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What to Know About Convenience Store Distributors

Learn to Identify the Best Food Distributors for Your C-Store

Warehouse full of food stocks.

id you know that 63% of convenience store owners are single-store operators? Yet, many of these business owners choose cash and carry to acquire products. Getting your products from a big retailer may seem like the easiest way to run your business. After all, you can just run down the road and pick up products if you happen to run out of stock. But the benefits of working with convenience store distributors far outweigh sourcing your products yourself. That's why we're bringing you this guide to finding the right distributor for your c-store. Are you wondering about the benefits of updating your convenience store supply chain with third-party distribution? We outline all the benefits of partnering with a company like It's All Goods next.

What Are the Benefits of Working With Convenience Store Distributors?

There are countless benefits of partnering with a distributor, from saving you time to increasing your profit margins. If you are not sure whether you should start working with a c-store distributor, check out the following benefits.

Save Time Making Orders

One of the biggest benefits of working with a distributor is that you do not have to source products yourself. Self-distribution means you have to spend countless hours away from your store to get the right products.

Distributors can slash the time needed to source convenience store products in half. That way, you have more time to focus on what you know and do best: running your convenience store.

Get Access to Discounts and Sales

The more you can save on products for your convenience store, the higher your margins will be. If you buy your products from another retailer, though, you can not get the types of sales and discounts you can through a distributor.

How is it possible to get discounts from distributors? Good distributors get discounted goods from their suppliers. And if you have a healthy working relationship, they may pass some of those discounts on to you.

Common discount strategies include lower prices on your first order and buy-one-get-one deals.

Learn About New Products

Convenience store customers are always looking for what's new on shelves. After all, new products often debut at convenience stores before they ever reach local supermarkets and big box retailers.

Yet, it can be difficult to keep up with all the new product releases. That is where a knowledgeable distributor can come in. Your distributor can give you a heads-up about new products before your competitors ever find out.

How to Find the Best Distributor for Your Convenience Store

We hope we have convinced you that partnering with distributors can give you a competitive advantage. Now, here are the tips you need to find the right partner for your business.

What Type of Products Do You Need?

Not all distributors will sell the types of products you need. So, the first step to finding the right one for your c-store is to compile a list of exactly what you want to sell.

For example, consider the following most profitable c-store products:

  • Dairy products, including ice cream
  • Toiletries like shampoo, soap, and toothpaste
  • Hot and fresh food
  • OTC medicines
  • Tobacco products
  • Alcohol products

And don't forget about your non-alcoholic beverages! More than 40% of the average convenience store's profits come from soft drinks, bottled water, coffee, and energy drinks.

What Is Your Price Point?

Once you know what kind of products you need, you need to determine how much you want to sell them for. You can then back into the cost you are willing to pay for products based on your desired profit margins.

The average single convenience store owner sees net profit margins of 5% across all products. This is just an average, meaning some products will have higher margins while others will have lower margins.

For example, toiletries tend to offer the highest product gross margins of up to 50%. Meanwhile, tobacco products are still profitable, but they tend to come with much lower gross margins of only 15%.

Where Is Your Store Located?

Your store's location is one of the best ways to narrow down a long list of distributors. You do not want to have to wait forever to receive goods. So, make sure to consider local distributors.

A good way to find reputable local distributors is to ask your fellow business owners in the area. If you do not have relationships with your competitors, you may also be able to check with your local business administrative association.

How Quickly and How Often Do You Need ProductS?

This question is also related to where your store is located. You can still work with a non-local supplier as long as they have warehouses in your general vicinity.

In addition, make sure the warehouse has proper storage space for the number of products you need. You should also inquire about the distributor's ability to deliver products on the schedule you need them.

Running out of stock of your customers' favorite products can lead them to go elsewhere. That is why this is one of the most important considerations when vetting different convenience distributors.

Have You Read Reviews?

The last step to whittling down your list of potential distributors is to check out online reviews. Reviews can tell you about the company's customer service and quality of deliveries.

It is important to note that a few bad reviews don't always spell disaster. But if the distributor consistently gets poor feedback about products not being delivered on time or damaged products upon delivery, this may be a red flag.

Looking for Distributors for Convenience Stores in the Rocky Mountain Region?

Working with convenience store distributors can save you time and money and give you a leg up against the competition. Using this guide, you can find the distribution partner that is right for your needs.

Are you searching for 'c-store distributors near me'? We proudly serve the Rocky Mountain Region and areas across the nation. Contact us today to learn more about our food brokerage services.

June 23, 2023