Distributing Products – Is My Product Ready For Mass Distribution?Distributing products is an ideal way for companies to reach their target markets. Before beginning this endeavor, however, it is crucial that you first become acquainted with all of the different distribution channels. Distributors act as intermediaries between manufacturers and retailers or consumers, offering extensive networks and market research for their clients.
1. Know Your MarketNo matter whether you are just beginning or are an established brand with an impressive sales team, having a clear understanding of your market is paramount to reaching target audiences effectively and using distributors effectively. Conducting extensive market research into your potential customer base (which includes determining market size). Determining your market size is vital for successfully selling and making a profit with your product or service. This metric should typically be calculated over an annual period and can be determined via various methods. An alternative approach involves taking into account all market transactions and using this as your base estimate. Another is taking a bottom-up approach by calculating statistics from supplier businesses to competitor brands and multiplying this amount by how many transactions each one is responsible for. An effective way to accurately measure your market is through conducting a segmentation survey, which gathers customer demographics such as age, gender, income and geographic location. A segmentation survey can quickly establish your market size and give an accurate representation of its potential. Understanding your market size is integral for reaching customers effectively, but conducting market research can be daunting for any entrepreneur. Luckily, tools exist that can expedite this process quickly such as market sizing survey templates. Once you understand your market size, the next step in meeting growth objectives is choosing an effective distribution strategy. There are three primary options: intensive, selective and exclusive distribution. Intensive involves making your product available across as many outlets as possible to gain maximum attention; selective distribution limits the number of outlets where it will be sold while exclusive strategies may help luxury brands maintain their image intact.
3. Know Your DistributorFind the Right Distributor For Your Product is essential to its success, so finding a suitable one is of utmost importance. Distributors specialize in sourcing, delivering and merchandising products to retailers – an integral component of the supply chain – so finding an appropriate partner will help get your product into market more quickly and ultimately make money. There are various methods for finding and vetting distributors; one way would be reaching out to local trade associations or asking other businesses in your industry who work with whom. You could also reach out and reach out to other businesses within their industry and inquire who they work with or contact other businesses within that sector for recommendations. After carefully considering their sales history and growth potential, also explore their inventory management, shipping procedures and logistical considerations. You should try to discover whether they sell multiple products – this will give you leverage in negotiations – as distributors want high-quality, scalable products with substantial profit margins that attract their attention. Furthermore, having an engaging sales pitch or business plan will go a long way toward winning over potential distributors. If you are serious about your product, take the time and effort necessary to meet with distributors and demonstrate that you can work together successfully. This may mean placing some early orders to demonstrate that they can be fulfilled successfully as well as provide support. Furthermore, spend at least some time riding along with their sales team so you can see how they interact with customers. If you are not quite ready to partner with a distributor yet but know that your product can meet retailer demand, selling some units on consignment may be an ideal way to test the market and build up your reputation without investing too much capital. Keep in mind though that distributors tend to focus more heavily on profits and cost so find an arrangement which benefits both parties involved.
4. Know Your PackagingAs soon as you’ve been given permission to design packaging, it is vital that you understand its intended use. Your package serves as the silent spokesperson for your product on shelves or displays, so it must not send the wrong message. Identifying who your target customers are is also key – for instance if selling baby products to parents who prioritize eco-friendly alternatives, your package could feature more sophisticated aesthetics than that used for high-tech electronics. Consider taking some time to visit the stores where your distributors will sell your product; this is an effective way of seeing how other brands present their product and how yours might compare on shelves. Furthermore, this visit allows you to identify any logistical considerations like food safety regulations that must be considered before designing product packaging. Once you have all this data in hand, the time has come to design your product packaging. Remember that your goal should be to reach its ideal consumer. If you’re selling baby products to affluent parents, your packaging must reflect that; but if selling new brand of shampoo to men may require something shabby chic instead. As part of your packaging design, it is also crucial that the contents accurately represent what lies within. Falsifying content will quickly lose customers’ trust – once this happens they may never come back. When selecting colors and graphics to use for your package’s outside label design be mindful. Anything too loud or garish might turn potential customers away before even opening your package; to avoid this scenario choose hues and images which are both eye-catching and pleasing simultaneously.
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