How to Access Retail Buyers to Sell Wholesale Products

Interior of a modern concept store, displaying fashion
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Many wholesalers will reach out to major retailers by asking for the name of their buyer. It's almost a guarantee they will not share this information with you. Companies rarely share such contact information. This lack of information can be frustrating when trying to become a wholesale vendor for their stores.

There are a few ways that you can get access to these retail opportunities and sell your products. Here are a few tips, tricks, and strategies to help your business get started. Some options require you to pay money for lists, but there are free options, too. The main reason to spend money buying lists from commercial enterprises is that these lists will save you time and effort. They are also likely to contain the most up-to-date information. The free option is great, but it does require that you invest a great deal of time and effort. Therefore, if you have the cash, pay for a list.

Paid – The Chain Store Guide

The Chain Store Guide is a company that basically sells buyers' names and contact information. They probably have the most comprehensive list of buyers' names as well as one of the most expensive. However, they will save you a tremendous amount of time and headache.

Cost is anywhere from $200 to $1000 for a list depending on what form you choose (ie book form vs. online form). As an example, as of January 2020 the print version of the "Apparel Specialty Stores Directory" cost $565 while the "Foodservice Technology Directory" cost $600. At the end of the day though, the Chain Store Guide is an awesome resource to help you get started.

Paid – The Salesman's Guide

The Salesman's Guide—part of Retail Sales Connect—is another great resource for getting access to buyer contact information. They sell guides based on category. For instance, they have a book called "Gift and Houseware Buyers". If you have a gift item, this would be the perfect book for you.

Ultimately, this is also a great resource for finding buyers' contact information. Cost varies by the report and comes as individual retailer reports or as the full database. As of January 2020, each single retailer report will set you back about $20 while access to the full database for a year will cost $999.

Free – Your Local Library

Depending on where you live, your local library can help you tremendously. Both the Chain Store Guide and the Salesman’s Guide are available at most public libraries. Unfortunately, you have to live in one of the larger cities in order for this to work, but if the books are available, then you can save yourself a tremendous amount of money by going to the library.

You will not be able to check these books out (they are usually at the business reference desk), so be prepared to bring a laptop with you. But the great news is that there are inexpensive options for getting access to buyers' contact information.

Tips and Strategies

When reviewing these buyers lists, make sure that the information they provide is not older than one year. Most people do not know that buyers change jobs regularly. Therefore, any list older than a year will not be very valuable to you because you will notice that a lot of the buyers' names aren't going to be accurate so make sure you are reviewing guides that are less than a year old.

Final Thoughts

Finding major retail buyers' contact information is actually pretty easy once you know where to look. Now that you have this information, you can contact major retailers and get your products on their shelves faster than you ever thought possible.