Nailing retail distribution: 5 Tips for summer-focused brands

January 12, 2023

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In order to grow your business as a summer brand, there comes a point where you’ll likely want to get your products in front of retail buyers. But where should you meet these buyers, and what information should you have ready for them?

Here are a few pointers to get you started:

  1. Trade shows: Because they bring together a large number of buyers and sellers in one location, trade shows are an excellent place to meet retail buyers. Look for trade shows that are relevant to your industry and bring information about your products, including photos, pricing, and any relevant certifications or certifications. A few to consider include: MAGIC, Surf Expo, and Outdoor Retailer. Better yet, if you can manage it, bring actual samples of your product that show off quality, materials, and functionality.
  2. Wholesale marketplaces: There are several online wholesale marketplaces that connect you with retail buyers. Some of the top wholesale marketplaces according to Shopify include Handshake, Tundra, and Faire. These platforms frequently include tools to assist you in showcasing your products and communicating with buyers. Make sure you have detailed product descriptions and high-quality images on hand.
  3. Sales reps: Building a sales team or contracting sales reps who can represent your brand to retail buyers is another option. Good salespeople have preexisting relationships with buyers and can assist you in getting your products into stores. Make sure your reps have all of the information they need about your products as well as any sales materials they may require. Remember: a sales team is only as good as the product and information they’re selling!
  4. Direct outreach: This is one of the harder paths, but can also prove to be very fruitful if executed well, and with a little luck. If you have a specific retailer in mind, you can try contacting them directly to see if they are interested in carrying your products. In the best case scenario, you should try to find someone who can provide a “warm introduction” to the appropriate buyer at your target retailer. This just helps with getting your foot in the door and increases the likelihood that someone will take the time to chat with you.
  5. Network, network, network! If you haven’t tried meeting other people in your industry yet, you definitely should explore this path. It’s often about “who you know” when it comes to learning about opportunities or getting introductions to the right people. So join online groups catered to other business owners in your industry — a good place to start is Twitter.

Whatever approach you take, it’s critical to have all of the necessary information readily available for retail buyers. Product descriptions, pricing, minimum order quantities, and any relevant certifications are all considered as necessary. By meeting buyers where they are at with the right information, you’ll be in a better position to make a strong impression to secure those all-important retail partnerships! And if one approach falls short, know that there is always another approach worth trying.

Interested to see how Settle already helps hundreds of brands with inventory financing their retail partnerships—schedule a demo today!


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*The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or professional advice. Settle makes no representation or warranties, expressed or implied, and in no event shall Settle or its affiliates, agents, or employees be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information contained herein.