How to Get Your Product in Stores
Do you want to continue adding value to your customers’ lives by making your product more accessible? Here’s everything you need to know about how to get your product into stores.
You’re an entrepreneur with a vision and a killer product, and you need to get your goods to the people. You know that a major milestone is seeing your product in retail stores. Whether it’s local businesses in your hometown or larger chains, placing your product in stores can expand your reach, grow your brand, and help you bring your solution to new customers.
The trick is connecting with the right people who know how to get your product in stores. Our guide to how to get your merchandise in stores breaks down the steps to improve your chances and outlines the benefits of having a retail presence.
Deciding how to get your brand in stores isn’t something you should rush. Take the time to assess your company: Do you have the capacity to support both your normal online sales and supply wholesale orders to retailers? You don’t want to end up in a position where you can’t fulfill orders, which can damage your brand (and your finances).
Consider the following questions about your capacity and process:
- Can you scale your business to meet anticipated demand from retailers?
- Are there any supply chain issues or concerns that could delay order fulfillment?
- Are you already struggling with eCommerce sales?
Price is top of mind for your customers and factors into how you can scale. If you already have a very narrow profit margin, setting lower prices for wholesale orders may not be the route for you right now. There’s no shame in waiting and taking time to grow.
If you feel ready to rock with retail orders, let’s look at how to get products in stores.
Have a Clear Sales & Marketing Plan
You likely already have a sales and marketing plan for your business, but it’s wise to regularly evaluate and pivot. From email strategy to SMS marketing, there are many ways to refresh or up the consistency of your message.
An advertising budget, social media pages, and an easy-to-find and navigable website are invaluable tools to show potential retail stores the value and vibe of your business. You should also know how to boost eCommerce sales to prove that you have a solid online sales history.
Prepare a Perfect Pitch
You already know what makes your product unique and stand out from the competition. Now organize that information into a flawless elevator pitch: a quick summary of what your product does and what pain point it relieves or benefit it brings to your target audience.
Your pitch should highlight significant achievements, like current sales numbers or a large social media following, that may encourage retail stores to stock your product. It would help if you also showed that you could fulfill orders on time before focusing on getting products into retail stores.
Research to Find the Right Stores
No one knows your audience better than you. That means you should know where they shop and the stores where your product would do best. Narrow your search to those with products like yours and serve a demographic that fits your target customer.
Take Advantage of Online Wholesale Marketplaces
When determining how to get your product in local stores, visit in person. Face-to-face connection is a highly effective way to pitch your product and let your personality shine. When your company grows larger and you’re ready to reach out to chains and larger retailers, you can explore online wholesale marketplaces where you can list your product for potential distributors to find.
Many retailers are trying to avoid supply chain issues with overseas suppliers, so online wholesale marketplaces are a great way to get your product in front of the right people.
Start Local & Make Connections
One of the best ways to get your product sold in stores is to start small. Network and meet with local small business owners with brick-and-mortar stores who may be interested in stocking your product on their shelves. Offer trades or low-cost samples to start a business partnership or introduce yourself by handing out business cards to local shop owners. You may be surprised at the connections you make by introducing yourself in person.
If you already have loyal customers in your area, encourage them to ask for your products in their favorite local stores. Creating demand can set your brand up for success before you even place your product in shops.
Attend Trade Shows
Trade shows have long been a great way for business owners to meet with distributors and show off their products. Network with multiple stores and increase your odds of finding the right one to sell your product.
Before you invest in a booth at a trade show, attend a few to get an idea of the company you’ll be in—your peers and competition. Trade show booths can be costly, so it’s good to scope whether that investment is worthwhile.
Take Advantage of LinkedIn
Pitch your product in person whenever possible, and also utilize LinkedIn networking. LinkedIn allows you to get in touch with decision-makers directly without the hassle of tracking them down via phone or through multiple people in the organization.
Get in Touch with Decision-Makers
Before you pitch to a retail store, research and find out whom you need to address. Are they accepting pitches for new products? Some stores only accept pitches at particular times or through specific channels. For example, Walmart requires all potential vendors to use their online system.
Provide Support to Stores
Once you’ve figured out how to get your product in stores, it’s important to stay on top of it and provide support. That means ensuring all orders are correct and on time, so you and the distributor keep making good money from your business partnership. You can even offer advice about displaying your products and creating hype through emails, text message marketing, and social media posts.
The Benefits of Knowing How to Get Your Product in Stores
You’ve broken the code for how to get your brand in stores; now, your business can enjoy some major growth. Not only can you increase sales by pushing your product to a broader audience, but you can also boost your geographical reach. If you can partner with chain stores, you may suddenly find you have loyal customers in entirely different parts of the country, preaching your brand gospel far and wide.
With expanded reach and sales, you can fast-track the growth of your business, increase brand awareness, and send more people into your customer journey pipeline. Plus, it is far less costly — and less risky — to find a distributor to sell your products than it is to start your brick-and-mortar storefront.
When a retail store keeps your product on the shelves, you can spend more time focusing on growing your business in other ways, such as developing new products and improving your marketing strategy.