Hello yet again my retail-oriented colleagues. Today we are talking about a popular topic for new manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses who are looking to get their products out into the savage world of retail. It really is survival of the fittest.
More specifically we are discussing how one should contact, prepare for, and behave when dealing with retailers, distributors, or others that will be reselling your products. In theory, this practice may sound pretty straight forward, but you`d be surprised the hundreds of thousands of dollars you might already be losing.
And nobody likes losing money…
First Impressions = Everything
The first tip I have is one that you`ve known for most of your life, and that is that first impressions, and the way you present yourself, mean everything. When a retailer or buyer has nothing more to gauge you on other than your first meeting or conversation, then you need to make sure you`re impressing their brains out.
(Image by: Tim Pierce)
Okay whatever… so how do I do this??
- First you need to do your research and a lot of it. Know your product inside and out, and understand the retailer inside and out. Who does the retailer sell to? Why do they sell to that particular demographic?
- Is your product priced correctly and competitively to increase sell-through for the buyer? Do you even know what sell-through is??
- Do you have a warranty for your products? Is the product patented already?
- How is your product packaged? Is it effective for this retailer?
- What is the minimum order requirement?
Having the Buyer`s Perspective
Whenever you`re trying to sell your product or service, it`s extremely important to consider the buyer`s perspective. Why? Because how are you supposed to help them (in this case help the retailer make money) if you don`t understand them?
Now you might be thinking…but…I`m the one who wants to make money! And you will, if you focus on your buyer succeeding first.
This is the focus of sell-through which is always an important topic to remember. Do you think a retailer is going to buy a product that won`t make them money? Absolutely not.
Be ready to provide a demonstration of how the product works, what the defect rate is, testing results in smaller markets, calculated interest level, and marketing strategies to help them sell the product (such as contest, discounts, etc).
Just like you need to understand the retailer, they need to understand your business too. If they do not feel that your business is stable or headed in the right direction, it can be tough to convince them. Think of retailers as investors (they`re investing in your products), and you need to show them why you are a safe bet.
To wrap things up here – many other factors go into contacting retailers including all the appropriate documents, facts, and figures. If you`re a small business or new to the retail industry, this can be daunting. If you`ve been involved in retail already, then you know just how crazy and difficult it can be.