Wholesaling to chain stores used to be impossible. They wanted big brands and lots of product. But selling products to retailers is getting easier for small businesses. Laura Curtis of Malvi Marshmallow Confection has done it, and she says not to be afraid of the big guys.
Retail futurist, Howard Saunders of 22nd and 5th says the retail world changed a lot after the global financial crisis and now is a good time for small producers.
Common concerns when selling products to retailers and chain stores
Wholesaling your product to a chain store might seem scary. You’re probably worried that you’ll have to:
In reality, chain stores understand the benefits of partnering with small batch producers like you – and those benefits are not all about price and profits.
Why big retailers suddenly care about brands like yours
Howard says small brands hold real appeal for modern consumers. Today’s customers are interested in authenticity – they want products “with values, not just value”.
As a result, chain stores are looking for artisan and craft products from local producers. It gives them kudos and brings shoppers into their stores.
The real value is your story
Big retailers don’t really need your product. They have plenty on their shelves already. And Howard says they’re not going to make much money selling your goods, either. Your real value to them is your brand.
If you plan on selling products to retailers, make sure you leverage your backstory. It doesn’t matter how small you might be – if you’re unique and interesting, you make their store more inviting.
“Small batch producers think they have to look big and sophisticated and already out there, already corporate – actually that’s not what the retailers want at all,” Howard explains.
Don’t waste your time trying to look polished. Focus on developing a compelling brand story:
How to approach a chain store?
Before launching Malvi Marshmallow Confections, Laura had worked as a buyer for retailers. As someone who’s been on both sides, she gave us some tips on how to get started.
Laura got a deal with Whole Foods when one of the company’s marketing chiefs spotted her product at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. You never know where your break will come from so the simple message is get out there.
Tips for negotiating with chain stores
If a big retailer is interested in your product, you’ll need to negotiate a supply contract. Don’t be nervous. Many chain stores are ready to give you a solid deal. Treat it as you would any negotiation – be flexible, open and mindful of what you need out of the contract.
Original source: Xero.com
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