Tips to Sell Your New Product to C-Store Distributors and Retailers – Selling products to c-stores is not an easy job for manufactures and they generally use the route of wholesale distributors and retailers to send their goods across various shopping areas. To create a large market for their products manufacturers sometimes directly approach convenience store chains to get their products into all the branches of the brand. Beverages are the fastest selling items in both c-store chains and grocery store chains and is a fiercely competitive industry on a national level and regional level making a play for clientele across the nation.
As of 2012 there are nearly 150,000 convenience stores in different sizes and formats spread across the nation selling both fresh and packaged products. Since these stores have an average of 1000 customers on a daily basis the c store industry serves nearly 58 billion customers on an annual basis.
Some manufacturers believe in selling their products directly to retailers and large format warehouse clubs to reduce distribution costs and remove the middleman. These producers have a distribution network which delivers directly to stores in the local region and replenishes stocks either once or twice a week. Manufacturers of fresh products like vegetables, fruits, ready to eat sandwiches, cakes, salads and as such have this kind of setup and grow their clientele on a slow and steady pace. The first step of every product launch requires presentation in the right manner to distributors and retailers so they accept the responsibility of distributing or displaying the product as they see profits in the exercise.
Importance of varied sales strategies – To make your product promotion effective and likeable you have to present it smartly so it captures the attention of target customers and does not get dismissed as another addition to existing group of products. Just as one size does not fill all shapes and sizes, you need to have different sales strategies and approach style for approaching c-store distributors, grocery store chain managers, c-store managers and decision makers and wholesale distributors or dealers. Marketing experts will ask you to first contact buyers of local retail stores and distributors before you approach large chains to demonstrate your products’ capabilities. As most large reputed c store chains do not encourage unknown products, the first step in trying to sell your products would be to approach Tier 3 or Tier 4 retailers who will be encouraging and can even help direct your sales strategy. Once you have a sales graph and customer preference to show around, both small and large convenience stores and grocery chains will come to you for business.
Marketing your product effectively – Before going for a product demonstration, visit the store to see their products which are similar to yours, so you can build a stronger strategy and present your product as a unique one which will bring more business to the store chain’s shelves. People have a tendency to develop affinity to a brand so build your sales strategy about its special features as a brand and how it is different from existing similar products in the market. Design an attractive presentation and gauge your market segment so you can target them at your first demonstration to have a sale. Do not waste money on large scale marketing campaigns if your product is not available at the large retailers as that is where people will look for them first.
Advertising in trade magazines and attending trade shows – Instead of having a media, concentrate your advertising in trade magazines like Bevnet, Cstore Decisions and others which will put information about your products directly into the hands of retailers and product distributors. Instead of waiting around worrying about whom to approach and how to get your product into convenience store, attend trade shows which have invitees who will be beneficial to your business. Many first time manufacturers have reported success through these trade shows as they are able to meet several prospective customers in one place. Trade magazines can bring your products before traders who are looking for new and innovative products to enhance their product line.
Contact every prospective buyer – When your product is ready for sale, purchase a list of distributors and convenience stores where you want to place your product. Getting contact details of decision makers at these places is easy as you can buy a directory of c-store distributors and start sending out feelers about your product. The most effective strategy during this cycle is to have a ready script and procedure for each level of discussion and maintain correspondence with each one of them via email and phone call until all of them either accept your product or refuse to carry your product. Remember to carry samples for each meeting with prospective customer and leave them there so you can gather their opinion at the next meeting. When you are invited to in-store demonstrations carry samples to distribute it among customers at the store along with pamphlets extolling its virtues.
Pricing your product properly – Every manufacturer wants to sell his product at a fair price and also make adequate profits to cover manufacturing costs and painstaking effort taken to make the product. If you are selling the product to distributors and they take care of marketing and presentation then just your markup is added to the total cost. The distributor then sells it to retailer or agent with his list price which is generally an addition of 25-30 percent to price of manufacturer. When the product finally reaches the customer it will combine manufacturing cost with profit margin of manufacturer, distributor and retailer. Remember to price your product competitively to attract target customers’ attention else all your efforts of manufacturing and distribution will be lost.
We focused here on bringing your product into the viewing periphery of c-store distributors and retailers and making product distribution an easy task. Try every resource and marketing tip to get your product in all the grocery store chains and convenience stores that you had lined up and do not lose heart . Make each meeting a learning experience to make your product presentation better and take suggestions positively. Instead of pushing your product on a distributor make the first effort yourself and get customers and retailers to demand your product. If you are looking for the fast track to getting your product into stores, checkout the Checkstand Program below.