Archive for the ‘Buyer Presentations’ Category

How To Be Taken Seriously By A Retail Buyer

Friday, November 12th, 2010

So, you’ve got your product and packaging done and now you are ready to make your first presentation to a retail buyer.

How do you make sure they take you seriously? Or how do you even get an appointment?

If you prepare to make a presentation to a major retailer, then you will be ready to talk with any retail buyer. Here are a few of the questions you need to be prepared to answer:

1. How does your product compare to your competition and why should I buy your product? Why should the consumer buy it?

2. What will your product do for my customers that the other products I stock won’t? What will it do for me that your competitor’s products don’t.

3. What proof do you have that your product will sell better in terms of profit per square foot per month than whatever it replaces?

4. How does your product fill a gap in my merchandising mix that will result in more total profit for my category than I make now? What proof do you have?

5. What proof do you have of your ability to deliver on time every time.

6. Does your packaging effectively “sell” your product while also meeting all necessary merchandising, protection and promotional requirements?

7. Do you have case packs in small enough units to allow me to turn my inventory quickly? Do you have all your UPC codes, EDI and RFID capabilities set up and operating?

This is not everything you need to know, but be prepared to discuss these issues and you’ll be off to a good start.

Tips For Finding The Best Reps

Friday, October 1st, 2010

If you want to sell your product to major retailers, you may need to find a good rep.

Since every rep will tell you they can sell anything to anyone – they are sales people after all – how do you know who to believe?

In short, don’t believe any of them!

Here’s how to figure out who to use yourself.

The best way is to have the buyer at a major chain tell you who they recommend but most buyers will not tell you that due to company policy. Your next best is to find out who is selling to them now.

So, how do you do that?

Go into their stores and look in the department the category buyer you are targeting has the responsibility for.

Now, you want to find products already in their stores that are in the same department but not directly competitive with you.

Contact those companies as though you were a retailer and request their catalog and local rep info. The manufacturers will gladly send you this info as they want to make a sale.

Then, approach the rep firm to represent your line!

How To Get A Target Buyer To Help You Develop New Products

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I got the senior category buyer at Target to help me develop a new product line for them.

So, how did I do it?

I had a best selling product the previous year so had developed credibility and trust with the buyer as a vendor who made products people wanted and who could deliver on time.

Then, he helped me with the artwork for my following year product line, suggested themes, colors and designs. I sent him designs our artists came up with for his comments.

Target spends more than $100,000 each year on trend and color research so they know what their customers will buy.

So, how likely do you think he was to buy my new line – especially since his input created it?

The result was another best-seller and an award from Target!

The lesson here is that if you create products that make money for retailers, your reception for future products will be completely different.

How To Prepare To Meet A Major Retail Buyer

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Most people who want to sell their product to a retail chain think that if it’s a unique new product, the retailer should give them a chance. If you want to make the sale, you need to understand how the buyer will evaluate you and your product.

Buyers have a responsibility to maximize the profit for their department throughout the chain. For them to want to make a change by adding your product to replace something else they need a good reason.

(There are no empty shelves just waiting for you!)

Here are four of the most important questions you will need to be prepared to answer:


New products are risky. From the point of view of a buyer, an unproven, new, unique product is a big risk. Will it sell better than whatever it replaces? Will it make more profit per square foot of space than what it replaces?

DO THIS: Have proof it will sell better than your competition by getting the results from selling other stores first


If your product will just replace the sales from something else, why should the buyer make a change? He needs to see an overall increase in profit for his department to make it worth the risk.

DO THIS: Study the merchandise mix in his stores and be prepared to discuss how your product is filling an unfilled niche in his merchandise mix. That will mean increased overall profit and better serving the customer.


There’s nothing worse than empty shelves due to a late delivery. The buyer has reliable vendors now, how does he know you will be reliable?

DO THIS: Be prepared to discuss your financial capabilities and your processes for making sure shipments are on time every time. If you can’t show proof you can be a reliable supplier you will not make the sale.


The only thing worse than empty shelves are products that get returned due to defects, poor packaging, or other consumer problems. The problem is not only the financial impact of your product returns, but the effect on the retailer’s customer. If the retailer loses a customer due to your defective product, they lose all the revenue from everything else that customer would buy, not just from your product.

DO THIS: Make sure you have done proper testing of both the product and it’s packaging before approaching any stores. Wal-Mart and other retailers may send your product out for testing by independent labs where it will be evaluated vs your competitors. Be familiar with all the tests than may be done and make sure you can pass them before submitting your product.