During my retail buying career I have had 1000’s of products pitched to me. The reality is that I only really had a finite amount of floor/shelf space and to bring a new product in – I must make the decision of what old product I must take off the ‘shelf’.
So I thought I’d put some tips together on what I would look for when meeting suppliers when I was buying for some of the biggest names on the high street during my career:
Knowledge is power – Do your research, visit the stores and the competitors to get a grip on the market and positioning and how your products would fit in with their values, and appeal to their customers.
Suppliers/Brands who would come in with knowledge and understanding of the market were automatically talking my language and they had my full attention!
Less is more – Whilst it’s tempting to to bring 6 suitcases of product so that you can show the buyer EVERYTHING that you do – DON’T do this. Apart from lack of time, it won’t be a conducive meeting. You’ll have left the buyer confused, overwhelmed and probably bored. Instead – be in control of the meeting, from your competitive landscape – look at how the buyers are buying their products. Breakdown how you think they might be range building the range and try to present them in the same way. The buyer will immediately get it and they will know that YOU get them as a retailer. Buyers like easy to work with suppliers. The more you make their lives easier the more they will LOVE you!
Price please! This is where you need to be super prepared and have every scenario priced up and rehearsed. If it’s your first time meeting the retailer, chances are that you won’t be fully up to speed on their T’s and C’s and delivery requirements which can affect your prices. Whilst you may need to make some assumptions, it’s good to leave them with a ballpark price with plenty of buffer for the unexpected!
Delivery and shipping options – If they like your product – the first thing they’ll want to know is – when can they have it? They’ll also want to know that you can handle their volume and processes. At this point – honesty is the best policy and build in your buffer – especially if it’s the first time you are dealing with the retailer. Late delivery – is the biggest sin you can commit as a supplier to a retailer!
Be Responsible – You may have an all singing – all dancing sales brochure and have worked on your line sheets to perfection, whilst this is important – what you’ll really want to have up your sleeve to show that you have a grip on your supply chain. You don’t have to outline your entire road map, but a sourcing pack is useful to be able to pull out and highlight all the great ethical and environmental practices in your business.
Get to the point – No long winded presentations which involve a history of how the company started and was passed down from generation to generation please. Have this information to hand in your sales material – but keep your opening pitch short and sweet and get to the products quickly!
During my 20 year long retail buying career, I have been pitched to thousands of times! I know the insider knowledge of a retail head office that will help you get way ahead of anyone else! From getting your product retail ready to pricing and pitching – I have you covered.
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