I’ve created an accessory for the iPhone that I think has the potential to be quite successful. What is the best way to get it into retail stores such as Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc.? Does it simply require a minimum number of units? If so, how many?
You have two options really if you want to get it into retail.
- The direct approach, make contact with the proper category buyer from the store (this can be extremely hard to do without some type of inside contact)that your product would fit in. you will need to then get a presentation together to sell them on the ideal. Just because you think it is great means nothing if the buyer doesn’t feel that it is a fit. You will then need to negotiate the selling price and profit margins… and when i say negotiate I mean that many times they will dictate the financials to you.
The hard part with this is that most big box stores would require that you have a certain amount of inventor already to go before they even decide to purchase(and you would need to prove that you have it). The last thing they are going to risk is reserving a shelf spot for a manufacture that is new and risky. Sometimes they will even take a certain amount of product, guarantee you x amount of time on the self, and if it doesn’t sell then they return the product back to you and you are left holding the inventory.(this is common with Wal-Mart)
- The next option is for you to sell your product your self and through small distributors and to also promote the product in a variety of ways. Once you have a proven success it is easier to get in the door at a big box store. heck if the product takes off they may even contact you which is even better yet as then you hold all the cards.
Well I think first go for social media marketing and if possible also create a new site with your accessories clearly visible. Market your accessories with your eCommerce site is wonderful option instead of going for retail stores. However, online selling success will be automatically in demand on biggest retail stores.
The other two were very politicaly correct in not telling
you outright, that you reach for the impossible.
Selling it to the buyers of smaller shops on a trade fair or via
direct contact should be the less risky and potentialy rewarding
Show us what you got!
mo-i: Nothing is impossible (except perpetual motion machines and world peace).
I would suggest trying to find a salesman that already has contacts at the store. This way, your product already enters with some personal credibility. On the negative side, you’ll have to pay for this, or promise some % of sales/profit.
Another thing to consider is brokers. I know a retailer in Canada that uses a broker in dealing with sourcing. They can also offer that helping hand. Having said that, they charge a significant amount of money up front with no guaranty.
So that’s leads us back to the others. Start small. Boutiques, online. Try to get publicity through blogs etc. If enough people see your product and express desire to get one, the stores will eventually come to you.
Best of luck!
In my experience, the big stores won’t even put you in their system as a vendor unless you have a large range of products to sell them. You are best off finding a distributor or manufactures agent that represents a range of products in your category and already has connections with the stores you want to sell to. As mentioned before, they will expect a LARGE cut of the profits. This process can take years, so you might as well start selling to the smaller stores while you work on getting in to the bigger ones.
I did it this way:-
- Found out who’s responsible for purchases in that specific store.
- Find out when they might be available
- Make the first visit just a short one and leave a sample
- On the next visit, take a few prices of how much a product would sell for
- Give them a few samples to see how it would sell, be confident and show them why its worth it.
- Visit the store after a few days or so, help them with any material they need, posters etc… if the product don’t sell, you won’t get a re-order.
The above approach made it possible for me to win confidence with the 5+ big stores where I have my products. It’s also made the stores realize that I will go all the way to make sure my product is what it says it is and I usually throw in an hour or two to present the product to their customers on the first weekend of the product.