Selling products through your own e-commerce website is a fantastic way to give worldwide customers access to your range, and gives you total control over how you market your items. But if you are looking for accelerated global growth, it may be worth considering making your products available through well-known retailers. If you are thinking about unlocking more global markets, building trust and gaining more exposure for your products, read our top tips for selling to retailers to maximise your chance of success.
As product creators, designers and sellers, most of us have probably visited websites or walked into shops and thought ‘I’d love to see my products on sale here’. When thinking about who you are going to approach to sell your products, put these dream retailers at the top of your list. If you don’t ask, you don’t get – and securing a major multi-national retailer could spell significant global growth for your brand. Try not to feel intimidated – do your research, and find out if your product fills a gap in their current offering, or if not, identify what sets your goods apart from the others they already stock.
But don’t jump the gun!
If you have no previous experience in delivering pitches, it may be worth having a few test runs with less strategically significant retailers. Take a look at your list – are there any retailers that would be ‘nice to have’, but it wouldn’t be too devastating if they said no? These could be a good place to start, where the stakes are lower. Think about smaller retailers, or those based in markets you already know well. You will be able to put your pitching skills to the test, get a feel for what the market is currently looking for and you never know – you could get lucky and secure your first order.
Find out who to approach
Just as when you are applying for a new job and you research your employer, it is worth putting some time in before you approach your target retailers. Use the company website or LinkedIn if necessary to find the right person to contact. Buying teams are very busy and many are inundated with ideas for new products every day, so choose wisely to ensure you don’t waste your time – or theirs. Consider putting together an ‘elevator pitch’ to explain why your product is suitable in as little time as possible to pique their interest, and be sure to follow up with the retailer once they have had time to look at your product. Remember the process might be different in other countries, so ask specialists so there are no surprises on the day.
Whether or not you accept an exclusivity contract is entirely up to you – is one high-value order worth more than several smaller ones from multiple retailers? Does the retailer offering exclusivity sell to all of your target markets? Are they likely to rebuy? Or would you prefer to sell your products through many retailers selling to different audiences? Even if retailers don’t have a presence in certain markets, they may still ship to them, so it is worth thoroughly researching their websites to see what sort of audience you could reach.
When selling to retailers, it is essential to know your rights when it comes to your intellectual property. Always seek legal advice before approaching any retailers to ensure your ideas and products are protected. Selling to retailers can be a highly effective way to boost sales for global growth and brand recognition, and through thorough preparation, you can ensure you are in the best possible position to sell to international audiences.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in our top tips for B2B selling, top tips for B2C selling and overview of the difference between B2B selling, B2C selling and selling to retailers articles.