If you are a creator and inventor, you need to bring your invention to the market and have people use them. Many developers of products often seek larger companies to sell their products to and with it their patents also get taken over. While that may work out for some, for the most part, creators are left to fend for themselves in the market. How then does one sell their wares? Should you just set up a shop dedicated to your product and try to sell them as is?
Understanding different types of stores
One way to kick start your sale is through convenience store chains and grocery store chains. Super markets and large departmental stores are places that have a high visibility and the chances of people seeing and picking up your product is higher here than any other place. First, let us see the primary difference between these types of shops.
A convenience store, on the other hand is usually targeted at quick buying, people drop in to buy things that are needed in an emergency and get out as quickly as they came in. Think of a store in a gas station. People don’t linger and normally don’t ‘shop’. They are there for a reason and they do not have time. The types of products that are sold in a convenience store are also quick, single serve products.
A grocery store is a type of supermarket that sells provisions. The line between a convenience store and grocery store is slowly merging as C stores are widening their product range and grocery stores also sell everything you might find in a C store. Grocery stores are also typically much larger than convenience stores and have a range of products to choose from.
A supermarket is a self-service grocery store that sells more than just provisions. When supermarkets get really big and each section is markedly separate, it can be called a Hypermarket or a departmental store.
Now that we have that defined to an extent, how to get a product into them?
Selling in convenience and grocery stores
There are a number of reasons as to why you would want to sell directly. First, it is one way to get people to know your product by using it rather than hearing about it through an advert. Second, it saves on a lot of marketing cost, which may never reach the target demographic. Third, you have real time data on how the market is reacting to your product and that is invaluable information. How can you get your product on to the shelves of these stores?
The first and most obvious option is to go through distributors. Distributors are people who have a network of stores in various places and the place where the retailers buy their products from. If you go through a distributor, you will have to pay a few fees along the way, but they are sure to get you slots in various stores around the city or locality. There are a number of distributors who cater to specific products and stores.
Contact the chain directly
Most convenience stores and grocery stores are run as part of a larger chain. So one company is bound to have many stores around the city. If you are able to sell your idea to the management, you can easily then move your product into a number of their stores where you can sell well.
Wholesalers are the people who sell goods to retailers. The difference between a wholesaler and a distributor is that a wholesaler will typically not do any marketing or selling for you. Wholesalers stock goods and that’s it. It is a lot simpler, but you will have to convince the retailer and then the wholesaler that your product is worth their time and they should be able to get behind it. Wholesalers also purchase large stocks of products and keep their stocks rolling.
Rack jobbing is the practice where you can rent out a portion of the store, a rack, for example in a particular location. The goods will be yours till it is sold and you will only get paid if the product sells. It is a way to cut losses for the store, while giving you the opportunity to sell a lot of products by advertising them and making them look attractive and eye catching. If you have seen a rack or display near the cash counter that sells products that are not normally found inside the store or from a brand that you might not have heard of, that is a rack job.
Agents and reps
You can employ reps to go to individual stores and sell your product to them directly. If they are able to convince the store to take up your product, you can send a consignment over to their place. It is quite an old school method, but if you have the right reps, it can be a powerful way to make sales. If you cannot justify the cost of employing a sales force, you can approach a larger company and sell through them. Many companies will be willing to club your product with their own and make use of their sales persons to market your product to other grocery and convenience stores. You will be charged a small fee for it, but that is often less than hiring a whole team to work for you. In this case you can even break off partnership when your product makes it and gets popular.
Selling is all about emotion. You must be able to evoke an emotional response from not just your end customers, but also the people you are selling to. Your product needs to be different, and should completely justify the price you ask of it, while serving its own unique purpose. If you have a great product, selling it shouldn’t be all that difficult as it should have the potential to sell itself.