How it Will Work: Convenience Store Distribution
Over the last few decades, the way people bought and the way products are sold has seen massive changes. Along those same lines, convenience store distribution has also changed. Also, it has been found that C- stores are rife with opportunities to grow, but rarely do. As a seller, you might be interested in getting to know how this whole system works and how it can work in your favor. Make the convenience store distribution chain work for you. Here are a few things that you might want to make a note of.
The people who work in C stores are likely to be a bit older in the coming years. People like to stay employed for longer than they did in the past. So your product will be handled and sold by people who might be not necessarily be in your target demographic. You need to be prepared for this changing scene in the labor force. While it may not seem that important, it plays a major factor simply because, you need to have as little confusion as possible between the buyer and your product.
While we are discussing labor of the future, it has to be said that technology is likely to bring machines in stores rather than humans. With costs of labor increasing by the day, you are likely to be selling to a shop that has minimal people working. Only recently Amazon introduced a store that has no people, no counters, and no cash transactions. It is the future of C stores and your product has got to be future ready.
Distribution costs set to increase/ decrease
Trucks of the future will be automated and self-driven. They are also more likely to be powered by electricity or other renewable sources of power. That is definitely going to happen, so distribution by manually driven trucks, especially the smaller ones is expected to be a bit more expensive. On the other hand, large consignments will be handled by automated trucks, so it will be less expensive. Either way, these costs are going to change dramatically.
Another reason, apart from emerging technology for distribution costs to alter the way it will is because the truck driving industry is facing a real shortage if drivers in the coming years. The current generation of drivers are set to retire, but are not necessarily going to be replaced immediately. The incoming generation is just not as interested in driving as the outgoing one. It is no wonder the millennials favor self-driven trucks. The shortage of skilled drivers will mean the pay will have to rise to levels that make it feasible to retain skill.
Social media marketing is a thing
Right now convenience store suppliers, distributors, as well as those who operate physical stores all need to get on the social media bandwagon. There is really no point in fighting this change. You are, right now, online, reading about how to sell your product through a C store online. It is likely that you found this link on a Social Media site like Facebook or Twitter. So if you are still lacking in your social media presence, make sure you get on it now, in as many as you can, right away. The online market is quite literally the largest in the world and you can reach any person on the planet.
Crime takes new forms
Cybercrime is something that has to be dealt with seriously. Technology means pretty much running your business online, this includes most, if not all of your paperwork. That means your cyber security measures need to be updated constantly. No one is safe from the threat of theft online and this is not restricted to cash or goods. Priority needs to be placed on your online security above physical security in the coming years.
Regulation and licensing
The Food and Drug Association is constantly updating their regulations on consumables, especially food, vapors, cigarettes, supplements, and like products. You will need to constantly be aware of these changes, should they occur. Failure to be within regulation can result in heavy fines and other fees.
Type of distribution strategy
There are a number of ways in which you can bring your products to the end customer. There is the direct selling option where you move your products directly to the store without any middlemen. It is the cheapest option, especially when you are just starting off and need a way to cut costs on distribution. In many cases, a small van will be enough to deliver, but as you expand your base, and increase your production, you will need a distributor to do it for you. Owning a whole fleet of trucks and maintaining them is just not viable anymore. That is where wholesalers or distributors will come to play. They are able to not only take your product all over the country, but also make sure it reaches the right store and customer.
The idea is to reduce the number of hands the product changes before reaching the end user. The fewer the changes, the leaner the process. In future, this can be as little as one party between you and the seller, which is ideal.
Selling the product
Marketing is expensive and if your product is not big enough or not quite mainstream, creating a marketing strategy for it will be enormously expensive. So, what you can do instead is rent out a counter, a shelf, or some such like space in the store where it can be prominently displayed. If it catches the eye of a customer looking for something new, they are likely to sample it. It is one of the best ways to launch a product into a well-established market and gain eyeballs.
Globalization can be a threat to your product. Every product has a foreign product that is either sold as an exotic or cheaper alternative. That is where the quality and differentiation of product comes into play. Make it the best it can be and distribution will pretty much take care of itself