10 Top Tips For Selling To Retailers

Corinne Thomas

Corinne Thomas

Founder & Managing Director

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Get Ready for Retail

Myself and Jules, our Senior Sales Consultant and resident retail sales expert have put together some top tips for selling to retailers to help you focus your efforts in the right place.

We address ten key steps you can take to improve your sales with retail or wholesale contacts that you can action today. We suggest you take the time to plan your retail sales campaigns properly so you can create a successful sales process that works for you and your business growth.

In our free guide ‘Get Ready for Retail: Ten Top Tips for Selling to Retailers’, we share our top tips and strategies for retailer prospecting and building those relationshipsDownload the full guide here. 

Here’s a quick summary: 

1. Know your Market

In order to sell into retailers effectively, it is important to know the market well and to feel knowledgeable about it.

By having this market information readily available within the business, the sales lead or the person selling into retailers will feel more confident with prospective retail partners.

2. Tell a Story about your Customer

Every business should have an ideal customer in mind for their products. What issue or problem are you solving for them?

By putting the customer in the frame it will show that you have put yourself into their shoes as a buyer and it will make it easier for them to visualize your products on their shelves.


It is a really important part of the process to do some initial research about the retailer being approached and working out what type of business they are. Are they independent or do they have a small chain? Have they recently acquired a new store? Do they also sell online? How much shelf space can they dedicate to your product range?

4. Find out the Buying Process

It can be helpful to create a set of qualifying questions to help find out more about the buying process when on a call.

5.Create a Budget for Samples

Nearly all buyers expect to see products and trial them before they commit shelf space – and rightly so! So be prepared to budget for and send out samples as part of a targeted retailer approach.

6. Be Patient and Persistent

Buyers need enough time to review products which may well involve speaking to the wider team about them. If a buyer feels harassed by daily voice messages it will not help them to feel good about a business.

It is about treading that fine line between being patient and gently persistent.

7. Know your Margins

Before going out to retailers it is very important to have done the sums on available margins. Working out minimum order numbers and what margin expectations are will help during negotiations.

8. Getting your House in Order

Stock control, manufacturing lead times, and postage logistics are all important parts of ensuring retailers are getting the products they need on time and to the standard expected.

Creating a smooth process for ordering, fulfillment, and re-stocking is imperative before retail deals are done.


9. Invest in the Relationship

To ensure repeat business, keeping your brand front of mind (and front of that shelf!) requires ongoing account management and investment of time to grow the relationship.

Retailers will drop products if they are not looked after properly. There is always another business around the corner!

10. Find your Perfect Match

We often work with clients who want to work with retailers who fit with their values and ethos. This is a great place to start as it will ensure you are both on the same page in terms of how you run your businesses.

We recommend spending some time creating some key criteria for what you are looking for in an ideal retail partner.

Want to learn more? Download our free guide ‘Get Ready for Retail: Ten Top Tips for Selling to Retailers’ and you’ll benefit from the decades of experience from the team at Ethical Sales.

I hope you find these insights useful as you plan your retail strategy. 

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