Wholesale Tobacco Distributors: It’s Time to Reach Out to C-Stores’ Buyers

Despite ongoing government intervention, big name mergers and chains like CVS Pharmacy bowing out of the cigarette retail business, the tobacco industry continues to hold its own. This is especially the case in areas like electronic smoking devices, smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco and cigars. They continue to show robust growth and comprise a large percentage of convenience store sales. So as an article that appeared in the September 2014 issue of Convenience Store Decisions rightly pointed out, many C-store owners are actually looking to expand their product offerings in those subcategories.

That said, now is the perfect time for wholesale tobacco distributors and low to mid level product manufacturers to purchase an updated convenience store directory. With all of the changes taking place in the tobacco and C-store industries, we’d recommend choosing our bi-annual directory because it is updated frequently. In addition, it contains both personal and professional contact information for head buyers nationwide, which makes it easy to reach out at a moment’s notice.

Before reaching out to a C-store’s head tobacco buyer, it’s critical for sellers to recognize that it is a price driven market. Therefore, it is imperative that sellers are willing and able to offer head buyers strong financial incentives to act swiftly. Examples include negotiating promotional allowances (e.g. slotting fees), retail value-added promotions (e.g. BOGO), buy-downs and master-type programs. This may be done directly or with the aid of a Checkstand Program, which has agents experienced in handling such negotiations with both local and national convenience store chains.

In addition, it is vital that sellers keep abreast of the industry’s fluctuating regulations, voluntary guidelines, sunshine laws, advertising restrictions and FDA retail tobacco violation fines. For example, the National Association of Convenience Stores has already taken steps to prepare for potential government interference with electronic cigarette sales, which could indirectly impact how sellers market their wares to C-store buyers.

To learn more about how our C-store directory may help wholesale tobacco distributors and product manufacturers get ahead, please contact us today.