One of the best things about Amazon FBA is that it shows internet entrepreneurs such as marketers that it is possible to apply their skills and sell something real to real customers. Rather than SEO for companies that make websites, for companies that sell online courses… you can instead sell a real product directly. A real business.
And you don’t need a warehouse, a business qualification, or anything else that you don’t already have access to/use regularly in your current model.
But now that you’ve made that realization, the floodgates are open. What other types of business could you build?
Creating Your Own Products
One option is to consider creating your own products and then sending these to customers via FBA. This is a good strategy, but it involves several new challenges – such as creating your 3D model and creating your bill of materials (BOM).
An easier option? Think of a tweak or a change you can make to a product you’re selling, or something your competition is selling. Not speak with the manufacturer and ask them to consider making the change and letting you sell it exclusively.
It really is that simple! Congratulations: you’re now an inventor!
Selling Beyond Amazon
If you’re selling a product and you’re looking for the next step, then getting it into a Big Box store such as Wal-Mart has got to be one of your main objectives.
Not only does this make a lot of sense from a business standpoint, ensuring that as many people will see your product as possible and that it will be available for anyone interested to buy, but it also makes a lot of sense personally. When you see your product on the shelves of a big retailer, you will really feel as though you’ve made it and that’s one of the most rewarding parts of being an entrepreneur.
Selling Beyond Amazon
If you’re selling a product and you’re looking for the next step, then getting it into a Big Box store such as Wal-Mart has got to be one of your main objectives. Not only does this make a lot of sense from a business standpoint, ensuring that as many people will see your product as possible and that it will be available for anyone interested to buy, but it also makes a lot of sense personally. When you see your product on the shelves of a big retailer, you will really feel as though you’ve made it and that’s one of the most rewarding parts of being an entrepreneur.
So the question is, how do you even start going about getting your product into those stores? It’s not as impossible as it may seem, but you do need to be logical and methodical in your approach. Read on and get ready to enter the big leagues…
Step 1 – Do Your Research
If you approach retailers without doing any research first you’re only wasting everyone’s time (primarily your own). For starters, you need to know beforehand whether a company is even likely to carry products like yours, and for this you need to research the kinds of things they tend to sell and who their main shoppers are. A good way to find potential outlets is to search for products from your competitors and then see where they are being sold.
Next, you should learn everything you can about those stores. Look at their retail guidelines and see if they have a ‘product submissions’ page on their website (Wal-Mart for instance has step-by-step instructions right on their website!). The more prepared you are, the better chance you will have.
Step 2 – Know Yourself
Likewise, you also need to know everything you can about your product and about your business model. When you present your proposal to retailers, you need to show them why you’re confident it will sell, who your target demographic is and how much it can sell for/how much profit the store will make.
The more detail you go into, the more confident stores will be in you and your product. Providing product samples is a good strategy if you can and providing extra materials such as POS displays (point of sale) can help you to win extra brownie points. Press coverage etc., can also help you to win your case.
Step 3 – Find Your Ally
Now you have your pitch/package ready you need to find someone who’s willing to listen. Start by contacting the buyer using the details on the website or by calling up and asking to speak to the buyer or representative.
If you get snubbed, though or don’t get any response, you can always try again by looking for contacts you might have within that organization (LinkedIn is a powerful tool in that regard) or by arranging a meeting with anyone you can. If you can get just one person to listen and get enthusiastic about your product, they might help you get the meeting you need.
Step 4 – Use a Sales Representative
If you’re still not having any luck, then another option is to use a sales representative who will handle this part of the process for you. It costs money, and you lose some control, but they have experience and contacts, which can help them get noticed. However you go about it, though, don’t give up. You can get a thousand rejections, but it will all be worth it when you get one positive response!