How to work with your distributors
A second or consecutive purchase order only comes along if you have created enough demand in the market or consumers love your product, and the chances of that happening overnight are very few.
If you are expecting a repeat order from your distributor after the first purchase order just like that, think again. This will not happen on its own. A second or consecutive purchase order only comes along if you have created enough demand in the market or consumers love your product, and the chances of that happening overnight are very few.
In most cases, you need to work along with your distributors to move the product. If this does not happen, a pallet of your goods will be occupying space in the distributor’s warehouse and soon become an eyesore. Inventory sitting in the warehouse is taking up valuable space that could be used for a product that turns over quickly and ties the distributor’s money into the stock.
If the distributor doesn't see much movement of your stock, you may not get the 2nd PO ever.
USA Trade Tasting Panel discussion providing an inside look into industry trends and how distributors and importers choose brands with Scott Ades ex EVP/COO of Winebow (right), Giacomo Turone SVP of Palm Bay, Jim Ryan, SVP of Constellation (left)
Here’s how to work with your distributors and grow your wine or spirit brand.
- Set realistic expectations on what they will do/sell.
- Help them sell by doing market work, opening new accounts, making deals, and getting them placements. Your goal should be to deplete the first purchase order that your distributor placed with you within 2 weeks.
- Hold in-store tastings in their important accounts and deplete your stock from retail stores.
- Provide them with the point of sale materials. Distributors hate to spend money to print your POS. Print this for them and deliver it to them. Examples Include shelf talkers and case cards.
- Send your goods in branded cartons. White boxes are not doing your brand any favors and distributors and retailers dislike these with a passion.
- Come up with sales incentives in your launch week. You can offer incentives to reps or distributors if they get 5 cases, 10 cases, or 25 case display placements. Give incentives if they make your wine or spirit a house in a restaurant or a bar. Grant incentives if they reach their sales goals. You can offer a flat incentive per case in the first 14 days.
- Ask for depletion reports. See which retailers are selling your product, go and thank them in person, or call them and say thank you.
- Check the retailers that have less movement of your products, speak with them, and help them move the product. Your character says a lot. Retailers and distributors want to do business with suppliers who care about them.
- Thank distributors’ sales reps and thank them with incentives.
- Do extensive staff training. Distributors prefer that you talk about your products to their reps. This does not mean technical data about your product. Show them how to sell your brand and why retailers should buy it. Motivate distributors’ reps. Yes, distributors like suppliers who do that.
- Always remember, distributors have a choice, and suppliers that understand the business will outshine here and stay in the long term.
If you are a brand looking to connect with US importers, retailers, sommeliers, bartenders, or distributors, learn more on how exhibiting at USATT will help you.
By Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network and USA Trade Tasting.