If you have a decor line or any physical products, you might want to figure out how to get into retail stores to expand your sales network. This article will discuss the pros and cons of selling through retail, and how to get products in stores so that you can make an informed decision about which route is best for your business.
In the Home Decor Product Business Article Series, we cover how to launch, grow, and expand your physical products business. In this article, we cover
- whether wholesale is the right choice for you
- what you need to have in place to successfully sell in stores
- what kind of stores you should consider
- what’s the difference between stores
- where you can find the stores that might be interested in your products
- a simple mechanism to get into retail stores fast
Is wholesale the right choice for you?
Selling wholesale is a great way to increase your profits and reach new customers. It’s an effective way to get your products out into the market, as it allows you to sell in bulk, however, at reduced prices.
However, it is important to consider whether or not wholesale selling is the right choice for you. The first thing you need to assess is your profit margins. Can you afford to sell through external stores or are your profit margins already tight?
For example, if you sell handmade products with high production costs, it might be very difficult to add additional tiers between you and the end customers. Then again, you need to also compare the cost of selling directly to consumers, where a large portion of your revenue will be invested back into your marketing.
In my opinion, wholesale is the way to go, particularly if you want to expand your brand to several markets, and you want to do it fast.
What you need to have in place before you reach out to selected stores
Before you start approaching stores and potential wholesale partners, you need to have price lists and product catalogs. You also need to have figured out your logistics; how you plan to ship your product to your new retail store partner.
Another great thing to think about is your packaging and volumes – what kind of minimum order quantities will you offer? What other terms do you need to set before you start reaching out to stores?
Store owners are very selective of the products they stock. Their main concern is to keep the products flying off the shelves, and since most often their space is limited, they need to know that the product they select actually will sell and do it fast.
So, as the brand owner who wants to get into retail stores, your job is to secure your reseller partners that your products will sell.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but there are some measures you can take to improve the probability to sell lots of your products in the selected stores.
One more thing: you need high-quality images and marketing materials that your store partners can use in their marketing.
What kind of stores should you consider?
See I just mentioned “selected stores”? When you start your wholesale journey, you want to select the stores you want to partner up with. And while you most likely won’t get into your dream store directly (it could happen, it happened to me, and I share below how!), you still want to select the stores that you want to start with.
Also, you want to make a list of stores that you don’t want your product into! Not that they’d somehow magically end up as your clients, but they might approach you at some point, and you need to be clear on your own rules and non-negotiables.
Example: your rule might be that you don’t sell at low-cost stores because your brand is premium. For my brand, that was the case. I listed all the stores of stores, or special elements typical stores, where I didn’t want to sell my products. This work must be part of your brand identity creation.
What are the different store types?
There are multiple different store types you can choose from, but here are the most common ones:
A department store is a large retail outlet that offers a wide variety of products, ranging from clothing and accessories to electronics and home goods. Department stores usually carry multiple brands and offer customers the convenience of one-stop shopping.
They are typically divided into sections for different product categories, with each section staffed by salespeople who specialize in that particular product category.
A specialty store is a type of retail business that focuses on selling niche products or services. Specialty stores typically offer a wide selection of items, ranging from clothing and accessories to home goods and electronics. They are often located in high-traffic areas such as malls, shopping centers, or downtown districts.
Specialty stores provide customers with the opportunity to purchase unique items that may not be available at larger chain stores.
Additionally, they often provide personalized customer service and knowledgeable staff members who can assist customers in finding the perfect item for their needs.
Supermarkets, Hypermarkets, and Super Stores
Supermarkets, Hypermarkets, and Super Stores are all types of retail stores that offer a wide range of products at competitive prices.
Supermarkets are typically smaller in size and specialize in food items.
Hypermarkets are larger stores that offer a variety of products from groceries to electronics and household items.
Superstores are even larger than hypermarkets and often offer a wide selection of goods from multiple categories such as clothing, home goods, toys, etc.
All three types of stores provide customers with convenience as they can find everything they need under one roof.
Convenience stores are retail outlets that offer a wide range of products and services to customers. They are often located in busy areas, such as near train stations or airports, and provide quick access to items like snacks, drinks, and other necessities.
Convenience stores usually have extended hours of operation compared to traditional grocery stores and may also offer delivery services.
Customers can also benefit from the convenience of being able to purchase items they need quickly without having to search for them in multiple locations.
Discount Stores are retail stores that offer products at discounted prices to customers. They generally offer a wide range of products from apparel, electronics, and home goods to food and beverages.
Discount stores often have lower overhead costs than traditional retailers, allowing them to pass on savings to their customers. Additionally, they often feature clearance items or special promotions that allow customers to save even more money.
Warehouse stores are large, multi-level retail establishments that offer a wide variety of products at discounted prices. They are typically located in large, open-air buildings and offer customers the ability to purchase items in bulk.
Warehouse stores are known for their low prices, vast selection of items, and the convenience of shopping all in one place.
Additionally, many warehouse stores also offer services such as curbside pickup and delivery options. Warehouse stores provide customers with an affordable way to shop for a variety of products at discounted prices.
E-commerce stores are online shops that allow customers to purchase products and services over the Internet. They offer a wide range of products, from clothing to electronics, that can be bought with ease and convenience.
With the help of e-commerce stores, customers no longer have to go out of their way to shop for items they need. Instead, they can simply browse through an online store’s catalog and place orders with just a few clicks.
E-commerce stores also provide an easy way for businesses to showcase their products and services in a more efficient manner. This makes it easier for businesses to reach out to potential customers and increase sales in the long run.
Showrooms are physical or virtual spaces where products and services are showcased to potential customers. They are used by companies to create awareness and generate interest in their products.
Showrooms can be used for both online and offline marketing, allowing customers to interact with the product before making a purchase decision.
Showrooms can also be used as a place for customer feedback, allowing companies to get an insight into what their customers really think about their products. Showrooms provide an engaging experience for customers, making them more likely to buy from a company they trust.
Drug stores, also known as pharmacies, are retail outlets that specialize in the sale of prescription and non-prescription drugs and other medical products.
Drug stores typically have a wide variety of products ranging from over-the-counter medications to vitamins, supplements, and beauty products.
They may also offer additional services such as immunizations or health screenings. Drug stores provide customers with access to a range of healthcare professionals who can answer questions about medications and provide advice on how to use them safely.
Salons are a type of business that provides beauty and personal care services. They offer a wide range of services such as hair styling, nails, makeup, and massage.
Salons can be found in many different types of locations, from high-end spas to small neighborhood shops. They often have small stores connected to their waiting areas.
Shop-in-shops are retail stores within larger stores, where a single brand or multiple brands can display and sell their products. These shops provide customers with the convenience of shopping for multiple items in one place and also allow brands to showcase their products in an attractive and organized manner.
Shop-in-shops are becoming increasingly popular as they help customers find what they need quickly and easily, while also providing brands with a great way to promote their products and increase sales.
Where and how you can find stores
Now, let’s dive into how you can find the stores you want to work with. Once you know what kind of stores you are targeting with your sales outreach, then you need to list the ones that you want to contact.
You most likely have some brand idols, right? Where do they sell? Would these stores suit your products, too?
When you know your end-customer type, it’s easy to find the stores where they shop. If the rest of the store’s supply fits your brand and products, it’s a great place to start.
Does your product require special skills?
Some products, such as specific electric devices, require skilled personnel and specialty stores to be able to sell to customers. The best place to find them is to check your competitors’ wholesale partners.
A simple mechanism to get into retail stores
To be able to sell your products to stores, you need to approach them with an offer they cannot refuse. This means something that is easy to buy, and a smart solution.
Look, if you sell home decor, the best way to get into retail stores is to create a sample pack of your real products (not samples, but a selection of your sellable products), and sell that for a fixed price. Also, you could allow your new store clients to return the goods, or exchange them for something else in your collection, within a certain time period.
This reduces the risk they take when they decide to bring a new brand to their store! This is exactly what made us get into hundreds of stores across 17 countries in 2 years.
If you sell bigger items, then a sample item to the showroom is a must, and you could sell it at a discounted price. If you don’t have that possibility, or your store partners don’t have space to keep your product, make sure you create a superior brand book, catalogs, and other materials that they can use to sell your products and hand out to their customers.
Prepare a sales pitch for retail stores
When you know the benefits for the store, then you can easily create a sales pitch for them. Your sales pitch should always start with introducing your products and how they can help the store owner get to their goals, which in many cases is to sell more of their products.
How to contact buyers for retail stores
The best way still is t contact via email, but don’t just leave it to one email. You need to follow up over time, so create several email sequences that you can automate.
You could also pop in a store, but my recommendation is not to do it when it’s their peak hour. They won’t have time to look at your products. You can also schedule a video call where you do a product demo from the comfort of your (and their) home or office space.
When I had identified the store I wanted to get in, I popped in and asked them to carry my collection, without paying for me upfront. That allowed me to get my products in that major store, which in turn served as a great brand authority builder when approaching other shops.
Tradeshows offer also a great opportunity to meet your buyers, so dive into the next part of the series to learn how to exhibit at national and international tradeshows!
To sell to retail stores, you must educate them
Just because you know how to sell your products, it doesn’t mean your retail partners know. And no, I’m not solely talking about how to sell but also how to market your products and brand.
You need to educate your retail partners in sales and marketing, show exactly what your brand message is, and how they should describe your products; the brand story, the benefits, and the features.
If you know how to generate traffic and customer online, then train your reseller partners in that too! It’s never a bad idea to share tips and ideas that can make them, and therefore even you, sell more!
Gameplan for getting your products into retail stores
You should now know how to get your product into major retailers if that is what you want. Also, you know what you need to have in place if you wonder how to get your product into boutiques. Whichever your chosen strategy is, remember this: stores and boutiques are always looking for new and exciting products to sell to their customers, and getting your product in retail stores is not impossible. Keep pursuing and use the wholesale strategy as one of your growth activities!
Frequently Asked About Getting Into Retail Stores
How do I determine if selling wholesale is the right choice for my business?
Consider your profit margins and production costs. If you can afford to sell through external stores and want to expand your brand quickly to reach new markets, wholesale selling can be a beneficial option.
What do I need to have in place before approaching retail stores?
You should have price lists, product catalogs, and a clear plan for shipping logistics. Determine your packaging, minimum order quantities, and other terms to set with potential store partners.
How can I convince store owners that my products will sell?
Provide store owners with high-quality images, marketing materials, and success stories about your brand. Show them how your products align with their target customers and offer assurances such as the option to return or exchange products within a certain time period.
What types of stores should I consider approaching?
Consider stores that align with your brand and products. This could include department stores, specialty stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, discount stores, warehouse stores, e-commerce stores, showrooms, drug stores, salons, and shop-in-shops.
How can I find the retail stores I want to work with?
Use the follow-the-leader technique by identifying where your brand idols sell. Research your competitors’ wholesale partners if your product requires specialized stores. Additionally, attend trade shows to meet potential buyers and build connections within the industry.