The Retail Dollar
Getting your foot in the door with a retail boutique, chain or franchise company can be daunting. However, once you're able to wiggle your way in with these companies, the reorder rate is high and there is loyalty that will last. In this question-and-answer session, Promo Marketing sat down with two top retail suppliers, Kevin Walsh, senior vice president of marketing and sales, Showdown Displays, Ramsey, Minn., and Chelsea Morris, marketing coordinator, Galaxy Balloons Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, who were willing to give distributors the tips and tricks to make it in this profitable niche market.
Promo Marketing: How does a distributor get into the retail marketplace?
Kevin Walsh: As with any prospective opportunity and client, research is a key factor for success. Understand the retailer you're approaching, their organizational structure, purchasing decision-makers, retail environment and existing needs. I'm always amazed by just how many practical applications for visual communications present themselves in the course of my average workday. Recognizing these opportunities and how they relate to your target is a key factor for success.
Chelsea Morris: First you must pick the right distribution system to attack. You must display the ability and product line to either add new products to their line or have a line that will increase their profits. There are several channels of distribution and you need to make sure your product line will fit within [one of those channels].
PM: Where do retail opportunities exist? Chain stores, boutiques, franchises? Within all of these arenas?
KW: The opportunities exist in each of these areas and vary in both volume and complexity. Local boutiques may be more accessible, but the revenue opportunities will be more limited. Whereas local, regional and national chains represent large revenue opportunities but require more research and persistence to land.