How To Choose A Distribution Partner For Your Retail Business

June 15, 2022 | Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

Distribution is one of the most fundamentally important aspects of business growth for retailers today.

When you’re starting out, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing a distribution partner for retail business support. This person or company will be responsible for getting your products into physical stores and helping you ultimately scale your business.

It’s essential to find someone who understands your brand and can represent it well to retailers. First, we’re going to outline what distribution partners are.

Then, we’ll provide some tips on how your retail business can find the best distribution partner around.

What is a Distribution Partner for a Retail Business?

An effective distribution strategy can make the difference between success and failure in today’s competitive marketplace. This is why what’s known as distribution partners exist.

A distribution partner is essentially a middleman between your retail business and the stores that sell your products. You’ll have given them permission to resell your products or provide them to others.

In some cases, distribution partners may be responsible for marketing your products to retailers.

But the main goal of a distribution partner is to make it as easy as possible for retailers to do business with you.

The exact relationship you’ll have with any distributor depends on what you mutually agree to with them. But cementing this relationship can be just as important as securing something like retail business insurance.

For this reason, not all distribution agreements are created equal. There are however steps you can take to work with the right kind of distribution partner.

1. Find a Distribution Partner That Understands Your Market

Don’t underestimate the importance of finding a distribution partner who understands your brand and your retail market.

The best partner you can find should have a deep understanding of your particular business. That means knowing how to navigate the specific channels where your products will be sold.

Not only that they should be someone who believes in your products and is fiercely passionate about your brand.

They should know what you’re trying to achieve as a business and be able to articulate that to retailers. This is the only way of guaranteeing they’re representing your company properly.

Think about how you would sell your product or business. You want your distribution partner to show that same understanding and passion.

If your partner doesn’t understand your products, they may go to the wrong markets. This can significantly harm your sales figures in the long run. Ultimately, selling in the right places is crucial to a successful retail business model.

Someone who knows your business is also more likely to have relevant contacts. You can use these to get a foot in the door in places where your products will sell.

2. Choose Distribution Partners That are of a Similar Size to Your Company

One mistake business owners often make is thinking bigger is always better. This can result in your finding a partner that doesn’t have your best interests at heart because they’re working with far larger clients.

The truth is when you’re first starting, it’s often best to work with distribution partners that are of a similar size to your company.

This is because they’ll be more flexible and easier to work with than larger companies. Plus, they’ll have a better understanding of the challenges you’re facing as a startup.

As your business grows, you can then start to look at working with larger distribution partners. But make sure you vet them thoroughly first to make sure they’re a good fit for your business.

This also means you’re able to grow in size together. This can foster a closer relationship and means you mutually benefit.

3. Work with a Distribution Partner who Understands Distribution Technology

As in many other sectors, distribution technology is constantly evolving. You need to make sure that your distribution partner is keeping up with the latest trends and using the best distribution software available.

The distribution software they use should be able to track inventory levels, manage orders, and automate key processes. It should also include advanced features like e-commerce fulfillment.

This will save you both a lot of time by streamlining the distribution process.

You should also make sure to use the right technology in your retail business service company. This way, both you and your distribution partner can fully optimize your operations.

This should help make both your jobs easier and will hopefully translate into additional sales.

4. Make Sure Your Distribution Partner is Easy to Work With

Finally, retail businesses must work closely with their distribution partners at all times. It might seem like a small thing, but you need to make sure you and your partner work well together.

You should be aligned in terms of your expectations from your arrangement, and ideally also your working patterns.

It’s important to work together to establish some working boundaries, such as ideal times for communication, and some do’s and don’ts in your relationship. If you’re finding this process hard, it might be a sign that the partner you’ve found isn’t going to work for you.

The key to a good distribution partner is in the name; they’re your partner, so you should be working together to achieve more than what you could do as individual companies.

If one side is proving hard to work with, then the relationship can quickly break down.

Where Can I Find Out More About Distribution Partners

You should now know what to look for when searching for a distribution partner for retail business matters.

At Distribution Technology, we’ve been expanding retailers’ horizons for over 50 years as a reliable distribution partner. We leverage advanced technology to make sure all of our partners succeed in achieving their goals. To find out more about how we can help your retail business, make sure to contact our team directly.