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July 2012
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5 Tips for Approaching Retail Outlets and Specialty Stores

So the months and even years of turning your idea into an actual product have finally come to fruition. You’re just about ready to start getting your product onto those store shelves, right? Have you given thought as to how to approach those specialty stores and retail outlets?  Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Know your product and be ready to answer any questions about it.

If you plan on approaching retail outlets and specialty stores, then you better be ready to talk about your product. List the benefits and features of your product and be prepared to explain how your product is different or better than similar products already in the market. If a retailer asks you why their customers would want to buy your product, you better have an answer ready!

2. Do research on the retailer.

Do as much research as you can about a particular retailer. Figure out their customer profile, how the retailer’s service is, where they are located, what their standards are, and even how they price their items. Also put in time and effort to see if such retailer would even carry a product such as yours.

Afterwards, compile a list of stores you’d like to approach. Visit their websites and search for any retail guidelines. If you can’t find anything on their website, email them at their general email address and briefly ask for their retailer procedures and guidelines.

3. Don’t be ashamed to start small.

If you’re completely new to getting your product on store shelves, you may want to consider approaching small stores first. Get your feet wet! Build up your confidence and gain experience before dealing with the bigger retail outlets and specialty stores.

4. Don’t get discouraged.

It may seem like an impossible task to set an appointment with a particular retailer, but don’t give up. Work your way through their system and contact them on a regular basis. It helps to write down the names and direct lines of the point person you’d like to reach so you don’t have to pass through the receptionist every time you call.  Be friendly, but persistent!

5. Provide some of the very best samples of your work.

You may not always need to provide a retailer with samples of your product, but it’s better to have them on hand in case they request to see them. Retailers may want to see the type of packaging your product will come in, as they will have to figure out details such as whether to hang your product on a hook or display it on a shelf.  Make sure to provide clean samples that are in perfect condition, and that your sample product represents the best of what you can do.

Photo Credit: iClipart

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