For beverage alcohol suppliers, securing the right distribution partnership is a crucial step in establishing a route to market strategy in the U.S. Park Street University has a treasure trove of resources for helping brands better understand their route to market options and the supplier-distributor dynamic. Here’s our roundup of the key considerations for obtaining a beverage alcohol distribution deal.
Determine if Your Brand is Ready for Distribution
If you’ve created a high-quality product with an appealing brand proposition, you may be ready to take that next step and get your products on the shelf at retail. Before you can dive into the distribution tier, you should take inventory of what your brand is bringing to the table. For instance, who is your target consumer and how will you leverage your brand’s identity and story into a plan of action that will connect with this audience?
The next step is to establish an expansion plan, targeting the markets in which you will have the greatest chance of success. Your distribution strategy will be dictated by the wholesale framework of your target state. Below are some Park Street University resources that you can use to take the proper steps to get ready for market entry.
- The Keys to a Successful U.S. Brand Launch
- A Roadmap for Creating a Market Expansion Plan
- Rudy Ruiz on Routes to Market for Emerging Brands
How to Get a Distribution Agreement
With a route to market strategy in mind, your company may choose to establish a relationship with a distributor to initiate sales at the retail level. The first step is to research your potential partner. The easiest way to do this is to ask around with local suppliers, review the distributor’s current portfolio, their organizational structure, and most importantly try to get an idea of what your target distribution partner is looking for. By getting a sense of these aspects, you can make the case that your product is the right fit for this potential partner.
Below are a few resources for best practices to attract a fruitful distribution partnership.
- Asking the Right Questions to Get Distribution
- A Conversation With Horizon Beverage’s Doug Epstein
- What to Do Before Moving Into a New Market
Forming a Mutually Beneficial Distribution Partnership
Formalizing an agreement with your distributor requires clear goals and attention to detail. Distributors have a wide range of markets and accounts they service, meaning that suppliers must be sure to advocate for themselves to get the proper time and attention they need. Knowing the key legal tenets of how distribution contracts work is important to achieving this. But it’s essential to make sure your goals are aligned with the distributor as well. Setting the right expectations for both parties can help avoid mishaps down the road. Check out the links below for some key considerations before you formalize a distribution agreement.
Preserving your Partnership
Successful distribution partnerships are built on relationships. The course of your partnership will likely be dictated by your ability to instill open lines of communication between both parties. No matter the shape your relationship takes, being able to successfully problem solve and collaborate is crucial. There are concrete steps suppliers can take to generate attention and awareness within their chosen distribution agreement. We’ve put together some of the best practices for maintaining a constructive relationship with your distributor.
- Optimizing Distributor Communications
- How to Get Your Distributor’s Attention
- How to Gain Your Accounts Trust and Increase Sales
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