What retailers want

There are a lot of myths and stories about retail buyers that can often put producers off approaching them. But whatever you hear – don’t worry – they are not as scary as they are sometimes portrayed to be!

What is true however is that they are busy people and have a limited amount of time to see potential suppliers. If you want to get into retail, it is therefore important that you make the most of your opportunity by ensuring you present and sell your product in the right way – it’s all about doing your research prior to the meeting and often about using the right language.

Firstly, you will need to show them that you understand their business specifically – demonstrate that you know their strategy, their priorities, their customers, their range.

Tip 1: Read up on your target retailers in local, national or trade press, speak to staff, visit the store(s), pick up leaflets and observe.


It goes without saying that you will have utter belief and bags of enthusiasm about your product – and this is exactly how you want the buyer to view it after meeting you.

But to get to that point, you will need to ensure that you give the buyer or store owner all the information they need, so that they are in no doubt that your product is right for their store:

  • Is there a consumer demand for your product (refer back to our tips on understanding your consumers)?
  • Very importantly – have you got your sums right?
  • Is the retail price going to work in their store and the category (Remember – different retailers have different pricing and promoting strategies)
  • Is it going to deliver them enough sales turnover?
  • Will the profit margin be high enough for them? (Different categories and different stores may have minimum margin requirements to meet)
  • Suppliers are always competing with others for space – so why should the buyer choose your product instead of product x already on shelf? Or is there a consumer rationale for both products being there?

Tip 2: Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes – think carefully about the key points and facts they will need to get from the meeting in order to be able to make a decision – and make sure all these are covered in your presentation. Ask questions to help you meet their needs, don’t just talk ‘at’ them.

Retail buyers, like most people, don’t like being told what to do, but they do like suppliers to be knowledgeable about their product and the overall category – so it is always good to have suggestions  and to be able to clearly explain the benefits to them of listing your product.

Bitten off more than you can chew?

Don’t worry! When Relish Food Marketing Club launches in March there will be bags more resources about the different stores and retailers, including a simple guide on how to write a sales presentation, the lingo explained, interviews with retailers and much more.

Good luck!

Got a burning question now? Get in touch on [email protected] for a chat about how we can help.


Image courtesy of Suat Eman, www.freedigitalphotos.net