A student of mine called me the other day because she was frustrated that she wasn’t getting her products into chain stores. She had the right product and all of the resources at hand to make things happen, but still nothing! So she called me to figure out why. And as I asked her a series of questions, I realized that it wasn’t what she was doing; it was her expectation of how long it should take to get her product into chain stores! At that point, I knew I should probably write an article about this explaining the process a little further.

Getting a product into a chain store can be a slow and frustrating process. It takes time, persistence and the right product. However, the good news is that if you get a product into just one chain store, the return on investment can be huge! So it’s a bit of a give and take. Your ‘heavy lifting’ will be on getting that first chain store to purchase your product. But what nobody ever mentions is that if you have a product that is new, not publicly known, then you have to work a little harder to get a buyer to buy.

Why? Well, Buyers have to take some risk on a new product when they don’t have any proof that the product will sell. So the reality is that you might get a bunch of rejections at first because a buyer might not be willing to buy from you initially.

However, this does NOT mean that buyer’s are not looking for new products. In fact, quite the contrary! They are always looking for new products, but if they can lessen the risk, they will. That is why Buyer’s shop at all of their competitors stores. They want to review what products the other buyer’s have purchased. This is why you might get a buyer that says ‘no’ to you initially, and then once they see your product on the shelves of another retailer, they will suddenly become interested. It happens all of the time!

Therefore, you have to put in the hours initially to get the first purchase. And maybe it’s from a retailer that wasn’t your first choice. But if you knew how valuable that first order was to the potential success you could have with other retailers, then you probably wouldn’t mind.

So going back to the original question…how long does it take to get your products into chain stores? It’s not an easy question to answer. Sometimes it takes months and months and even a year to get products into chain stores, sometimes it takes no time at all. The real questions you should ask yourself are:

1) How committed am I to getting a chain store buyer to buy from me?
2) Am I willing to keep doing the work and not give up until someone says yes?
3) Am I willing to call a buyer back until I get them to buy from me?
4) Am I willing to find other potential retail buyers to sell my product to?
5) Am I willing to get support from an industry expert if I feel stuck along the way?
6) Am I willing to make adjustments to my product or packaging if this is the way a buyer will be willing to buy?

It’s just like everything else in life. If you are committed and believe in something, then things happen in your favor. If you do nothing, you get nothing. Therefore, if you say to yourself I will do whatever it takes to win, then you will! So go out and approach those chain store buyers! And quit worrying about time frames…all you should focus on is that you will do whatever it takes to win!

To Your Success,

Karen Waksman

P.S. If you like this content, then Click Here to learn more about the comprehensive guide we’ve created on the subject.