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How do you market to the big boys-Costco, Sams, Walmart, etc

    • 60 posts
    May 4, 2006 12:18 PM EDT

    davenny nailed it on the money.  You don`t market to distributors.  They either won`t notice or care about ads you place in trade or industry publications or even most word-of-mouth.  It`s like trying to charm a 800-pound gorilla.

    Try to make contacts in the distributor you want to deal with and do your utmost to seek a face-to-face appointment with their buyers.  A large company has hundreds or thousands of people who all do different and specific things.  There`s little point in convincing an accountant at Walmart to buy your dealer chip invention.

    UltimateDealerButton, I think you`re definitely setting your sights on the wrong target for a distribution channel however.  Try more specialized distributors and resellers who will have a much larger incentive for evaluating and carrying the button.  It`s like marketing to a demographic.  Target those with a need.  As an example, try talking to outfits such as Pokersupply or Ragshop.

    "Forget inspirational quotes to keep you going. If by doing what you do, you get an hour every day to relax, be with the ones you love in comfort without doing wrong, then it is all worth it." -Anon.

    • 71 posts
    May 4, 2006 7:58 AM EDT

    Dear Grant,

    Great question, I have an associate who designs and manufactures products that sell in target, etc.  From talking with him and my own personal experience to I have two key tips.

    One: You call them, they do not call you!,  You have to get on the phone and start the slow process finding the right person to talk to.  Your goal is to setup a meeting to have someone review your product.  (Almost every new product in wal-mart has to go through this process).

    Two: Tradeshows, my associate goes to every retail trade show there is, the big one is once a year in Las Vegas, I believe at one of these tradeshows is where he got a direct contact with a wal-mart buy and then setup a meeting.

    Good luck, and get on the phone today!!!!



  • April 17, 2006 3:26 PM EDT

    Do any of you have experience marketing and selling to the big market distributors like Costco, Sams, Walmart, etc

    I would like to see if they would be interested in selling my product.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Grant S. Cooper
    877-332-5858 work
    972-423-5450 fax

    • 96 posts
    November 16, 2010 7:08 AM EST

    If you want to market to the big boys then you must use LinkedIn.

    LinkedIn? Yes LINKEDIN!

    I have connected with top notch distributors in global markets via LinkedIn. In fact several of the distributors that I've connected with on LinkedIn flew to Israel to meet with the companies I work with.

    During these meetings I took some notes from the various distributors:

    "I'm always on the look out for unique products that are first to market"

    "I browse LinkedIn because I know thats where the entrepreneurs and inventors are hanging out. Every so often I stumble on a good product thats worth looking into"

    "The buyers like me and they like the products I present to them. I need to protect my reputation with these guys. I have to get my hands on hot hot products!"

    "On LinkedIn I join very specific groups related to the products I deal with. I check those groups at least once or twice a day for any interesting postings or relevant news. If I see there is someone worth connecting with - I'll connect."


    1) If you want to target distributors on LinkedIn - join the relevant groups to the product you are promoting.  Posting something like: "Looking to Connect with Distributors in the Home and Garden Industry" In the body of the email - keep it short with some pre-selling information about your product and then add your contact details.

    2) Or you can utilize the people search option on LinkedIn and search for the relevant people by keyword. When you find the right people - send them a short message asking: 1) If they be interested in learning more about your product 2) If they can recommend relevant people that you could connect with.

    Believe it or not but option 2 is extremely powerful!

    There is a lot more to LinkedIn - but I hope this is helpful for now!

    --- - Marketing and Lead Generation for Israel's Leading Export Companies PiTag Media - PiTag Media uses online tools to provide increased value for start ups and large companies. Connect with me on LinkedIN

    • 4 posts
    December 3, 2006 2:22 PM EST

    You might want to forget about Walmart.

    All you have to do is watch the Frontline documentary "Is Walmart Good for America". id=189530&strkid=1338331077_8_0

    After watching it, you`ll see why I said forget about them. 

    • 1 posts
    November 14, 2010 8:46 PM EST

    It's probably gonna be a long shot because they're very much established businesses and would require a lot from you to prove to them that you're deserving of a slot in their stores.

    Good luck!



    • 1 posts
    November 17, 2010 4:10 AM EST

    It is a long shot because they're very much established businesses Maybe you can actually invite the bigwigs to a <a href="">beer pong</a> match and see if you can sway their minds after they've had one drink too many during the match. Of course, I'm kidding. But who knows? Just put your best foot forward and present your business to the bigwigs the best way you can. You can do it!

    • 13 posts
    May 4, 2006 7:31 AM EDT
    Here are some insights.

    Costco Corporate Initiatives:
    “Treasure Hunt” shopping experience – 25% of total inventory changes every six months to keep people engaged and walking throughout the entire store.

    “Road Shows”
    In-and-out tactic the chain favors
    Products sold in booths in stores or in parking lots
    Often serves as a launching pad for new products at the chain
    WARNING - Whatever you don`t sell you are forced to buy back. So if you ship 1 pallet to say 200 stores and don`t sell out, be prepared to pick-up all the excess merchandise.

    Pricing - they are net net pricers. 14% mark-up on all items. You need to come in low then the 14% mark-up needs to be under the national retail averagre price.

    REMEMBER - Costco is 60% small bus. and 40% consumer so if your product is consumer focused its harder to sell in.

    Be prepared to offer the best price in the nation. "Lowest Price, Always" should say it all.

    Good Luck!
    • 619 posts
    April 18, 2006 12:32 PM EDT
    Hey Brian,
    Thanks. That was great. (the link)

    Vincent Wilcox (a.k.a. KRAKR)
    My band: Letters Make Words