Independent Grocery Store Distributors
Distributing to Independent Grocery Store Distributors is all about satisfying the store’s needs in what type of products their customers demand. Independent Grocery Store Distributors want a product that has been established and will sell quickly. Contacting local Independent Grocery Store Distributors is a good first step to get a feel for what products do well in that market.
Finding a distributor who already has an established relationship with independent specialty retailers is essential. The distributor and retailer relationship is important in product placement in Independent Grocery Store Distributors. If a distributor has a good reputation with an independent specialty retailer the process of getting products into the store is a lot smoother.
Building a relationship and a positive track record is a very important part for the distributor. It is important for the distributor to do some research on what kind of specialty products do well in each specialty store, which can be dependent on where they are located. If a product does well in one independent specialty store the likeliness the distributor will put it in other stores is high. In Independent Grocery Store Distributors and independent stores in general it is all about shelf space and what sells well will claim that shelf space. Products that do not, will be given less space or no space in order to move in a new product that sells well.
Independent Grocery Store Distributors look for products that are innovative and will set them apart from competitors. So, new products have a better chance of making it into an independent specialty store vs. a big box retailer. An independent specialty store will have a stronger personal relationship and knowledge with products compared to big box stores as well. This is beneficial to everyone involved because having knowledge about the product in stores will improve sales.
In order to get a product into an independent specialty market contacting the correct distributor is the first step. The next step would be sending samples and other pertinent information to that distributor if requested. They like to see proof of sales and selling points of that product. Communicating about price points and minimum order quantities is very important. If the distributor likes the product and thinks it would be a good fit for their route they will purchase the product.
If the product does well in stores, the distributor will continually order more. Proof of sales will bring more orders and getting in contact with other distributors in other parts of the country is the next step. A product with proven sales in a few Independent Grocery Store Distributors will make its way to Independent Grocery Store Distributors all across the nation through different distribution channels. Establishing and building relationships with distributors is the best way to get products into Independent Grocery Store Distributors.
Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product picked up by a distributor.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product, 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 the distributor would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with them, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to the distributor, 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 a distributor? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check the distributor’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 Walmart 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 the distributor is the right one for your product.) The relationship between you and the distributor starts with you browsing the store’s that they service for competing products. If the stores already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. 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 the distributor.
4. Pitch your product.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to the distributor. 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 a distributor, 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 them. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product.
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 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 paperwork.) Often a distributor will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required, you should contact them 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 a distributor pick up your line 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, distributors 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 through a distributor, 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.