You’ve done it; you’ve decided to set up an online store. Whether it's a side hustle or an exciting new business venture, finding distribution is the next step to your success.
But how do you find a distributor? And more importantly, how do you find a distributor that you can trust? There are many different distributors out there, and they will not be the perfect fit.
Suddenly you find yourself desperately searching, trying to find a distributor that can boost your business without costing too much.
Soon it seems like an impossible task. But it does not need to be! For we have a fool-proof way to find distributors for your business. Want to know more? Just keep reading to find out how to find distributors.
What is a distributor?
Before we dive into it, let’s have a recap for those who need it. A distributor will work with retailers to get your items placed in their stores across the country. Having a distributor can boost your sales and allow your market to extend online and to physical stores.
Distributors will be paid by yourself, so be sure to factor in your business plan’s cost. Now that we have covered what a distributor is let's move on to find out how you can find a distributor for your business.
How to find distributors
When it comes to finding distributors, there are a few methods you can choose from. You can choose one or a combination of methods to find the best distributor for you.
Often, industries will have trade associations where retailers, manufacturers, and distributors meet together. These are fantastic places to find a distributor that will work with you.
To find these associations, you can use the National Association of Wholesalers (NAW) who keeps a list of all the trade associations in your region.
You can join the trade association to learn how other manufacturers sell their products; who knows; they might recommend the perfect distributor for you? Be sure to follow their best practices to ensure that you can be accepted into the trade associations and find your distributor.
Trade shows are another place you can find distributors to work with potentially. Large trade shows can see hundreds of distributors and manufacturers under one roof, the perfect place for you to make new connections!
Attending trade shows can provide you with an insight into distributors, their availability, and how they work. Perfect for new businesses starting out! Why not take a look and find some trade shows near you to attend?
At trade shows, it’s best to interact with other businesses who can provide distributors’ insight, success rates, and requirements. Why not try and get a referral or introduction? After all, word of mouth matters!
For all its flaws, social media can be a fantastic way to find distributors. Groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other forums can be useful places to meet distributors or see first-hand reviews from other manufacturers that have used their services.
When all else fails, Google is there to catch us. A few searches can help you to find distributors that are suited to your products and business.
Once you have found some distributors, you can contact the distributor directly to discuss the potential of working together.
A wholesaler is the retail-facing side of a distributor, and you can find these through directories that cover your industry.
While wholesale directories are targeted towards retailers, you can still utilize these directories to find distributors that could be useful to yourself and your business.
What to look for in a distributor
Now that we have covered what a distributor is and where to find them let’s take a quick look at what you should look for when it comes to your distributor.
You will want to work with a distributor that can support your business without ignoring it.
Larger distributors might not always have the time to dedicate to your business, be sure to check the distributor to dedicate to your business beforehand.
While general-purpose directors are fantastic for generic products, those selling more niche products or require more knowledge, you might be better suited to a distributor with more knowledge or expertise.
When searching for a distributor, why not search by your area of expertise or any niches? Refining your search can help find the perfect distributor for you.
Goals and values
You will need to find a distributor that aligns with your goals and values. These will ensure that your business grows the way you want it to. For example, if you’re going to specialize in small independent stores, find a distributor that shares your values and can achieve these goals.
Along with this, it is also worth considering the stability of the distributor’s business. The last thing you want to do is deal with late payments or long waiting times for callbacks; you want to work with a business you can trust.
It's worth considering the distributing company’s sales force to ensure that you can boost your sales as much as possible. Consider the size of the teams, both inside and outside of sales, and how many sales they can generate.
Any good distributor will be willing to provide you with this information too.
Alongside sales competence, consider the marketing capabilities of the distributing company. You will want a distributor with excellent marketing skills and can promote your products on multiple channels, both online and offline.
You will want a distributor that understands the market and can find a suitable place to sell your products.
It’s worth asking the distributor some questions about the market and how they think your product will fit into it.
And there you have it, finding distributors is an easy task! Utilizing multiple methods can help find a distributor quickly.
Be sure to conduct your research and have some questions prepared to get the most out of meeting your potential new distributor!