How to get your product into Save-A-Lot

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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 Save-A-Lot

Founded in 1977, Save-A-Lot Food Stores Ltd. is an American discount supermarket chain headquartered within Greater St. Louis in the inner ring suburb of St. Ann, Missouri. The subsidiary of Onex Corporation comprises more than 1,300 stores across 36 states in the United States with over $4 billion in annual sales.

While stores carry most typical grocery products, they feature less variety than conventional supermarkets. A typical Save-A-Lot is 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) with items displayed in their cardboard shipping boxes.

A majority of Save-A-Lot stores are owned and operated by independent licensees. Save-A-Lot supplies much of these stores with its exclusive branded products, but the licensed owners have the freedom to sell other non-Save-A-Lot products at their stores. Some licensees have added services beyond the traditional Save-A-Lot model that includes bakeries, delis, liquor, tobacco, money transfers, and fuel services.

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 Save-A-Lot 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: “I actually like this store. It is similar in concept to Aldi, if anyone is familiar. Costs for the store are cut by purchasing fewer name-brand products and charging for bags.

The prices are great. If you don’t have much money, take a chance on some of the off-brand canned, frozen and bottled foods, sauces, juices, etc. I haven’t bought a lot of produce here, but none of what I’ve bought has ever been bad (I can’t say the same for the Pathmark on Gray’s Ferry).

Their off-brand yogurt, Coburn Farms, is 50 cents per cup and much better than standard Dannon or Yoplait. They were smooth, not lumpy, and used sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, so it was a little less syrupy sweet.”

On the local sourcing of food products, Save-A-Lot 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.

Contact Save-A-Lot

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.

  • Step 1

    Contact Save-A-Lot

    Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Save-A-Lot radar.

    Call the Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot buyers as they will potentially have a better history.

  • Step 2

    Get On Save-A-Lot Radar

    Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot buyers meeting or trade show in the future.

    Step 2

  • Step 3

    Use Hard Facts

    Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot

There are several ways to get a product placed in Save-A-Lot. 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 Save-A-Lot, 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 Save-A-Lot.

1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Save-A-Lot, 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 Save-A-Lot would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Save-A-Lot, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Save-A-Lot, 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 Save-A-Lot? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Save-A-Lot starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Save-A-Lot already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot.

If your company is minority or women owned, check Save-A-Lot website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.

4. Pitch your product to Save-A-Lot. Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Save-A-Lot. 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 Save-A-Lot, 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 Save-A-Lot. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product too Save-A-Lot.

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 Save-A-Lot, please give us a call for a recommendation. It could save you a huge headache and a lot of money.

5. Complete the required Save-A-Lot paperwork. Often Save-A-Lot will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Save-A-Lot, you should contact a buyer at Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot 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, Save-A-Lot 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 Save-A-Lot, 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.

Submit Your Product Now

(est. time 3 minutes)