How to get your product into stores from a retailer’s perspective!
I get approached 1-2x per week by independent or already established brands who want to sell their products @UniKoncept, this includes: beauty brands, apparel, art/creative pieces, jewellery, and accessories. This is extremely flattering for me that they would want me to represent their brand. It’s also great that they are promoting their products and being proactive in their quest to reach an audience.
Huge BUT coming…!
If you have a product that you’re trying to launch into shops (big or small) please read the following tips carefully from a retailer’s perspective.
Know the answer to these 2 questions:
#1 Any retailer will ask you is what are the margins?
- You can answer this in two ways, you may tell them the cost that they will need to pay, + the retail price that you would like your product sold at. Generally, I can calculate the margins in my head at that point. OR you can tell them what the % or point value is of the product. This could be told as 2 points or 50% mark-up, etc.
Do your research. Make sure that you are able to make money at the end of the day, as well as the retailer is able to cover their expenses + make a profit.
If your margins are below 50% then you better have a really amazing, and unique product that people can’t get anywhere else. Otherwise it’s most likely not worth taking up store space in anyone’s shop. This may sound rude or cutthroat, but products like that are best sold at the OOAK show, or markets. Until you can cut your costs and offer better margins for retailers. Remember, space is super limited and each item needs to be pulling it’s weight.
#2 Questions: Is there an MOQ (minimum order quantity)
- Again, you can present this in two ways. If they order your product in bulk, then you can present a discount. OR, if you require your clothing pieces to be purchased in quantities of S,M,L then you must indicate this. Most retailers will prefer ordering from brands that have NO MOQ. If this model works for your business, then I suggest offering it.
Expenses per product for retailer:
Each product & staff member in a store setting MUST have ROI. What is this? RETURN ON INVESTMENT. If you have a product OR staff member that is just sitting on the shelf but not pulling its weight. It is becoming stagnant and taking up space for a product or another employee that could be producing value. This is especially important for smaller shops where space and resources are limited.
Each time an item is sold whether it’s online or in-store has expenses associated with it.
- Cost of the item it self
- Packaging: bag + tissue paper used to wrap it or shipping bags if online
- Monthly credit card fees + software fees associated per transaction
- Wages for the employee processing the sales + commission (if this is something you offer)
* this does not include operational costs of running the business
I probably get approached by beauty brands most frequently. This is a whole different market because beauty products work differently for everyone.
#1 question I ask is : DO YOU HAVE SAMPLES?
- I WILL NOT carry beauty brands that I haven’t personally tested on my self for at least a month.
I need my customers to trust that when I recommend any product (whether it’s in-store or not), that I have used it on my self.
It’s a huge turn-off when beauty brands say “no, but you can purchase some products at wholesale and test them on your self”.
This is where French Girl Organics did such a good job 3 years ago when they approached me and sent me their whole line for me to try. I picked my favourite products based on what I tested and continue to swear by them years later.
I understand that it’s difficult for every small business to provide samples without a guarantee that the products will be purchased. But that’s part of the investment and business risk that you must take. It can result in large bulk purchases for years to come. Eventually everything comes back full-circle.
Lastly, tips on how to get into shops from a retailer’s perspective (ME):
- Have samples to show
- Know the financials of the business
- Have nice and distinct packaging
- Know your story & product inside and out
- Have some basic knowledge of the boutique that you are approaching. Tailor your pitch to that store’s mission & vision
- If the retailer is interested, have immediate product ready to go. Don’t say “oh well we still haven’t gone into production”
- DO NOT just show up to someone’s boutique with your product. Make sure you email them and schedule a meeting. There is nothing more annoying than being with customers and having someone come pitch their products in the middle of your work day.
- Give the retailer at least 2.5-4 weeks to test your product before you start asking for feedback.
- Include product info immediately: Linesheets, wholesale + retail pricing, discounts, benefits, high-res images, reviews, website, social media, ordering details.
- Don’t get discouraged. You never know when that one buyer might become obsessed and continuously purchase product in bulk. Maybe I’m that retailer? :D
The fact that you even have a product and are following your dream is amazing and half the battle!! Keep it up! Let me know how/if I can help and never hesitate to ask questions. You’d be surprised how willing most people are to answer them.