Why Your Distributor Should Be Transparent: Key Insights for Food Business Builders

distribution retailers Aug 16, 2023

Why Your Distributor Should Be Transparent: Key Insights for Food Business Builders

As a food business owner, you have poured your heart and soul into your products. From the formulation, packaging, branding to the smallest ingredients, everything matters. Once you've perfected your offering, the next logical step is to get it on the shelves. This is where distributors come in.

However, when diving into the world of distribution, you'll quickly find that not all distributors are created equal. This becomes especially clear when it comes to transparency. Some distributors may withhold information about where your products are stocked, citing a myriad of reasons, but often revolving around the fear of you forging direct relationships with stockists.

In our latest video on The Food Business Builder, we delved into this topic in detail. Here, in this accompanying post, we'll discuss why transparency is crucial and why, if your distributor isn't playing ball, it might be time to reevaluate the partnership.

The Trust Factor

Trust is the bedrock of any business relationship. Just as your customers need to trust your brand and product, you need to trust your distributor. Withholding crucial information about stockists not only indicates a lack of trust but also a fundamental imbalance in the relationship. If your distributor is fearful of you establishing direct ties with retailers, it points to a deeper insecurity, one that could manifest in other, more detrimental ways down the line.

Power in Knowledge

Knowing where your product is stocked is more than just satisfying curiosity. It's about strategy. When you know which retailers are stocking your products, you can:

  1. Tailor your marketing efforts: Direct your advertising and promotional efforts to specific geographic areas to increase sales.
  2. Build brand presence: Collaborate with retailers for in-store promotions, tastings, or displays, helping to amplify brand visibility.
  3. Gather feedback: Understand which retailers are moving the product faster, giving insights into demographics and preferences.

Supporting Stockists

Arguably, the most compelling reason for knowing your stockists is the ability to support them. Retailers decide to stock your product because they believe in its potential to sell. By driving your loyal customers to these stockists through targeted marketing, you're not only boosting your sales but also solidifying your relationship with these retailers. It's a win-win.

If a distributor is hesitant to share this data, they're effectively putting a bottleneck on your growth potential. Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats. When your product does well in stores, both the retailer and distributor benefit.

The Right Distributor

So, what does the right distributor look like? In essence, they should be your business partner, not just a service provider. They should:

  • Be transparent about where your products are stocked.
  • Provide regular updates on sales performance.
  • Understand and support your brand's ethos and vision.
  • Work collaboratively to ensure optimal shelf space and positioning.
  • Offer insights into market trends and opportunities.

If your current distributor checks all these boxes, you're on the path to a fruitful partnership. However, if transparency is an issue, it's a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.

In Conclusion

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Your journey as a food business builder is fraught with challenges, and your distributor should be alleviating some of these, not adding to them. Transparency is not just a nice-to-have; it's essential. Remember, information is power. The right distributor will equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to succeed.

If you're facing opacity in your distribution chain, consider it a call to action. It's crucial, for the longevity and success of your brand, to align with partners who not only believe in your vision but are also open, honest, and transparent.

In this business, as in life, transparency and trust aren't just optional extras; they're fundamental. Surround yourself with partners who understand that, and you'll be setting your food business up for long-term success.

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