How to get your product into Saks Fifth Avenue
- 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
How To Get Into Saks Fifth Avenue
Founded in 1867, Saks Fifth Avenue is an American chain of luxury department stores owned, since 2013, by the oldest commercial corporation in North America, the Hudson’s Bay Company. Its main flagship store is located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Saks Fifth Avenue has been known for “the very best designer ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and gifts the world has to offer.”
Being one of the oldest in the business, Saks has also redefined what a luxury store can be, with innovations like in-store art exhibitions, world-famous window displays and exclusive salons, among other unforgettable experiences.
Several fashion careers from Estée Lauder to Marc Jacobs have been given the launch pad under Saks Fifth Avenue. These are now top brands that find their ways to exclusive wardrobes all over the world.
The luxury fashion market is one growing in a very enormous way. As much as people want to save and cut down on spending, people still crave a Prada, a Gucci, or a Tom Ford. Any chance they get, they may go for it. Stores like Saks Fifth Avenue where there are several exclusive brands, they go by ways of offering discounts.
Customers have a thing for this retailer. The fact that they sell some exclusive brands which is fantastic and the window shopping they avail the several passers-by. The window display is exquisite and can make a person walk in to start shopping. A customer noted on yelp.com that: “Reviewing for the Christmas window displays, do yourself a favor and go! They are really something to see, so pretty! Many are moving, animated and set to music, fascinating to look at. Really so cheerful. Set against the rest of the city, building reflections seen as well on each window, well this just adds to the whole fab look. Don’t miss the huge light showing in the evening, it is beautiful too! I will go window display looking here every time I come during the Christmas holidays!”
For a distributor, this is an established store 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, it may not be that easy to push your products in there. This is why networking can be very useful. With the new owner with Hudson Bay, a distributor may need to be well acquainted with procurement processes of the company.
Saks Fifth Avenue also offers beauty makeovers and facials at the club. Customers can book appointment and get a consultant in the line attached to them.
Contact Saks Fifth Avenue
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 Saks Fifth Avenue
Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Saks Fifth Avenue radar.
Call the Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue buyers as they will potentially have a better history.
Get On Saks Fifth Avenue Radar
Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue buyers meeting or trade show in the future.
Use Hard Facts
Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue
There are several ways to get a product placed in Saks Fifth Avenue. 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 Saks Fifth Avenue, 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 Saks Fifth Avenue.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Saks Fifth Avenue, 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 Saks Fifth Avenue would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Saks Fifth Avenue, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Saks Fifth Avenue, 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 Saks Fifth Avenue? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Saks Fifth Avenue 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. Retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Saks Fifth Avenue starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Saks Fifth Avenue already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue.
If your company is minority or women owned, check Saks Fifth Avenue website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to Saks Fifth Avenue. Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Saks Fifth Avenue. 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 Saks Fifth Avenue, 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 Saks Fifth Avenue. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product too Saks Fifth Avenue.
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 Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue paperwork. Often Saks Fifth Avenue will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Saks Fifth Avenue, you should contact a buyer at Sack ‘n Save 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 Saks Fifth Avenue 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, Saks Fifth Avenue 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 Saks Fifth Avenue, 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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