How to get your product into Lowe’s
- 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 submit product to Lowes
There are several ways to get a product placed in Lowes. 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 Lowes, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.
We are a national distribution network of over 1,000 distributors, wagon jobbers and merchandisers that introduce new products into stores every day with our blitz program. We are a membership organization that provides access to our database of distributors, a custom landing page on our website and access to the country’s largest wholesaler network. Since 1989 we have been bringing new products to market and have seen successful placements in nearly every major big box retailer in the country. Over the years we have learned the best ways to place a product in retail stores like Lowes, and are available to help you accomplish your distribution goals. We make it easy:
Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product placed in Lowes.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Lowes, 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 Lowes would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Lowes, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Lowes, 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 Lowes? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Lowes’s 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 Lowes 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 Lowes is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Lowes starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Lowes already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Lowes 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 Lowes.
If your company is minority or women owned, check Lowes’s website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to Lowes.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Lowes. 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 Lowes, 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 Lowes. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Lowes.
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 Lowes 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 Lowes paperwork.) Often Lowes will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Lowes, you should contact a buyer at Lowes 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 Lowes 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, Lowes 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 distribute your product to Lowes, 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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