How can I get my own product in stores?

Getting your product into retail stores is an exciting milestone for any business, but it can also be challenging to figure out how to make it happen. The good news is that with some preparation and persistence, you can increase your chances of getting that coveted retail placement. Here are some tips to help you learn how to get your own product in stores.

Do Your Research

Before approaching potential retail partners, make sure you thoroughly research both your product category and the specific stores you want to approach. Ask yourself the following key questions:

  • Who are the major retailers in your product category?
  • What types of products do they currently carry?
  • Is your product a fit for their brand and target demographic?
  • Do they have open calls for new vendors?
  • Do you meet their minimum order and production requirements?

This research will help you narrow down the retailers you should focus your efforts on. Look at both national chains and local independent stores. Attending industry trade shows can also be a great way to identify and connect with potential retail partners.

Optimize Your Packaging

Product packaging is incredibly important, especially for retailers with limited shelf space. Make sure your product packaging is polished and eye-catching. It should clearly communicate your brand and product benefits. Consider working with a professional designer to create packaging that will stand out on store shelves.

You want clean, professional packaging that is consistent with your brand image. Avoid busy, cluttered designs. The packaging should also adhere to any store requirements around labeling, barcodes, etc. This makes it easy for stores to display and sell your product.

Have a Strong Brand Story

In addition to great packaging, you need a compelling brand story and positioning. This includes your:

  • Company history
  • Founder’s story
  • Product origin
  • Key differentiators
  • Target customer
  • Brand mission and values

This brand story allows you to connect emotionally with retailers and give them confidence in your brand. Be sure you can summarize it in just a few sentences when given the opportunity.

Get Sales Material Ready

To get placements, you need professional sales materials that allow you to effectively pitch your product. This includes:

  • Line sheet: One-page overview of your product line with photos, descriptions, pricing
  • Sell sheet: Detailed product features and benefits
  • Order form: Makes it easy for stores to place orders
  • Press kit: Brand story, product photos, press clippings

You may also want to prepare a detailed presentation deck with info on your company, product line, and target market.

Meet Retail Buyers In-Person

The most effective way to get your product into stores is through direct outreach to retail buyers. Look online and in industry resources to find the relevant buyer for each store. Then reach out to them about your product and try to schedule an in-person meeting.

Even a short 15-20 minute meeting can make a big impact, allowing you to make a personal connection, show your product samples, and address any of the buyer’s questions or concerns. Persistently follow up until you get some time on their calendar.

Attend Trade Shows

Industry trade shows offer a prime opportunity to connect with many retail buyers under one roof. Do your research to find the key shows for your product category. Sign up for a booth so you can showcase your products to buyers as they walk the floor.

Make sure your booth looks professional and reflects your brand image. Have plenty of samples, brochures, and sales sheets on hand. Trade shows let you connect with buyers and start a conversation about carrying your line.

Offer an Exclusive

One way to grab a buyer’s attention is to offer them an exclusive product or promotion they can’t get anywhere else. This could be a limited edition item, bundle deal, or custom product line. Offering an exclusive makes your brand more appealing and incentivizes the buyer to place an order.

Highlight Sales Potential

Retailers want assurance that your product will sell in their stores. Be ready to show sales data, customer reviews, survey data, or market research that demonstrates a demand for your product. Back up your claims with hard numbers on how well your product is already selling through other channels.

Lead with E-Commerce

One strategy is to first build up sales through your own e-commerce site and social platforms. Strong online sales and positive customer feedback will get a retailer’s attention. You can then approach them with proof that your product has market demand and will sell in stores. This makes you appear like less of a risk.

Offer Consignment Terms

Asking for long-term consignment terms can ease a retailer’s concerns and minimize risk. This means the retailer carries your product in their stores but doesn’t pay you until the items sell. For small brands, consignment deals are often the only way to get those initial store placements.

Start Local

If large chains seem daunting, start local. Approach independent boutiques, gift stores, and other small retailers in your area that might be a good fit. Local stores are often more flexible and willing to give new products a try. Starting local allows you to build sales references and retail experience.

Leverage Your Network

Look for any connections you might have to help get a warm introduction to buyers. Reach out to people in your network who work for major retailers or know buyers that make purchasing decisions. A friendly referral goes a long way compared to a cold sales call.

Offer to Assist with In-Store Marketing

Most retailers have limited budgets for in-store marketing. Offering customized support can sweeten the deal. Propose providing high-quality product images for their website, in-store displays and demos, promotional giveaways for customers, and TRAINING FOR staff. This extra marketing support at your own expense makes it easier for stores to promote your product.

Provide Omnichannel Support

Today’s consumers shop across multiple sales channels, not just in-store. When pitching your product, emphasize that you can provide full omnichannel retail support. This includes quality product info and images for the retailer’s e-commerce site, print/digital marketing assets, and coordination for any online or in-store promotions. Meeting consumers wherever they shop increases sales for the retailer.

Have Realistic Expectations

Remember that getting into even a few retail stores can take months or years of persistent outreach. Start small and don’t get discouraged by initial rejections. Build sales velocity online and locally first. With time and proven success, more retailers will start paying attention. Stay focused and patiently keep pitching. Retail placement is an incremental process but worth the effort for the reward of seeing your product on store shelves!


Getting your own product into retail stores is challenging but doable. The keys are 1) thoroughly researching potential retail partners, 2) having polished, sellable products and professional sales materials, and 3) persistently reaching out to buyers through multiple channels like trade shows, networking, and cold calls or emails. Build credibility with strong online sales and local store placements first. Offer exclusives, marketing support, and omnichannel retail services to make it attractive for buyers. With consistent effort, you can eventually land the retail placements that allow your product to thrive in stores!

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