Would you like to sell a product to Whole Foods Market?
Are you looking to get your products sold at Whole Foods? Karen Waksman, founder of Retail MBA, has some tips to help you succeed. In this segment, Karen explains the differences between major retailers and Whole Foods, and how to make the most of the opportunity.
Whole Foods vs. Major Retailers
When trying to get your products into a major retailer such as Walgreens or Walmart, there is typically one corporate buyer who buys products for all of their stores. This means that if the buyer doesn’t like your product, you won’t be able to get it into the store.
Whole Foods, however, buys on a regional level. This means that you can potentially reach out to several different buyers within Whole Foods to get your products into them. This gives you more opportunities to make money, as one buyer might not have enough budget to buy your product, but another buyer in another region might be able to.
Tips for Getting Your Products Sold at Whole Foods
- Reach out to several different buyers within Whole Foods to get your products into them.
- Take advantage of the regional buying system to increase your chances of success.
- Consider taking Retail MBA’s comprehensive training program on how to get your products into stores.
How to Sell to Whole Foods
Getting your products into Whole Foods can be a great opportunity for success. By taking advantage of the regional buying system, you can increase your chances of success. Consider taking Retail MBA’s comprehensive training program to learn the exact steps from start to finish on how to get your products into a retailer such as Whole Foods.
To Your Success,
Founder and CEO, Retail MBA Brands
Email: info (at) RetailMBA.com
P.S. Retail MBA provides a step-by-step formula on How to Sell to Major Retailers, Online Retailers, Smaller Retailers, Catalogs and More. No Experience Required! These solutions continue to convert for clients year-over-year! These are Time-Tested and Proven Strategies that we utilize ourselves when going after stores! Everything we teach, we test. Want access to these formulas? ANY one of our programs and coaching systems gives you access to them now. With that said…
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About the Author: Karen Waksman, Founder and CEO of Retail MBA, is an Entrepreneur Magazine, MSNBC and New York Times Company go to retail expert on the subject of selling to retailers! Karen has sold millions of units of products to the world’s largest retailers and has taught 1000’s of product companies across the country on the subject of selling to retailers at places such as CES (Consumer Electronics Show), US Patent Office, Stanford University, International Home and Housewares Show and so many other places. Her goal is to empower and inspire companies to transform their businesses by providing them all of the necessary information they need to become chain store vendors.
**Logo is a Registered Trademark of Whole Foods Market, Not Retail MBA!**
Ten Tips for Selling into Chain Stores Such as Whole Foods Market!
1. The biggest buyers in retail are looking for you at Whole Foods
Most people don’t realize how important it is for a big retailer to buy new and interesting products. It’s a big part of how they buy things. At the end of the day, big stores have a lot of competition, and their customers are picky and want the next best, newest, coolest thing in the store. The people who buy for stores know this, and they are always looking for new things to sell. It has never been easier to get your products into a chain store. You just need to know how to set up your product so that the buyer will buy it.
As a retail consulting firm, we work with brands in every product category! See what we are doing here: https://www.retailmba.com
2. You don’t have to be a big business to sell to Whole Foods.
In fact, most of the companies I have worked for over the years were just starting out. It’s true that buyers care more about finding the right product than about how big your business is. If you have a great product that they think will bring in money for their business, trust me, that’s all they’ll care about.
They don’t care if you’re a big or small company; they just want to make sure you’re set up correctly to be able to ship products to them. I talk about this in my Retail MBA Training and Coaching System, which you can find here: https://www.retailmba.com. But just know that you don’t have to be a big company to sell to big retailers. I know this because I’ve worked with small businesses that were just starting out, and I also teach this to a lot of small students who are just getting started.
3. Your success depends on how you package your items for Whole Foods.
If I could give you any advice about selling to big stores, it would be that you should always spend more time, money, and effort on packaging. The reason is that when you walk into a store, you don’t look at your product. Instead, you look at the product in its packaging. People won’t buy your product just because it’s good; the way it’s packaged is also very important. So, whoever is selling a product needs to make sure that the packaging is good, because a buyer will pay attention to that because they know that packaging drives sales. And this is what buyers care about. So packaging is a must if you want to succeed.
4. To help you win, you need to do your homework and research.
Most people don’t realize how much they can learn just by walking into a store and looking at the product aisles. In reality, you can find out exactly what a buyer wants to buy by looking at what they put on the shelves of their store. A store shelf will tell you everything you need to know, from what your retail price should be to how your packaging should look. If you look at it from the buyer’s point of view, they chose one of your competitors. Which means that they bought your competitor’s products that are already in the store. This means that the buyer likes the product as it is: the price, the packaging, and how it’s set up. You can learn how to get your products into stores by going into a store and doing the necessary research and homework.
5. Avoid Vendor Departments
What that really means is that you shouldn’t call the front desk of a chain store and ask how you can get your products into their stores. Basically, you should avoid doing what everyone else does, which is to fill out the online forms. So, if you call a big store and want to get your products in the stores, most people call the front desk. The front desk then sends them to a department, which could be a website page or an 800 number or something.
And they ask you to fill out a lot of paperwork and send them your products. I think that’s the worst way to get your products into stores because you can’t set yourself apart. You’re doing what everyone else is doing, and it’s up to fate and whoever is processing stuff online to decide whether or not your products should get into stores. I teach people how to do what professional retailers do, which is to contact the buyers directly. I teach you what to say to buyers to get them to buy, but tip number 5 is to skip the vendor departments and go straight to the buyers. Don’t stick to the rules and don’t go after chasers. 4:34 by calling the front desk and filling out a form. There are other ways to get your product into stores.
6. Find the name and contact information for the right buyer.
Most people don’t know that there are places you can go to get a buyer’s contact information and figure out which buyer is in charge of your product type. So, there are companies that sell lists of buyers’ names. For example, RetailBuyerLists.com sells lists of buyers’ names. This is an example. In my program, there is a full tutorial on how to do this. And if you look at their contact information, you’ll be able to see what the buyer is supposed to buy.
So, if you have a consumer or store product, you can find the specific buyer who will buy it. There are companies that sell this content that you can use, and it’s very important that you find the right buyer for your product type. Again, I talk about all of this in detail in my program, but it’s important to keep in mind.
7. Be nice to the people who help the buyers at Whole Foods
What’s the meaning of this? Well, most people don’t know that buyers often start out as assistant buyers. And what they mostly mean is that assistant buyers will soon become buyers. So, all buyers start out as assistants and then become buyers. Most people think of assistant buyers as secretaries, people who are assistants, etc. But I think it’s a very, very bad idea because assistant buyers will soon be buyers, and if you’re nice to them, you’ll be able to get your products into stores in the end.
You have no idea how many times being nice to an assistant buyer helped me get a product into a store. I was different from everyone else to them because I knew how valuable they could be in the long run. I knew that they would eventually buy that type of product, so I knew that they could be worth a lot. I’m always nice to the assistant buyer because of this, which is also something to think about.
8. Explore vendor day
So what is vendor day? Vendor day is a day of the week, month, or year when a buyer lets potential vendors or people with products come to their corporate office and pitch them. It’s just one day where the buyer goes and maybe 10 sellers can go and basically pitch their goods. Most of the time, you only have 15 to 30 minutes with a buyer, so this is your chance to shine and “wow” them. So, that’s the end of vendor day. Buyers always do this because they are always looking for new things.
So, I think it’s very important for you to know that vendor day is a great way to get in front of a chain store buyer. Now, I have a lot of other ways to get my products into stores that have nothing to do with vendor day. I like to meet with buyers one-on-one, and I don’t want my competitors there at the same time as me. So I’ll always try to get that buyer on my own, but if there’s no other way to get a product into a store, I’ll have to go through vendor day.
And here’s a quick tip on how to do that (how to get a meeting with that buyer for that vendor day): just call their assistant and say, “I would like to be a part of your next vendor day.” So, on vendor day, their assistant buyer can help you get a meeting with that buyer. So that’s something to think about, but again, there are so many other ways to get products into stores. I usually use vendor day as my last resort, but it is a way to meet with a buyer. Again, you only have about 15 minutes, and then it’s on to the next vendor. This buyer meets with vendors all day, and if they like your product, they might buy it. This is what vendor day is, and it’s important to know.
9. It’s all about the numbers
I can’t tell you how many of my students have called me after going after chain stores and not realizing how many stores they have to go after to get that one hit. And the thing about selling to retailers is that you only need one chain store to say yes to your product, put it in their store, and sell it as a test for your whole business to change. One big retail order that goes well can completely change your business. So, it’s a numbers game; you have to contact a lot of these chain stores because you’ll get a lot of “no”s. It’s part of selling to chain stores, but the good news is that you only need one chain store buyer to buy your product and have it do well for you to succeed.
So just know that it’s a numbers game and that you shouldn’t give up. If you believe in your product, you will eventually be able to get it into stores, and I’ll teach you exactly what to do. But just know that it’s a numbers game, which means that you have to contact a lot of different chain stores, and all you really need is that one shot. When people get that one shot, their lives change. So that’s why I think selling to chain stores is so cool.
10. Just don’t give up
I know that the idea of selling your products to big retailers seems overwhelming, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not that hard. All it takes is time, effort, focus, and desire. If you really think your product should be in stores, you don’t give up, you keep going, and you get your product into stores in the end. I’ve had students who reach out to a lot of buyers. It’s very discouraging and frustrating, but then one day they get a “yes,” and their whole lives change. It was so worth the journey. If I could give you any advice, it would be to keep going.
I hope that these top ten tips for getting your products into chain stores give you at least a taste of what it’s like to get your products into stores. In my Retail MBA program (https://www.retailmba.com), I go over the whole process of getting a product into stores, including how to pitch buyers, but I thought this was a really good start to get you going.