the normal food chain where things are dull and not interesting, customers have enjoyed this food chain and they have written about it online. A customer noted on yelp.com that: “oh my goodness I am so in love with this place especially the deli! the whole place is so organized even just walking around feels relaxing and pleasing to the eye because everything seems to be where it should be. I love how the ice cream is arranged it’s so easy to find everything. I grabbed dinner from the weight-style buffet, and it was pretty good. the chicken tikka and the beef were really good. fish was okay. Unfortunately, the vegetables were super chewy and hard to eat but since I have a very pleasant experience, I will let that slide. The deli had huge variety of selection and everything looks really appealing. I know I’m going to come back from time to time to this place! yes I think it’s a bit pricey for groceries but I don’t really see this is regular grocery store anyway. perhaps more for special health items, ice cream, and the deli / buffet area. In fact, for deli I think they have really good value! by the way they have seating upstairs which are clean, quiet, and pretty comfortable”
On the local sourcing of food products, Morton Williams has been on the forefront of selling locally sourced food products and imported food items. Their wine, spice, and produce selection make them a leader in the retail and grocery business niche. This store has been in the business for years and has its established sourcing angles. Its constant support of local products has helped it cement its brand in the community as people can easily resonate with it.
How to get your product into Morton Williams
- 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 Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams radar.
Call the Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams buyers as they will potentially have a better history.
Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams buyers meeting or trade show in the future.
Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams
There are several ways to get a product placed in Morton Williams. 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 Morton Williams, 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 Morton Williams.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Morton Williams, 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 Morton Williams would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Morton Williams, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Morton Williams, 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 Morton Williams? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Morton Williams starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Morton Williams already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams.
If your company is minority or women owned, check Morton Williams website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to Morton Williams.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Morton Williams. 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 Morton Williams, 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 Morton Williams. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Morton Williams.
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 Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams paperwork.) Often Morton Williams will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Morton Williams, you should contact a buyer at Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams 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, Morton Williams 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 Morton Williams, 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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