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The Leading Source for Specialty & Artisan Products
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Buyer's Best Friend brings artisan food to consumers

Updated 5:00 pm, Friday, March 7, 2014

Through Buyer's Best Friend, Adam Sah and Joyce Guan connect suppliers to retailers via a website that offers 150,000 products. Photo: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle

One of the biggest obstacles facing artisan food producers is getting their product to market. They may create an amazing sea salt caramel, for instance, and sell it in small quantities but don't know enough about branding, packaging or distribution to get to the next level.

Enter Buyer's Best Friend, a company that connects small food producers to independent and chain grocers, as well as to technology companies eager to offer the hippest snacks as an employee perk.

read more at sfgate.com


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What are Distributors and Why to Work with Distributors


warehouse

 

Distributors Consolidate Warehousing, Delivery & Billing

  • The larger distributors move sufficient volume to offer cost-effective shipping, inventory management and storage. Without distributors, a jar of pasta sauce would cost as much to transport as the value of the product. The need of course, differs greatly from category to category.

  • Distributors are much more efficient for storing goods until they are needed by the buyer. Otherwise both the producer and the grocer would need significantly more warehouse space.

 

Distributors Act as a 'Buying Club'

  • With significant financial and inventory management/warehousing resources, distributors are equipped to make large orders meeting sellers’ minimum order requirements, with the potential to make very large, business-changing orders.

  • Distributors promote products through published catalogs and provide samples to grocers and other wholesale customers. As your product is sitting in their trucks and warehouses, they are incentivized to move it.

 

Are They the Right Fit for Your Product?

Depending on the product focus, distributors are outfitted with the appropriate resources:

  • Understand what kind of distribution your product requires. Some distributors deal solely with categories like fresh or frozen and have specialized transportation fleets and staff who know the ins ...

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GETTING YOUR PRODUCTS INTO DISTRIBUTION

warehouse

Selecting and Getting Into Distributors

 

In most cases, choosing which distributor to work with usually happens as a result of getting acce?pted to a store. Once the store buyer accepts products, they inform the sellers which distributor they use, or give them a list of approved distributors that they work with.

 

Presenting to Distributors

It is possible to directly present to a distributor for inclusion in their catalog. Successfully presenting products directly to distributors without presence in national food chains is very challenging, as distributors do not want to assume the inventory risk for unproven products.

 

Once your product(s) is in stores, a best practice is to approach the distributors with a “me too” strategy. For example, “We are working with <large buyer name> and it would be beneficial for you to carry our products.”


Note: sometimes, this results in working with two different distributors who supply the same store; who the buyer orders from depends on how good the distributor relationship is with the store. You always want to work with a distributor who has the best reputation.

 

How Brokers Can Help

Brokers are independent people whose connections and industry knowledge help ...

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Working with Distributors Part 3 of 3: The Details

other CEO in San Francisco, CA

warehouse

 

  1. Ask Around
    Talk to other sellers about the terms they negotiated with distributors. They can provide useful insight into the different tricks distributors use to make money from sellers. Some large distributors have a ruthless reputation you should know about before going into a deal.
     

  2. Bargain like a Pro
    Distributors will request a number of promos, type of promos, frequency; these are all negotiable terms. Keep in mind, that the distributor has less negotiating power if the store wants your product in right away.
     

  3. Understand your true margin - pad margins beforehand
    Price changes may take 6 months to go into effect at some large distributors and by the time sellers realize the need for better margins, they are hemorrhaging cash.  Large national distributors have low margins and earn higher margins on marketing programs.
     

  4. Read the contracts very carefully
    Small, innocuous terms in the distributor contracts can make a huge difference in the outcome of the relationship.

 

Distributor advertising programs
As a seller, you could be required to run (pay for) multiple ads per year in a distributor’s catalog, at $1000s each, coupled with a requirement of offering a discount to stores for the duration of the ad run, the ...

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Video Testimonials: Trade Show booths

other CEO in San Francisco, CA

We've posted a bunch of video testimonials for the Trade Show booths program:

http://www.bbfdirect.com/tradeshows

 

cheers,
adam

 

 

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Video Testimonials: Selling into the BBF Retail Stores

other CEO in San Francisco, CA

We've posted a bunch of video testimonials for BBF Retail Stores:

http://www.bbfdirect.com/retail-stores

 

cheers,
adam

 

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Video Testimonials: Smart Sampling

other CEO in San Francisco, CA

We've posted a bunch of video testimonials for the Smart Sampling program:

http://www.bbfdirect.com/smart-sampling

 

cheers,
adam

 

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Video Testimonials: BBF Strategy Consulting

other CEO in San Francisco, CA

We've posted a bunch of video testimonials for the Strategy Consulting program:

http://www.bbfdirect.com/strategy-consulting

 

cheers,
adam

 

 

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We've posted a bunch of video testimonials for the Major Accounts program:

http://www.bbfdirect.com/buyer-self-serve

cheers!
adam

 

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Video Testimonials: Major Account Introductions

other CEO in San Francisco, CA

We've posted a bunch of video testimonials for the Major Accounts program:

http://www.bbfdirect.com/major-accounts

cheers!
adam
 

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