If you’d like to get your products into retail outlets around Australia then consider these steps. When you have all the market research evidence done and your samples are ready to present then start this process.
Firstly you will probably need to set up an interview with the retailers of your choice. This will be taken by the receptionist if you are applying to larger retailers and can be done by phoning the appropriate store. You will be directed to the appropriate buyer for your product and an interview will be appointed through them. Do not try to sell to this person now – you do that at the appointment.
If the retailer asks questions about your product you need to be very guarded in your answers. You want to get to the appointment so do emphasis that your product needs to be presented in person to be appreciated and explained further. Emphasise the uniqueness of the product and that all the information and specifications can be explained at the interview.
If you are trying to get into a small independent retailer then you will probably talk to the owner directly and can arrange an appointment that suits both of you immediately. This is advantageous because the owner is the buyer/decision maker and the process can move swiftly.
When asking for an appointment use a phrase like:
“We have a product that we know your business can profit from and we’d like to set up an appointment to show it to you”.
Collect all the following information and have it organised correctly in a folder for ease of presentation. Have a copy made so you can leave it with the retailer.
1. Preparing for the interview is the next crucial step. You will need to have the product/s samples completely ready as if for selling and stocking in the shops. This means that all the legal requirements are in place, your business obligations are met, such as GST requirements, you have all the packaging and labeling organised etc. Everything must be as it will be when the retailer accepts the product. Do you have your barcode? More information on barcodes can be found here.
Some retailers also require a Trade Unit Number (TUN). More information can be found at GS1 Australia
2. Presenting proof that the market is ready and waiting for your product can be the ‘clincher’ in the sale. You can do this by having excellent market research figures available, customer survey results and any statistical evidence you can acquire to prove that this retailer needs your product. Can you supply results from any consumer testing you have conducted? You can do the market research yourself but for more credibility you can also use an independent researcher. More information on independent market researchers can be found here.
3. Your USP (unique selling point) should be explained thoroughly. This is an explanation of why your product is different from any of the other similar products the retailer currently stocks. You must emphasise how this will benefit the retailers customers and why your product will ‘stand out’ to them. This means you must include the advantages of the product itself compared to others on the market. You must have a thorough understanding of your competitors products and be able to distinguish your products benefits from theirs.
Here you can give details of the size of the market you are entering and how much of this market you are aiming to acquire. This gives the retailer a good indication of the profits they can make.
4. Your Marketing Plan can be shown in detail to help the retailer understand how you will be promoting their store to your customers. Don’t include your own private marketing here as the retailers are only interested in how you will be promoting them.
The costing and pricing strategy can be outlined here also. The bottom line price for your product is what you should have concluded before the appointment. See wholesaling The retail price is out of your hands, the retailer can charge what they feel is appropriate and you have no legal rights to say otherwise. Therefore it is very important for you to get your pricing right. There are many unforeseen costs involved from the retailers and it is easy to find yourself not making any profit when dealing with them naively. When costing your product consider including these charges:
- Promotion fees
- Warehouse fees
- Shelf fees
- Line fees
- Settlement fees
- Late delivery penalty fees
- Catalogue fees
Delivery is usually paid for by you, most retailers will not pay for any transit costs.
These costs can add a substantial amount to the pre profit costs of your product. Don’t forget to include all the usual costs of the product before you even get to this stage.
You can negotiate these costings and come back with a set price at a later date. Try to get these fees and charges before the interview if possible.
Retailers will often ask you to reduce the wholesale price over the course of time so take that into consideration when pricing.
At the interview you need to be on time, well prepared and ready to strut your stuff. Be professional and do not show your product/s immediately. Showing your products can distract the buyer from the information you need to give them to introduce the product. Tell the buyer a little bit about the product, it’s development history, it’s USP and how it will benefit them. Then produce the product sample. You can then work through your presentation folder, pausing for any questions. Any objections can be overcome with a phrase such as, “Perhaps, but…” and then refer to your research or product knowledge to overcome the objection.
Closing the sale might not happen after the interview has concluded but you can always ask if they are interested in ordering today.
Here are some links to major retail chains and their buying process.