Nothing is more gratifying than walking into a retail store and seeing your hard work pay off. There is great sense of accomplishment when you develop something and see your end vision on the shelf. For this reason, many of my peers often ask how to get their product into retail stores.
Here are 5 ways you can get your product into stores:
Trade shows: Trade shows are one of the best ways to get your product into retail stores, but before you pick just any trade show, make sure to do your research. If you have a chance, you should attend a trade show before you exhibit. It is a good idea to take pictures and pay attention to what works for the successful brands in your industry. There are dozens of trade shows out there, you just have to chose the ones that are specific to your industry and target market.
Showrooms: Similar to a trade show, another great way to get your product in front of buyers is by hiring a showroom. They already have established relationships with retail buyers, who will otherwise take you years to connect with. Most show rooms will work off of a 10-20% commission and a small fee.
Sales Reps: Working with seasoned veterans is always a good idea. If you can find yourself an experienced sales rep in your industry, you can offer them commissions on sales. It is kind of like a traveling show room. They can attend trade shows, take outbound meetings and cover territories you would otherwise not visit.
Direct Message: “It goes down in the DM!” First find stores who sell similar products to yours by searching online. Figure out where your competition is selling their products, then research the buyer of that store on Linkedin. Finally, put together a simple message and get to the point. Include a brief background of your company and a current line sheet with pricing and ordering information.
Press: Traditional press is a great way to get into smaller stores and boutiques. If you can get a national press hit and bring exposure to your brand through a publication, you will usually always see an influx in smaller stores reaching out to you. Boutiques also like to use your recent exposure to their advantage. If you can get something really big like a product integration on television, then you are likely to hear from larger accounts or established sales reps.