Locating And Who Are Convenience Store Brokers And How They Can Start Selling Your Products

November 14, 2013

Many of you might be wondering what the meaning and role of Convenience Store Brokers. These brokers have a wealth of knowledge and normally have the contacts that you so desperately need when starting out in order to get your product into retail outlets, stores, chains, and in front of the buyers, distributors, and wholesalers. A unique company called the Checkstand Program www.checkstandprogram.com uses a broker/service model that you should take a look at. They guarantee to get your product into anywhere from 200-5,000 convenience stores instantly. Not to get off topic, but you will need to be ready with a full sales presentation to sell the broker when you contact them. You will also have to understand the business model of a broker. Gaining an understanding of what the broker faces and how you can assist them is vital as your role with the broker continues past the first conversation.

When discussing the distribution channel some of the commonly used description terms are:

Convenience Store:

A convenience store, corner store, or corner shop, is a small store that stocks a range of everyday items such as groceries, toiletries, alcoholic and soft drinks, tobacco products, and newspapers

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convenience_store

Direct sales: This indicates that the sales are of the company is handled by its own sales force.

Representatives: They are independent contractors who promote the Company’s line. In order to justify the direct salesperson, they will carry the product lines to the places where sales volume is not large. Usually the reps do not take the title on the product and work on 5 – 20 percent commission.

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.

Source: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/wholesale-and-manufacturing-sales-representatives.htm

Private label: In this private label, the product will be made by a company and it will be sold to another company. That sold product will be marketed by the company which buys it and it will sell the product in its own brand name.

Brokers: The brokers are very similar to reps but are independent from a company they are serving and they receive the commission for the product sold. Brokers mainly concentrate towards buyers rather than sellers. The rep will not be having wide range of competition since he will be dealing with different products but the broker will be having many competitors since he will be dealing with narrow range of the products. If you are looking for a list of convenience store brokers, you should check out www.cstoredistributors.com as they provide a list of over 2,000 c store brokers with their directory.

Their Convenience store brokers List has c stores brokers in the following states: Alabama AL, Arizona AZ, Arkansas AR, California CA, Colorado CO, Connecticut CT, Delaware DE, Florida FL, Georgia GA, Hawaii HI, Idaho ID, Illinois IL, Indiana IN, Iowa IA, Kansas KS, Kentucky KY, Louisiana LA, Maine ME, Maryland MD, Massachusetts MA, Michigan MI, Minnesota MN, Mississippi MS, Missouri MO, Montana MT, Nebraska NE, Nevada NV, New Hampshire NH, New Jersey NJ, New Mexico NM, New York NY, North Carolina NC, North Dakota ND, Ohio OH, Oklahoma OK, Oregon OR, Pennsylvania PA, Rhode Island RI, South Carolina SC, South Dakota SD, Tennessee TN, Texas TX, Utah UT, Vermont VT, Virginia VA, Washington WA, West Virginia WV, Wisconsin WI, Wyoming WY

Using a Broker

Many small companies decide to hire a food broker to sell the product into stores. The broker is a contract sales representative and besides conducting the sales many brokers offer a wide range of services, for a fee, to their principles. As a rule, brokers are not responsible for the shipping, invoicing or inventory control of products at the store level. The broker’s role is to make the sale, represent the “line” to the retailer and assist on the “pull” of the products at retail.

Pros and Cons – Brokers

Source: http://agr.mt.gov/agr/_downloadGallery/Selling_to_Grocery_Stores_Manual_Attachments/The_Role_of_Distributors_and_Brokers.pdf

Specialty retail distributors: They are the distributor who serves for the smaller markets like bike shops or baby stores. These are the distributors who take the title of a particular product and promote it. They usually carry a lot of products from a product oriented inventor companies. In most of the distribution plans of inventor companies’, they are the key component.

Trade distributors: Normally these distributors deal with the tradesmen versus consumer or industrial oriented accounts. Some of the distributors are: wood products distributors, auto parts distributors and plumbing distributors.

Wholesalers: They serve as a distribution point between the manufacturer and their customers. Wholesalers do not provide the promotion and services. Usually they do not carry the products from an inventor since they purchase large stocks of the product.

Some companies which are not having enough sales will choose the representatives. These reps help in growth of sales of that particular product.

You might be aiming for Target, but big-box retailers want to see a track record. Online sales are one way to provide evidence that your product can sell. Another is to take it to small stores, maybe even stores where you shop.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/business/smallbusiness/21sbiz.html?_r=0

Brokers’ contacts and their past experience is a great way to judge if they can show success with your product. Many brokers will only represent a product that has a national account or charge a huge retainer monthly. This is a common requirement with many of the larger broker agencies. You may have to piece together many brokers and independent reps in order to get started.

Common requirement is a huge retainer or a national account:

SALES: Typical start-up sales retainer programs start at $6-7,000 per month for business development–They can negotiate this rate for more or less accounts to fit your needs and budget.

Source: http://sharperedgesales.com/

You will need your brokers and sales reps to become brand ambassadors. They will need to educate everyone they come in contact with about your upside and why you will be distribution successful. This is a vision and without it your brokers will perish.

Reps and brokers have very challenging and ever-changing roles. If all goes well, they are unsung heroes, with the brands, distributors and retailers all enjoying good sales, growing happy customers and appreciating the role that each played in making sales. If, however, things aren’t going well, the reps and brokers become scapegoats, the ones who let the others down and caused problems.

Source: http://newhope360.com/blog/sales-reps-and-brokers-key-managing-supply-chain

Finding the right broker: What to do when you start looking…

If you have the contacts from our lists, which you get when you purchased them, then you are ahead of these previous steps. You don’t have to put in the countless hours to find the right contacts and then see if the information you have is correct.

Brokers are looking for items to represent. They look for items that can be sold to the distributors, stores, wholesalers that they already have a relationship with. They look for items that turn regularly, have a good story, and are a great product. You must solve the problems in sales while your product is on the shelf. The broker is not there to solve that, they are there to supply you with purchase orders to get it to the shelves. This is a valuable point and I hope you get it.

How to find Convenience Store Brokers and distributors? This is the process we went through as we sold distributors to develop our directory of convenience store distributors, convenience store brokers, and other valuable contacts.

Step 1: First thing you need to do is that look for a trade shows, trade associations and magazines. You will find the trade associations and magazines even by searching in internet. You can refer Gale’s Research Directory of Broadcast and Magazines media and Gale Research Encyclopedia Association since these two directories will be having a wide groups even for the smallest magazines and trade associations. Once you find them, you must visit their site and look for the manufacturer’s distributors and representatives.

Step 2: List of manufacturers available in the industry should be made into a list. This list can be found in the trade magazines and association websites. If you visit the websites you will get to know more about list of exhibitors. On the website look into the SIC codes of different companies. Based on the SIC codes make a list of different companies of the industry.

Step 3: After visiting the website you will be getting a list of manufactures representatives and a list of distributors. A number of the companies will be searching for the distributors or representatives. Look for the companies which like to market you products. Once you find, now you will have enough volume when combined together which will entice the manufacturing reps or the distributors to carry the products.

Convenience Store Brokers are a great resource for any business looking to move in the convenience store arena. These brokers have contacts with the distributors, store buyers, and other useful resources. They are normally specializing in one class and trade such as tobacco or candy. Many are firms that have merged over the years in order to represent more lines and be able to handle the needed administrative task in a batching format. They batched all the paperwork into one company instead of three companies doing the same thing.

CAROL STREAM, Ill. — Three of the top regional convenience store brokers are joining forces to form the National Alliance Network (NAN), which will offer regional coverage on a national basis

Source: http://www.csnews.com/top-story-supplier_news-regional_c_store_brokers_forming_national_alliance-63810.html

Saverino & Associates, Total Convenience Marketing and KC Krafts–three regional convenience industry brokers–have come together to form a sales network to bring a “new way of doing business in the convenience store channel,” they have announced.

Source: http://www.cspnet.com/category-management-news-data/general-merchandise-news-data/articles/three-regional-c-store-brokers

When you are looking to gain access to an account or market, a great place to see how hard it will be is to contact the distributors and brokers in that area and find out what the market is like. Ask them what it would take and what are you seeing. Be inquisitive.

Good luck in your sells and feel free to ask us any questions and maybe we can help you at 888-439-6468