Scaling Your Sales

The dream of many entrepreneurs is to get their product on the shelves of big-box merchandise retailers. But how do you take your product from the R&D stage to stores such as Walmart and Target? We’ve compiled a list of steps needed to make your goal a reality.

1. Find Product Validation & Product Market Fit through Low Volume Sales

If you’re new to the entrepreneurial world, this cluster of words may seem overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know about creating a product: 

  •  Product Validation is a process that decides whether there is a demand for your product. Do consumers really want or need this solution you’re providing?
  • Once you’ve decided that your product is in demand, the market fit is used to determine to what degree your product is fulfilling that demand and fixing your problem. It also answers the questions of, “Is this a unique product?” “Is there a large enough market for this product?” and “How much are people willing to pay for this?”
  • Once you’ve passed those tests, you can begin selling your product in pop-up shops or similar venues. Low Volume Sales is simply a business (your business) that operates with a small quantity of goods or services. You can fulfill this by solely selling your Minimal Viable Product, which is a version of your product with just enough features to be usable by customers but also usable sales data for yourself. For example, in the food industry, you’d start by selling one item at a farmer’s market to see how customers react.  

2. Go from pop-ups to steady supply at local shops

If your product is doing well in your pop-ups, you can begin to take it to local business owners and ask them about selling their product in stores. Local or family-owned grocery stores are a great place to sell any food or drink product, whereas local boutiques are a great place to sell home and clothing products. Having a steady social media platform is a great way to get local businesses interested in selling your product. For example, tons of products go viral on TikTok daily. Bringing that kind of traction to a local vendor would be mutually beneficial for both businesses. 

3. Regional Sales: You’re ready to sell in stores that cover a specific geographic area

When your product begins to outgrow the local stores, you can reach out to smaller chains that sell over a specific region. For example, there are various grocery stores that only sell in a specific region, such as H-E-B and Brookshire’s. There are also lots of regional retail and convenience stores.

4. Big Box: You’re ready for national retailers

Big Box stores are national merchandise retailers, such as Walmart, Amazon, Target, etc. Since these corporations are so large, most of them have some sort of online supplier application, which we’ve listed below.

If you feel that your company is ready for stage four, here are some opportunities to get your product on big-box shelves:

  • 7-Eleven: 7-Eleven uses RangeMe in which you will create a product profile to display all the information needed.
  • Amazon: Amazon claims to be the fastest-growing and preferred acquisition channel for over half of their multichannel sellers, and their process is fairly simple. However, in order to sell your product on Amazon, you must create an account to sell from and pay $39.99 a month along with selling fees.
  • Best Buy: Best Buy has their Best Buy Marketplace where you will fill out their online form for them to review.
  • Costco: Costco has a Supplier Diversity Program, in which you complete their supplier intake form to see whether you qualify for their program.
  • CVS: CVS uses RangeMe to showcase your products and there is an email ([email protected]) to request more information.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods: Dick’s Sporting Goods uses RangeMe to showcase your product to buyers.
  • Dollar Tree: Dollar Tree uses Ariba to submit a supplier form.
  • Five Below: Five Below has an email to connect with a buyer ([email protected]). 
  • Home Depot: Home Depot has their New Product Submission form for these kinds of inquiries.
  • Kohls: Kohl’s uses their Supplier Portal, in which you will register your product through their singular interface.
  • Kroger: Kroger has a pre-vendor registration site, in which you will submit a product form for them to review.
  • Lowe’s: Lowe’s also has a product submission form, but theirs requires a paper copy that is to be mailed.
  • Target: Target has a Supplier Intake Form where they will review your product and decide if they are going to carry it. Target also has an Accelerators program that results in 30% of Target Takeoff for alumni brands being sold at Target.
  • Walgreens: Walgreens uses Rangeme and to showcase your products or provide any professional services
  • Walmart: Walmart also has their year-round Marketplace, in which you can apply to sell your products in their stores.
  • Wayfair: Wayfair has their Partner Home page, in which you will fill out their ‘Partner With Wayfair’ form. 

5. Global: You’re ready to serve the global market

Most big-box American companies also happen to tailor to the global market, so this would include getting your product on the shelves of foreign big box stores, such as the UK’s Tesco.

The Department of Commerce’s US Export Assistance Center (USEAC) will teach you about the exporting process at centers around the country whose goal is supporting small businesses who want to compete globally by exporting.  

 Although going global comes in different stages, it’s never too early or too late to start trying. Scaling your sales may come with a few obstacles of its own, but you can elimate them by following this series of steps.  

About the Authors

Faith Emmitte is a student intern for the Next department at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. Faith will be a second-year student at Texas A&M University, pursuing a BBA in Marketing. Gig ‘Em! All thoughts and opinions are her own and in no way reflect the thoughts and opinions of HSC. 

Victoria Doan is a student intern for the Next department and a medical student at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. All thoughts and opinions are her own and in no way reflect the thoughts and opinions of HSC. 

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