If you contact any of the large retailers in South Africa, they all give the same answer with regard to new products.
“Call the senior buyer in the region in which you operate and make an appointment to meet with them. Finding the right person to present your product to depends on the category that the product fits into”, says Checkers Buyer, Petrus Ockerman. The bigger the retailer, the more important it is to be able to collaborate with their systems because a retailer’s primary concern is profit.
Before you pitch the product
Before you present your product to them ensure that the product will not increase the cost of doing business. For example, if your product doesn’t have a barcode the retailer will have to add the barcode onto the product for you; this increases their costs.
If you can include bar-coding onto the packaging, and all the store has to do is put it on the shelves, they will be much happier to carry your product.
Build a relationship
To get the big retailers to sell your product, you need to build up a relationship with them. By having a one-on-one business relationship with a senior buyer you will understand how to interface with their systems so you are paid at the agreed price, at the agreed time.
The only way to do this is to meet with all the large retailers and find one that you feel you can work with and who is willing to work with you.
Research retailer websites
Go to all the major retailers websites and read all the information they offer about their systems and processes for suppliers. Talk to store managers and get their input in terms of who to contact and what that particular retailer expects from a supplier.
Getting a head-start
This will give you a head start as this will provide you with a good understanding of how they work before you approach them. If this fails, consider entering into a joint venture with another supplier to get your foot in the door.