No matter how great your product, you need to get it in front of consumers to make a profit. Distributors are a feasible and cost-effective method of getting your product to the widest possible audience. Distributors are responsible for transporting all of the products you see on the store shelves from manufacturers. The distributor makes it easier to break geographical barriers and handles invoicing and collection activities so you are able to focus more on manufacturing. Researching potential distributors helps you pick the best option to increase your profits.
List potential distributors that deal with products in your industry. Ask for referrals from other business owners, attend trade shows, review listings in trade publications, ask retail buyers about their preferred distributors or search on distributor association sites.
Contact the distributors to see if they are interested in your product. Prepare information about your marketing, current sales and marketing research that demonstrates a demand for your product. Make your product more appealing by showing how it is different from competitors.
Ask for information and statistics showing each distributor's sales, growth, marketing, diversity of products offered and knowledge of your specific industry. Consider the company's reach in terms of geography and diversity of retailers it services.
Compare the costs for using each distributor, which is often expressed as a percentage of the product cost. Determine if any additional fees are assessed for processing or storing products. Review the procedures for storing your products in the distributor's warehouse.
Review the process, including how the product gets to the distributor, how payments are handled and whether or not you will have one dedicated contact at the distributor.
Review each distributor's vision statement and goals for the company. Compare those core values and goals with your own to make sure the company aligns with yours.
Contact references provided by each distributor or seek out other businesses that use the distributor to get feedback. Ask about timeliness, effectiveness and helpfulness of the distributor's staff.