Home Depot, founded in 1978, is the second largest retailer in the United States and is the largest home improvement specialty retailer in the world. It has more than 2,000 retail stores in the US including Guam, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, Mexico, China and Canada.
Entrepreneurs dream of getting their products on the retail shelves of major retail outlets like Home Depot. The big question is how to go about it. According to experts and other entrepreneurs who have succeeded in doing it, there are basic principles that can guide you.
The guide is for your and your product to get ready for a retail market, before you contact the retail store where you want your product to be sold.
1. You need to provide answers to these questions:
- Does your product answer a current and future need?
- Have you identified the right outlet for your product?
- What are the characteristics and properties of your product that makes it unique?
- Will you be able to handle the increase in production?
- Will you be selling your product directly to the retailer or are you licensing a manufacturer who will distribute your product?
2. Learn how to plan a pricing scheme that will afford you and the retailer a reasonable profit margin.
3. Do your research and browse the stores where products related or similar to yours are sold. Check the retail store and look at what other products are on display. Imagine how your own products will be displayed in the store in preparation for your presentations.
4. Decide on who will do the presentation to the retailers. You can do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
5. Fill out the application form for vendors. Make sure that you read all the details, guidelines and fine print. Give the retail store buyer at least a month after you have submitted your application before making a follow-up call or send an email requesting for an appointment.
6. Contact the buyer or category manager of the retail outlet who handles products in your category and ask their schedule for reviewing new products, their policies and procedures for selling new products. If they are interested, then arrange for a presentation schedule.
7. Prepare for your presentation. Prepare your product samples and learn as much of the business process, industry standards, including possible terms, abbreviations and acronyms related to the product, business and the retail store.
8. Prepare your team for the possible increase in volume of production.
Now that you have an idea of what it takes to be a supplier, and as you have Home Depot as your choice of a retail outlet, then it is time for you to visit the Home Depot website and check how to apply to be a supplier/vendor.
- The Home Depot website has the rules, regulations, terms and conditions they impose on a vendor. Their Supplier Reference Guide provides a comprehensive information resource. There are links to what you should do and how to go about being a vendor.
- Home Depot encourages vendors to visit a Home Depot store to see the whole range of products that they carry so you can identify in which category you belong.
- All the instructions on becoming a vendor to Home Depot are in their website. You are encouraged to check the section on Home Depot Supplier Center to read their policies.
- If you agree to their policies and terms found here, you can fill up an online application form.
- Home Depot supports supplier diversity. Their page on this topic also lists helpful information for a vendor. It is worth checking if you belong to this category. Read the message from Ms. K. Michelle Sourie Johnson, Director of Supplier Diversity of the Home Depot and explore this webpage for all the instructions and helpful information.
The process to be a vendor for Home Depot may be long, but by adhering to their rules, regulations and terms, you are assured that your product is in good hands.