Do you want to expand your products into other stores to help drive revenue and sales? We’re going to show you how to get your product in stores to hyperdrive your business.
We followed up with Jazmin from BlkSunflower for some input on how she got her product in stores. We’ll walk you through the benefits, the planning, and approaching decision-makers so you understand how to get your product into stores.
We’ll also discuss how to support the stores selling your product, how to sell your product in local stores, big-box retailers, and supermarkets.
Get ready to have a better understanding of how to sell your product in other business owners’ stores.
How getting my products in stores is beneficial
We’re going to discuss some of the benefits of getting your products in stores before digging into the process. If you already know the benefits of selling your products in other stores, skip to the section on how to get your product in stores.
Let’s start by discussing how getting your product in stores increases sales.
How to get my products in stores to increased sales
Whether you are approaching a small business, big-box retailer, or adding a platform like Amazon, you can increase sales by selling products in new stores.
Assuming that you go from a single small business location to offering your products in another retail store, sales can nearly double, but profit will likely decrease because they’ll want to be able to sell at the same price you do. That means you’ll have to give them a quantity discount.
When a product is added to Amazon or Walmart, there is the potential for it to start compromising most of your sales. Many of the successful business owners we profile tell us that 65% or more of their sales come from Amazon. Walmart has comparable percentages of retail store sales.
Check out the video below to see how Shed Defender went from five sales per month to 100 overnight, and then to $150K per month.
Regular Candle Business Success
How to get my products into stores and increase geographical reach
Another benefit of approaching business owners or major retailers is you can expand your geographic reach. A company should improve sales if their product is available closer to their customer base.
Starting a second store is far more costly, so finding other entrepreneurs that want to sell your product makes sense. Just make sure they are far enough away that the new store doesn’t eat into existing sales.
Check out this research paper on how distance impacts revenue. It compares how store locations impact how much customers spend and how nearby locations increase or decrease sales.
Keep reading to learn how selling a product in retail locations increases business growth.
How to get my product into stores for business growth
New locations to sell your products can increase customer awareness of your products and start them on the customer journey to researching and eventually buying your products. Just make sure you approach market participants that align with your brand values.
How to sell your products in stores and lower costs of operation
Assuming you already sell online, you can either find businesses to sell your products or open your own locations. When thinking about how to get your product into stores, it is far less expensive to find an existing retailer than to start your own brick-and-mortar stores.
The table below compares the changes that will occur when you sell to other retailers or open your own stores. As you can see, there are fewer costs and risks involved if you approach retail stores.
Financial Changes When Considering How to Sell Your Products in ShopsSell to RetailersOpen Your Own Store(s)Increased order quantities, partially offset by potential volume discountsIncreased order quantities, partially offset by potential volume discountsIncreased shipping costsIncreased shipping costsPotential of increased tech costsPotential of increased tech costsLower revenue per productSame revenue per productIncreased rentIncreased licensing costsIncreased inspection costsIncreased utility costsIncreased equipment costs
Selling to smaller stores or big retailers simplifies your business. It lowers the number of shipments you have to make or pay someone to fulfill. You ship orders of hundreds of products to the shops and the store owner sells the products to their customers.
That makes running your business more convenient because you can focus on aspects like creating new products, marketing, and finding more customers. The actual daily sales to the end customer are managed by the store owners.
Focus on marketing and efficiency
Since you have moved many of the customer service functions to the retailers, you now have time to build the business through additional marketing and business administration improvements.
These are the areas that most successful business owners credit as the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful business.
Now that we’ve looked at the main benefits of selling a product to retailers, let’s look at how to get your product in stores.
How to get your product into a retail store
The process of getting your products into stores is a five-step process:
Plan sales and marketing.
Research the right stores for your products.
Engage the decision-maker.
Support the retailer.
Get ready to learn how to get your products in stores.
Step 1. Know thyself
To get your products in stores with efficiency, you’ll need to do it in a way that honors who you are, what your company stands for, and that appeals to your target market. Because these things are so important, it makes sense to discuss some characteristics that help business owners get their products in national and local retailers.
Some of the most important considerations are:
Know when you’re ready to approach retail stores
Ready to explain what makes the product stand out
Be a leader
Be an expert
Be a go-getter
Operate in a way that builds trust
Keep reading for the second step in our guide on how to get your products in new markets.
Step 2. Sales and marketing plan
Creating a sales and marketing plan can help you develop confidence and help you develop small successes before trying to get your product into major retailers like Walmart, Costco, or Target. We’ll look at some of the things to consider before you start approaching retail stores.
Start small and dream big
Don’t expect to go from selling everything online or in your own retail store to selling in large retailers. It might be achievable, but you’ll most likely have kinks in your process that will have to be worked out as you grow.
Build gradually and start working with a few small businesses first. After the kinks are worked out you can approach larger retailers. Build this thinking into your plan to sell products.
Jazmin told us:
I currently only sell in a few small stores, and my wholesale program has been on hold since November 2021 because I am working to keep up with the online demand from large contracts that I have secured to make corporate gifts.
I have currently hired two people and am working on two more to help with the demand. Before the contracts, having stores allowed the opportunity for potential customers to experience my products before making a purchase.
Document your goals for the following time spans:
You may need to approach potential investors to fund some of the growth plans. If so you should check out our hub article about how to fund a business.
Think about your target market and their needs
Consider how your target market shops when looking for businesses to establish relationships with near you and elsewhere. Some of their needs you might want to consider include:
Where do they shop?
What are other products they like?
What kind of services do they need?
For instance, it might be as simple as talking to salons if you have created hair products for humans, but dog groomers and pet stores if you created pet shampoo.
Prepare an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is your chance to get someone’s attention. It is meant to be 30 seconds or less and includes the following information:
Who you are
What you do
Why it matters
What you want from them
Key decision-makers don’t have a lot of time so you need to have your elevator pitch perfected. This is an example pitch I used when I was looking for partners for a clothing brand:
Hi. I’m Brandon with (company name omitted). We create vests, T-shirts, and jackets to celebrate the tenets of music, freedom, and country, and we are looking to partner with musicians that share those values. Can we set up a meet and greet when you come to town on (insert date)?
I got a yes every time because I believe in what the company does and the pitch is completely true. People can hear and see when someone believes in what they do. You’ll have to rise above any anxiety or fear and make it where this pitch is as natural as answering:
What is 1+1?
Keep reading to plan how margins will impact your marketing.
Lower your gross margins or cost of goods sold (COGS)
Everyone is in business to earn a great living and that all comes down to margins. Let’s assume you sell your product for $10 online. Every business will want to be able to sell it for the same price as you. Plus, they’ll want to make money off of it.
Most successful businesses aim for a gross margin of 45% or higher. That means you can’t sell in bulk to a store for more than $5.50 per $10 in revenue. Does it cost more than that to supply your product to stores?
Jazmin told us:
Research the market and determine the average wholesale markup for your product type. For candles, the industry standard is about 50%. This means that you need to make sure your product is priced correctly so you are not losing money when it comes to selling wholesale.
If so, you’ll have to find a way to reduce your COGS or convince them to take a lower margin. That’s just one of the reasons planning is so important. Keep reading to learn about how having a sell-sheet will improve your results.
Create a sell sheet
A sell-sheet is simply a marketing tool to help small business owners and retail stores understand your product. Canva has 60 suggested templates for the easy creation of sell sheets. You should include the following information on the sell sheet:
Your logo and product name
A catchy headline
An introduction to your product
Product specifications, benefits, and accurate data about its performance
Visually appealing data representation
How to contact you to order your product
Read HubSpot’s article on how to create a sell sheet to learn more.
If you have multiple products you are trying to get buyers to stock, you will need line sheets. A line sheet is similar to a sell sheet but contains multiple products for buyers to consider.
There are some automated services to create line sheets, but I have not found any that seem to truly improve supplier success over spending more money and time to get custom sheets.
Upgrade the packaging
Packaging can sell products in retail stores. If you are using generic packaging to save costs, create product packaging that will attract attention on the store floor. When you show it to the store owner, it should fit well with their products, but stand out as something new.
Packlane is a site where you can design your own packaging and they have a blog on what makes good packaging.
Packaging like this seems to be doing well lately.
Impact on store shelves
Retail stores are confined by the amount of space. Therefore, they want to make the most money in the least space. There are several ways they can calculate it including:
Revenue per square foot per year (R/Sq Ft-Yr)
Sell-through rate uses the equation:
Units Sold/Units Bought = Sell-Through Rate
The formula R/Sq Ft-Yr calculates the total amount of money made over the course of a year. The higher the number, the better. To calculate this value:
Measure a 1-foot by 1-foot space on your shelves.
Measure the height between shelves.
Add your product to the shelf and count how many fit in the space.
Divide products sold in a year, by-products in the square foot.
That’s your R/Sq Ft-Yr.
Communicate the dimensions of the shelving and product so store owners can alter the calculations based on their shelves.
Step 3. Conduct research to select the right store for your product
Research the retailer where you want to sell your product. For a local retailer, you’ll probably have to go to their location and observe foot traffic, price points, nearby stores, and product categories.
If you are researching a national chain, you’ll want to do most of your research online. You’ll want to search for:
Competitor’s products on their website
Their procurement process
The onboarding process for new vendors
All but the decision-maker can be found on their website. You may need to do some searching on LinkedIn to establish who the decision-maker is. You’ll want to look for titles like VP of Procurement.
Step 4. Engage decision maker
You’ve prepared yourself for the conversation, now it’s time to engage the decision-maker. If you have already met them while doing your research, it will be much easier to reach out and get a meeting.
You will probably need to make first contact through email or LinkedIn when approaching the decision-maker, but entrepreneurs like Jazmin Richards have had success by working with a publicist. She tells us about how she got a publicist in the interview below.
You can also try trade shows for building relationships with buyers’ agents. You may be able to find some virtual trade shows, but most have gone back to in-person events. You can find a list of nearly 2,300 trade shows at Events in America.
You’ll want to schedule a first meeting where you will give your pitch in person. You’ll want to tell them why your brand is different, how you’ll help the product succeed with their customers, and how it will help drive sales.
Remember to bring product samples, your sell sheet, documentation on why the product belongs in their store, and a document with the proposed terms.
They may agree on the spot or need some time to consider the terms and whether they agree that the product is a good fit for their buyers. Once they do, sign a contract and you have become a supplier.
At this point, it’s time to consider how to sell your products in other retailers’ establishments.
Cautionary Tale: Make sure to get a trademark attorney that represents similar types of companies before going to trade shows. There are a lot of market participants that may validate or steal your idea. Plus, it costs a ton of money. Paul Akers will tell you more in the interview below.
Step 5. Support the retail stores
Supporting the retailer consists of a variety of tasks including:
Help make sure the products are replenished repeatedly so both companies can keep making money from the deal.
Create hype about entering a new market through marketing emails and social media.
Provide the retailer with the best advice on where your product should be placed in the store.
There are some additional considerations that you’ll need to consider if you start wholesale distribution. We’ll look at that next.
How to Sell wholesale products
If you are trying to sell wholesale, you may also want to build relationships with distributors. There are a ton of distributors in the US. The best way to find them is to search “US (type of) distributor.”
When searching for apparel distributors, I found a few links that warrant considering:
Mr. Checkout: Featured on Shark Tank and works with Mr. Wonderful
Buyers Direct: Connects sellers with over 2,400 buyers
The beneficial thing about working with a distributor is they have resources you don’t have because they already have nationwide buyer information to know where your product might do well.
I reached out to Jazmin from BlkFlower to get input and she told us:
If people want to grow quickly I highly recommend focusing on b2b wholesale in addition to online sales. This will allow businesses the opportunity to sell more at once, and also allow the other business to essentially do the marketing for them and get their products in front of more people.
Research the market, and determine the average wholesale markup for your product type. For candles, the industry standard is about 50%. This means that you need to make sure your product is priced correctly so you are not losing money when it comes to selling wholesale.
How to get your product in local stores
If you’re wondering how to get your products in local stores, you’ll need a few extra considerations. You may want to provide them with sample products for them to test in their store. You may also need to train them on how to sell your products in local stores.
Because most entrepreneurs don’t have the budget that major corporations do, you may also have to work with them by offering more flexible payment terms.
How to get your product in supermarkets
Supermarkets include some additional challenges that you may want to consider:
Most of the products are perishable.
Major supermarkets won’t take unknown products.
Many supermarkets want companies to supply retailer products.
Retailers’ products include items like Sam’s Choice at Walmart or Kroger products. These will typically be identical to your product but with their packaging.
This may be the answer you seek when wondering how to get your product in stores like supermarkets. Providing the products in retailer packaging will not give entrepreneurs brand recognition, but may give them a leg up in entering large retailers like supermarkets.
Your best bet to strike a deal is to start by researching local small businesses and find the ones you want to contact. Come prepared to pitch in person and support them the same as you do your retail customers.
Once you’ve mastered the process, start going to local chains, then distributors, and national retailers. The key is to give yourself small wins, time to learn, and the ability to identify supplier issues. If you try to go straight to the big leagues, you’ll have very little wiggle room.