5 Ways to Get the Attention of a Retail Buyer (#3 is super easy!)Oct 01, 2021
written by Josanta Gray Emegano
Launching with a major retailer can be a major turning point for entrepreneurs. By default, you’re increasing your brand awareness, and gaining access to new customers that probably wouldn’t know your brand outside of the store. Retail distribution can serve as the catalyst for the next stage of growth for many entrepreneurs. However, the initial roadblock is gaining access to retail buyers or key decision majors that can stock them on shelves.
Buyers receive hundreds of cold emails and pitches a week. Therefore, if you want to connect with them in a meaningful way here are five ways to grab their attention and stay on their radar.
- Attend tradeshows
If you’re in beauty, check out Cosmoprof, FounderMade, and Indie Beauty Expo because hitting the tradeshow circuit will allow you to get some organic or even scheduled face time with buyers. Some tradeshows have databases that allow you to search attendees by category and industry. From there, you can use their portal to reach out to the buyer and schedule a meeting. Alternatively, you can set up an eye-catching booth at the tradeshow. Make sure you have plenty of samples and the ability to adequality demo your products for attendees that are walking by. I’ve had clients score meetings with Sephora buyers just because the buyers happened to walk buy their booth at a tradeshow and found the product intriguing.
- Increase your press coverage
Have you seen articles like 24 Standout Skincare Products Absolutely Worth Trying or 19 Best Mascaras, According to Allure Editors? Yes, they’re everywhere! There’s a listicle style article for every product and category. Consumers use them to make educated purchasing decisions and buyers read them to keep a pulse on new products in the marketplace! If you have a great product, make a point to increase your press coverage by investing in a publicist or building organic relationships with writers and editors. Keep in mind ample press coverage does not happen overnight. Therefore, please don’t place unfair expectations on your new publicist. Editors sometimes write these articles in cycles therefore you’re on their schedule! But, once the coverage starts rolling in consistently, it’s highly likely you’ll see buyers reach out to you directly!
- Apply for retail programs curated for indie brands
Retailers like Sephora, Target, and Macy’s all have created business development programs to help indie brands gain access to their stores. If selected, you will go through a program that teaches you how to work them. They’ll cover curriculum that will give you insight into best practices for how you should fulfill orders, plan marketing campaigns, connect with funding sources, and grow your brand through their channels. These programs were created to provide consistent and ongoing resources to entrepreneurs who may be new to entering retail. Upon completion, you are often given the opportunity to stock with the retailer online or in-store!
- Use a third-party website that will give you direct access to buyers
Buyers have limited time, therefore they use resources like RangeMe, ECRM, and Faire to filter through thousands of brands and match them with those that meet their criteria. This is an easy way to get discovered by the world’s leading retailers from the comfort of your own home. But, these resources will cost you and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be granted the account.
- Hire a retail sales representative or distributor
In general, a distributor is an entity or company that buys products and sells them directly to another business or end consumer. There are many nuances that can make working with a distributor complicated for entrepreneurs who are just starting out. Therefore, you may opt to work with a sales representative like Grayscaled Media, a boutique firm that helps indie brands navigate the gray areas of retail distribution. The company was created with the intention of helping indie brands avoid costly mistakes when growing their retail presence. As a sales representative, Grayscaled Media will create a strategy and use their buyer relationships to pitch your products to your preferred retailers.
Photo by FounderMade.