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Sell to Big Box Retailers

    • 1 posts
    December 2, 2008 5:02 AM EST
    Dear ethnicomm,

    I am the corporate sales manager for a computer manufacturer, who is making a new and unique mobility product for the "ultra portable" pc market. This market segment is HOT! I have been only been actively working at getting into big retailers for a month now, and I already have 5 evaluation units in the hands of buyers.

    I think it is obvious from what I have read that they are interested, as I was able to bypass all the typical application processes etc. The thing I am  having trouble with is getting feedback from them. How can I make them get off the fence and take action? I was initially encouraged by their obvious interest, but am getting frustrated. 

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Alex
    • 270 posts
    June 29, 2007 8:49 AM EDT

    Oddly enough I had visted your web site before when I was thinking about buying a sauna.  At that time I found your site using Google.  This was a few months ago.  Then and I noticed now, your web site does not tell me how to buy one.  At leaset as far as I can tell.  Are the majority of your sales direct or through resellers like Builder Depot and Amazon?

    ---
    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 270 posts
    June 29, 2007 9:15 AM EDT

    Ethnicomm how did you know they were selling on Builder Depot and Amazon?

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    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 270 posts
    July 2, 2007 6:45 AM EDT

    Ethnicomm - you see where I was going.  It is very hard to play both sides of that fence.

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    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 270 posts
    July 2, 2007 8:34 AM EDT

    For whatever my two cents is worth, if you want to sell wholesale, your web site should send your customers to the retailers you sell to.  You need to let your retailers know they are getting leads from you when you do.  You need to be aggressive to get keep your resellers selling.  When you sell direct and wholesale at the same time, your retailers feel like they are competing with you and they will be less likely to promote your products.  Any time someone can buy directly from the manufacture, there is a good chance they will pay more to buy direct than take a chance on a reseller.  Most large retailers know this.  Especially with a product like yours that people might be afraid of warrantee and other issues.

     

    If your resellers are not moving your products and you cannot get them motivated, then make the decision whether selling direct is a better idea.  If this is the case, forget about wholesale and move to being more flexible in price.

     

    I feel that trying to be in the middle of the road for your type of product will yield in lower overall sales.

     

    ---
    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 270 posts
    July 2, 2007 9:16 AM EDT

    I am not sure.  You are already being sold by national retailers on the web which will upset local retailers.  If you get into say, Lowe’s and offer exclusive rights, they are nationwide and that makes it more complicated for your local retailers again.  You might offer selling to just Lowe’s over Home Depot or the other way around though.  But if you do, don’t give them exclusivity over your local retailers.  I would be careful with offering exclusive rights and make sure there is performance guarantees over a specific time frame.  Exclusivity is something that can bite you in the tail too if you are not real careful.

    What about new home builders and home remodeling companies?

    bert2007-7-2 14:17:41

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    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 270 posts
    July 10, 2007 5:05 AM EDT
    SaunaKing is the video clip at your home page your company or your supplier?

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    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 270 posts
    July 10, 2007 8:00 AM EDT

    I think this should be clearly explained on your home page somewhere around the video player.  Since the company names are different it looks like this is where you get your products.  This would give a big retailer the wrong message and make them think they could go directly to that company and leave you out of the deal.  If at all possible you should show your company name in the video not the unknown one.  Otherwise this a very mixed message that will detour many customers, both retail and wholesale.  It is my opinion that this is true even though it is a very good video.  I hope this input is helpful.  Noticed this when I was shopping at your site today so I thought I would let you know...

    bert2007-7-10 13:1:16

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    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 270 posts
    July 18, 2007 5:23 AM EDT

    I am sure there are many sites like this one, but recently I found a site that is selling through big box retailers.  They are doing what I have been suggesting as the way to do it right.  The site is http://sunforceproducts.com.

    ---
    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 270 posts
    July 18, 2007 8:19 AM EDT
    I am really confused now.  Where does one purchase your products?  I know you say places in this thread but you have not given your visitors a clear path to purchase.  When you go the the site the SunForce site you just click on "Where to Buy" from any page and you know.

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    Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
    Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers

    Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com...

    • 51 posts
    June 28, 2007 4:17 PM EDT
    Saunaking - do you have a website where I can take a look at your products? Is this the same product that is selling at BuilderDepot and Amazon?

    There are many questions that I need to ask before I can offer any useful advice. Bottom line - your offer has to be exciting enough to get the buyer`s attention.

    Do the accounts you have been trying to get in to currently carry a similar product? If so, is there a compelling reason for them to consider your product (aside from potentially lower price)?  Any innovation, unique point of differentiation that the retailer can leverage against their competition?

    If this is a totally new product, does it fit into their retail concept?

    Do you know the name of the buyer for this category?

    I`d be happy to review your communication with them to see if there is something that can be tweaked.
    ethnicomm2007-6-28 21:21:56

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    A good idea is a good idea NOW![sup]TM[/sup]

    ethnicomm inc. | sales | marketing | web | strategy consulting

    • 51 posts
    June 29, 2007 4:13 PM EDT
    Bert  - I googled infrared sauna + saunaking and saw items on Builder Depot and Amazon :)

    SaunaKing - if your business strategy is wholesaling, then why are you retailing online? This does not send a good signal to the potential retailer who might want to carry your line. Just curious.

    ---
    A good idea is a good idea NOW![sup]TM[/sup]

    ethnicomm inc. | sales | marketing | web | strategy consulting

    • 51 posts
    July 3, 2007 5:13 AM EDT
    Exclusive territory rights will not give comfort to national retailers. You probably have unique products at Costco, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. These are three different channels so there should not too many issues here. If you get Lowes or Sam`s Club, it will be a different story as you will then have two players in the same arena. Bert is bang-on with his comments.

    Even though you are going through OEM, you DO have a connection with your retail customers. Who provides the after sales service and support? Their QC department will probably want to tour your facility? Do you brand the products sold to these retailers?

    Will you be going direct to the national retailers now or is there still a relationship with the distributor? If the OEM product is not branded SaunaKing, you can propose two lines - the OEM and a premium SaunaKing line.

     

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    A good idea is a good idea NOW![sup]TM[/sup]

    ethnicomm inc. | sales | marketing | web | strategy consulting

    • 51 posts
    July 3, 2007 9:41 AM EDT
    Are the parts branded SaunaKing?

    If you go direct, you will destroy your relationship with the distributors. You might want to propose that they act as your branded product distributor as well - negotiate a reduced rate and have them help you grow your brand.

    This will allow you to learn more about the supply chain and how things like returns are handled.

    I would seriously think about what role your online business will play in future.

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    A good idea is a good idea NOW![sup]TM[/sup]

    ethnicomm inc. | sales | marketing | web | strategy consulting

    • 51 posts
    July 21, 2007 12:59 PM EDT
    I don`t think you need to have a warehouse, rent, employees etc and you certainly don`t need to sell online.

    The large retailers will do an DI program with you - let then commit to a container and pass on the savings to them. You get an LC first, produce to order as per their pickup date and minimize the risk.

    There are many examples of 20 year old companies getting clipped by innovative and aggressive companies that know how to make it work using current technology and know-how!

    How do you know that KB`s business strategy is the best? What if another mfgr from China decides to do exactly what you are doing but goes direct? Then you have TWO issues - phasing out the middleman while combating a new entrant into the marketplace.

    ---
    A good idea is a good idea NOW![sup]TM[/sup]

    ethnicomm inc. | sales | marketing | web | strategy consulting

    • 51 posts
    March 20, 2009 11:58 AM EDT
    As a former buyer, I would not suggest sending an email and being so direct. Buyers are busy but if you`re proposal is compelling, they will think about it. The reason is that they do not want to miss an opportunity to differentiate or risk being embarassed that a hot product is carried at their competitor. When the boss asks "did you know about this product" the buyer does not want to say "yes but I was too busy to check it out".

    I would suggest a voice mail - it`s harder to ignore than an email. The key is capturing their interest so they DO return the call.

    ---
    A good idea is a good idea NOW![sup]TM[/sup]

    ethnicomm inc. | sales | marketing | web | strategy consulting

    • 12 posts
    June 28, 2007 1:52 PM EDT
    I am a company that sell Infrared Sauna Rooms (wholesale). We have been trying to get into Costco, Homedepot, Target, etc. Tried everything, calling, applying on line, writing to the headquarter...nothing seems working at all. Would someone acturally know where to satrt, or is there any tricks to get to talk to the right person? Hopefully we could get some help or advise!!! Thank you!
    • 12 posts
    June 29, 2007 8:30 AM EDT

    www.saunakingproducts.com

    Yes, we are selling at Builder Depot, and Amazon. There are so many brands of infrared sauna rooms (mainly manufactured in China) Besides lower price, we are ETL certified quality, inventory guarantee, flexible orders

    The hard part is we dont know buyers name for our product line. Tried to get names by calling headquarters, merchandising office and etc, no results.

    We have great product, "enough" compatitive advantages. What frustrated us was not knowing where, who, and how to approach to our potential buyers (given the fact that we are a very new start up company)

     

    Thank you so much for the nice advise

    SaunaKing2007-6-29 13:32:7
    • 12 posts
    June 29, 2007 9:05 AM EDT
    Right now, we are in the process of updating our website. Soon, we will have ecommerce available on site. You are right, we do retail on our own site at manufacture suggest retail price. Our business strategy is wholesell to retailers (big box retailors preferred).
    • 12 posts
    July 2, 2007 8:05 AM EDT

    Well, Our website retail price is MSRP, (we won`t sell below that) it is more for directing the market price for "SaunaKing" products. Like other big producers sell their products thru their own websites at MSRP. Im just guessing here that we can do the same thing...

    • 12 posts
    July 2, 2007 8:58 AM EDT
    Bert-- Will offering exclusive rights (to thier territories) help reassuring our retailer`s concern or worries?
    • 12 posts
    July 2, 2007 11:41 AM EDT

    It works this way. Our products got into Costco, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. It is done by a middle man business (thru OEM) Thus, we have no connection with those stores. This business model lasted a couple of years in harmony. As the sauna manufacturing factories started to expand in China, our client started to significantly cut our profit margins, large amount payment delays and etc. So, we decide to become our own middle man, opened our office and warehouse in America. Yet, we wont sell any models (about 6-8) that are designed only for them.

    At the moment, we are trying to advertise our own brand name "saunaking", when we pick up our number of retailers, certainly that would enable us to slow down or stop retailing.

    We attended a kitchen and bathroom show in Las Vegas called the K. Biz show, and got some leads from there. Porbably, need to attend a lot more.

    • 12 posts
    July 2, 2007 11:44 AM EDT
    We havent got the right fit outside sale person yet to develop relationship with new home builders and home remodeling companies. working on it...
    • 12 posts
    July 3, 2007 9:23 AM EDT

    For the OEM part, our distributor provides the after sales service, since they have their own engineer and technician team. They ued to be manufacture. We do provide parts though. The products sold to our retailors are OEM with their logo on.

    We plan to go directly to the national retailers. At thins point we still have relationship with our distributors since we are not strong enough to stand up on our own yet, matter of fact, way from being able to get into big box retailers. Not knowing how those supply chain works, plus new to the online market, make us a little lost

    • 12 posts
    July 10, 2007 7:15 AM EDT
    It is our factory based in China.