Tips for a prospective new vendor

Interesting discussion on Retail Wire about how vendors can and should approach new customers. The discussion was triggered by an article in a food industry trade publication, but the conversation applies equally well to general merchandise stores.  There are a few cardinal rules that vendors should follow, especially if they are making their first sales pitches to prospective accounts:

1. Shop the store ahead of time: Gain an understanding of how your product fills a needed void in the assortment (in terms of category, price, whatever) rather than duplicating existing content.

2. Understand the strategic positioning of the store: Don’t present merchandise to a buyer that is completely out of sync with her company’s direction or target market.

3. Edit your assortments: The buyer is dealing with limited shelf space, opened to buy and has the ability to test new products. Make your presentation as concise and focused as possible, instead of trying to show “everything under the sun.”

While these are good guidelines for an initial presentation, the established vendor should pay attention to the same rules.

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