All businesses, large and small, want to sell to as many retailers as possible. Small retailers will not be a problem to deal with, and are usually flexible with terms. However, the big retailers will not be so easy, as they have a system in place, and you will have to conform to that system. Here are some tips that you can follow to help you sell to big retailers.
You need to get listed. It is one of the biggest must-haves if you want to land a spot on the supermarket aisle. Getting listed by some of the largest retailers is your ticket to success. However, getting here will not be easy. You need to get the attention of the retailer's buyers, and you will even have to influence them that your products will generate income for them. Though getting a meeting with these buyers is already a difficult task, your perseverance will pay off.
You need to have a well-defined business process. Since most retailers already have their own supply chain automation system, it wouldn't be a bad idea to adopt a business process of your own that will be compatible to some of the most popular ERP systems used by big retailers. This is where bar coding becomes useful. Part of how you convince the retailer to give you shelf space is by showing the retailer that you can adapt to their systems quickly and can have your stock shipped fast and without incident. Be honest when asked when you can deliver, and give them a realistic time frame--one that you can keep or even beat.
Patience is key. Even with a listing, you need to be patient, because it will take some time for your product to get to the shelves. Make sure you have a good grip on cash flow, because it will cost money. However, as soon as the products start rolling onto the shelves and on out through the checkout counters, the same cash that flowed out will flow back in, with interest. Keep in mind that staying in business requires you to be patient and adaptable to change.
Understand the product. It's hard to sell a product that you don't believe in. Study your product thoroughly, and make sure you have technical knowledge and documentation of your product on hand at all times. Prepare to talk about your product from various perspectives, as most retailers are pressured to sell environmentally friendly products. Have your R&D people help ensure that your product is as "green" as it can possibly be. The spin on environmental protection is a good selling point to both buyers and end consumers. Don't let yourself be caught with inadequate information on your product, especially during a meeting with the buyer. Have prototypes ready and make sure these prototypes have been thoroughly tested.
You may also get the assistance of a sales agent who has extensive experience in dealing with buyers for large retailers. Their expertise and network will prove to be helpful for you in landing that shelf space. After getting listed and finally selling to the retailers, increase your sales through advertising and public relations. More retailers will want to get your products and sales will go through the roof.