3 keys to selling and working with retailers


The evolution of selling for companies directly corresponds to their ability to first deliver a product (or “ship it”, as they say in software), fulfill the orders at hand, iterate and innovate and hopefully scale up as demand grows and popularity increases for their product(s).

Catering to a direct customer base through direct fulfillment like Argents offers is a good way to start out, but at some point, companies (and their owners or stockholders) are looking for increased profitability. At that point, the question those companies ask is, “Can we and should we be selling to retail?” Once a company reaches the tipping point of getting shelf space at a big box, they’ve instantly leveled up on a number of demands, chief among them data, visibility and deeper digital connectivity.

If a company is going to pitch a retailer to carry their products, there are three things they need to be ready to do. 

1) EDI connectivity.

Each of these retailers has an EDI system connected to their Point-of-Sale (POS) system and tracks units sold, specifies replenishment quantities and locations and acts as the gatekeeper to release payment. These EDI systems are fairly standardized and connect to a variety of platforms. Fortunately for Argents clients, we are shipping into all of the large, nationwide retailers and can provide that connectivity solution for companies, whether in helping to integrate their systems directly or via our WMS where we can receive and fulfill orders in the language they understand while providing customized reporting and data for our clients.

2) Ship on the retailer’s schedule.

It doesn’t matter how much the urge to ship and invoice is present for the sake of cash flow and inventory fluidity, the fact of the matter is that shipping without authorization does more harm than good. Sending goods a retailer hasn’t yet either issued a PO for or sent an ASN will lead to returns and two directions of freight cost, not to mention jeopardizing future business.

3) Packing and labeling rules must be followed.

Whatever you’re shipping is important to you, but to that retailer client, it’s just another carton / pallet / truckload to be handled through their system. These companies are big, their facilities mammoth and their need to push as much through as quickly as possible is essential to their business model. This means that anything they have to handle outside the normal process is going to cost them time and money and will be charged back. From customized UPC codes to pallet size and height through to monitoring for temperature, tipping or theft prevention, the buyer sets the rules and you can rest assured that the retailer wants to only handle the freight twice – on the way in and on the way out.

Argents is your partner in filling orders to the retail channel.

We’re directly with or are connected to the household names that most Americans visit with high frequency. We know their locations, their idiosyncrasies and are connected up and down their systems. If your supply chain is ready to start producing and delivering to retailers and is looking for the right partners for this commitment, think of Argents and ask how we provide solutions for retail sales channels.