So you’d like to increase the number of retailers and stockists that sell your food products - but not sure how to go about it or where to start?
Launching a wholesale range and pitching to retailers can be a bit of a minefield when you are first starting out or once you’ve secured your first couple of listings and are looking to expand the number of stockists.
In this blog post I’ll share my 7 Steps to getting your food products stocked with retailers. There are no guarantees when it comes to working with retailers but these tips will considerably improve your chances of success.
1. Write out a list of stockist you'd like to work with
It helps to have a clear idea of who you would like to sell your wholesale products to. Are you looking at supermarkets, independent farm shops, deli’s or gifts shops. Or department stores? It’s a good idea to do some research and draw up a shortlist of stores and stockists. Always do the work to check that your products are a good fit for them, and equally that is the right sort of retail outlet for your brand.
2. Work out your wholesale prices
Working out your wholesale pricing is a crucial. You need to make sure you get your margins/marks up correct and do the work to make sure that you have a financially viable proposition. Don’t forget to factor in costs like shipping and listing fees or any marketing / publicity that the retailer may require. It’s also really important to future proof your pricing strategy to allow for bringing in distributors / intermediaries when you start to scale and need extra support to service a growing number of outlets.
3. Pitch to retailers
This may look like a bit of an obvious one, but in order to grow your range of stockists, you have to actually pitch to them. You can’t sit back and expect stockists to come and find you. Sure, some stockists will contact you when they come across your products but you can’t rely on this. If you find a stockist that you would like to work with then you need to pitch. Don't be frightened by the thought of pitching or let the fear of rejection stop you.
Related: 25 Great Places to Sell Your Food Products
4. Having a clear wholesale process in place will help
What I can tell you from my own experience, and the experience of the food businesses I work with, is that achieving success when working with retailers is not about how wonderful, unique and delicious your product is. It’s not about how large your business is or how much backing you have behind you.
It is absolutely about process. It’s about lining your ducks up in a row, having a process mapped out that you follow and test and tweak over time. And setting time aside every month to contact retailers, pitch, follow up. And rinse and repeat etc etc.
5. Getting wholesale stockists takes time
Like so many things in business gaining listings with retailers takes time. In all honesty, more time than you think it will. I’ve spoken previously about gaining a listing with Harrods, which took me 3 years in total. Even if you get an immediate reply (not unheard of!) buyers can get busy so sometimes things go a bit quiet in the middle of negotiations. Buyers often change mid way through the year. Once you’ve got further down the line, there is often a fair bit of paperwork and internal sign off needed. It all takes time and quite often there is very little you can do to speed things up. So you just have to make sure you’re doing everything you can, but then just go with the flow.
Related: How to Sell Your Food Products to Harrods
7. Persistence pays when it comes to working with retailers
Launching into offering wholesale is not a short term, quick fix strategy. It’s about building long term mutually beneficial relationships with retailers over a period of time. Some listings you’ll get straight away, others will allude you in spite of all your pitching, follow up etc etc. It kind of just goes with the territory and you can’t take it too personally. And you definitely have to toughen up a little bit and learn to cope with rejection when it comes. Because it will. In the Game of Retailers you will win some, you’ll lose some. But don’t give up. It may be a ‘no’ for now, but that could change. As buyers change, as trends change, as suppliers change.
So there you have it my 7 Steps to getting your food products stocked with retailers
So tell me, who are your dream retailers that you would love to get a listing with?
Have you tried pitching to retailers? What has been the result?
Til the next time
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Hey I'm Nila. I make beautiful iced biscuits and I'd like to help you launch or scale your baking business. Welcome to my blog.