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The Natural Dog Company

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How to switch from a general distributor to a specialty brand without missing sales

Posted by Dan Goodnow on

Making the switch from ordering your natural chews from a general distributor to a specialty distributor can be difficult. Here are a few easy steps to make the transition without skipping a beat on sales. 

  1.  Before placing your first order with a specialty company track the sales of each item you want to buy over a 2 week to 6 week period. 

    Determine how much product you typically sell in that time period and size your initial order respectively. You'll want to order enough product initially to support sales for at least one month so you watch as sales trend over the first thirty days of stocking your new items.

     
  2. Plan out the space you will need for your new products.

    Will the new products be completely replacing your old brand or will be sold side-by-side?  Do you plan you plan to bring in any additional items that you haven't stocked before? If so, where will those items be displayed? 


  3. Place the initial order with your specialty distributor before you run out of product from your existing distributor.

    If you plan to replace your existing inventory completely, give yourself a one week buffer from the time you expect the new product to arrive to when you expect your existing products to sell through.  


  4. Feature your new products with signage, a new location and educational items about the new products.

    Make sure staff knows about the new products and can highlight the key benefits of the new brand. Key track of sales during the first few weeks including tracking which customers come back to buy the product again and again. After a few recurring sales of the new product you should have an idea of how successfully the product in being received. 


  5. Make a plan for your first expected reorder date and keep track of sales in the first 30 to 90 days.

    Plan your reorder times around the rate of sale of your new products and any shipping promotions provided by your specialty distributor. Some specialty distributors offer flat rate and free shipping discounts at certain product purchase levels. Time your purchases to take advantage of shipping promotions to help offset the cost of getting the product onto your shelves.