With advancements in business and technology over the last 20-30 years many businesses, big and small, have turned to resellers in a bid to spread and grow sales across multiple areas and open up new revenue streams. It's a sensible business model. Admittedly, it's not for everyone but if your product could be successfully resold via another merchant then it makes complete sense - it's a way of ensuring that you have many different revenue streams and potentially opening yourself up to a whole new audience that might not have previously found your product. So how can you go about it?
To find resellers of your product you need to do extensive research. You should identify potential business partners that perhaps sell products that are similar to, or complement, yours. Much of this research can be done online, through search engines, or networking sites such as LinkedIn.
In-person networking should also be done as people are more likely to agree to a proposal face-to-face. Going to trade shows or joining your local Chamber of Commerce are both possible networking avenues for this.
Also, identify any brand promoters you may have. These are the people who use your product regularly, love it, and shout its praises from the rooftops. Some of these people may believe in your product so much that they’d be willing to become resellers of it.
Usually, retailers will buy products wholesale from you, therefore you don’t pay them anything. However, in some cases you may agree to sell your products through a retailer by consignment. This means you retain ownership of the product until the retailer sells the item on your behalf. Once it’s sold, you pay the retailer a small fee that has been agreed beforehand.
The amount depends on how “hot” your product is, your expenses, and what profit margin you’d like. Often, the retailer will keep 60% and you’ll keep 40%. This is entirely negotiable though, so you should have an extensive discussion with the retailer before they sell your product and a clear idea of your overheads and desired mark-up.
There are a few different ways you could approach store owners about carrying your product. If your product is relatively new and you don’t have many customers yet, you should target small retailers. It’s much easier to get in touch with the decision makers this way and also to build up a good relationship. When you approach small store owners, always offer a free sample so they can assess it easily.
For more established products you’ll need to research who to contact at which stores, send them your proposal, and have a polished sales pitch. If your product and proposal are good enough, you should be able to arrange a meeting with a retail buyer and pitch your product directly to them.