AuthorJoseph Boyd

How to be a Convenience Store Distributor

Convenience store distributors are the links between the manufacturers and the convenience stores. They are the lifeblood of the convenience retail industry. Their job description may sound simple, but their importance cannot be overstated. Becoming a convenience store distributor is a good decision, but without the right information, it may amount to wasted efforts.


Below is a four-step guide on how to be a convenience store distributor in the United States.

1.   Understand the dynamics of the industry

The convenience store distributor has two primary functions: to buy from the manufacturers and sell to the retailers. It is as simple as that on paper, but there is more to it. The distributor acts as a middleman between the manufacturers and the retailer. He buys existing product lines from the manufacturer or new products, which he would help introduce to the end-user by selling to the retailer.


A proper understanding of how the business is managed would help you to navigate the processes and procedures of the company. To understand the dynamics of the industry, you need to study market trends, carry out market research, and also,  acquire relevant experience in the industry.

2.   Draft your business plan

Distributorship is a business like every other one. Therefore, a business plan is required. You will need to outline a distribution strategy, a financial plan, and a strategy for how you intend to market the products you sell.


Your distribution strategy depends on what specialization you decide to delve into. It is advised to start by distributing a few products. This will help you establish a good foundation for the business.


Distribution requires a robust financial plan. You will need warehouse space, transport facilities, and inventory equipment. Your financial plan contains how you will ensure that your business activities: buying, selling, and spending are done profitably.

3.   Proper licenses and permits

Apply for the necessary licenses and permits from the constituted authorities of the business. The Federal and State government require distributors to have permission to operate in their territory.

4.   Get started.

After you have equipped yourself with everything necessary, you need to start. Till you start doing the business, you can not be called a distributor. Make contacts with convenience stores and offer to sell to them. Also, contact manufacturers and buy their products. Establish connections with both ends of the chain.


To be a successful convenience store distributor, you have to own some skills. These required skills include excellent communication and negotiation skills, organization skills, and financial skills. A distributor would deal with a lot of buying, selling, discounts, credits, and inventories. Without a basic knowledge of accounting and finance, it might be challenging to manage the enterprise. Negotiation and communication skills are a must. They are essential to the effective management of business relationships.


In a nutshell, becoming a convenience store distributor goes beyond buying and selling. It requires that you understand the intricacies and the economics of distribution before you become one.

How to get Convenience Store Distributors

Convenience store distributors are your ticket to getting your products on the racks and shelves of convenience stores. Searching for convenience store distributors requires that you have the right information about them.


There are many ways to get a convenience store distributor. One way is via an internet search. By using search engines, we can obtain relevant information about convenience store distributors. These searches require the use of the right search queries and keywords. Keywords from your product niche would help refine the search for better and specific results.


Another way to get a convenience store distributor is through distributor lists and directories. These lists contain information such as the phone number, email address, and physical address of the distributors. Stakeholders of the industry publish the lists. The access to these directories is usually granted after a specified payment.


There are online directories and offline ones. Offline lists are paperback directories that can be accessed in local offices, book stores, and libraries. On the other hand, a simple online search would give access to the online versions of these lists.


Online directories are credible sources for convenience store distributors because these lists are often updated. It is not the same for offline directories. They do not always contain up-to-date information about the distributors listed. And also, the list of distributors provided may be restricted to a specific region.


Asking the managers of convenience stores in your locality is another way you can get information to access convenience store distributors. This would help you identify convenience store distributors within your immediate reach.  Attending trade shows present opportunities to meet distributors personally.


Your search for convenience store distributors should be based on your specific needs, what kind of market reach you want, and your product goals. Because there are different types of convenience store distributors, and they operate in various manners. Full-service distributors sell different products to convenience stores, while specialized distributors only sell specific products.


If your product has a lot of identical products already in the market, it might be challenging to convince a full-service distributor to sell your product because they deal with a limited number of brands, 2 – 3 brands for each kind of product they sell. Your best shot might be with a product-specific distributor.


The hard part of getting a convenience store distributor for your product is pitching your product. You need to convince the distributor that your product is essential to his customers. You also have to prove to him that your product has a viable market performance.


One of the best decisions you would ever make for your products is getting the right convenience store distributor. Before you choose a convenience store distributor, make sure that your interests are aligned. You can only obtain the desired results if you have a mutual and beneficial relationship with your distributor.

How to find Convenience Store Distributors

There are over 150,000 convenience stores in the United States as of December 2019. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), 160 million Americans and more visit convenience stores daily. That’s a big market for your product. Still, for you to penetrate that market, you need the services of convenience store distributors.


Searching for a convenience store distributor is a tedious task if you do not have information on how and where to find them. This article contains information you need to make your search precise and effective.


Convenience stores distributors are essential players in the supply chain. They connect convenience product manufacturers with convenience stores and provide these stores with the goods to sell and help manufacturers sell their products. There are different types of convenience store distributors.


They are classified on the type of product they distribute, the extent of their coverage, and the way they operate. Your search for a distributor will be defined by what you want for your products.


Convenience store distributors can be found in many ways. Some of these ways are:


  1. Search Queries
  2. Distributor Directories
  3. Inquiry and Referrals

Search Queries.

This is a quick way to find convenience store distributors. Using the right keywords, your search queries on the internet will give you access to lists of convenience store distributors available. From these lists, you would be able to make your choice of distributors. Your keywords, however, are crucial to the successful use of search queries. Try searching for distributors with keywords based on your product category and include your location to find distributors close to you.

Distributor Directories.

Distributor Directories are available either offline or online, and they contain information about convenience store distributors. You can access them via the internet, at local libraries, or designated locations. They are often published by authorities in the business, for example, trade organizations. However, in most cases, a specific fee is required to access them. You can find a directory for convenience store distributors available in every region of the United States on C-Store Distributors


Inquiry and Referrals.

Local convenience stores are also sources of information on how to find convenience store distributors. You may ask for the distributors that supply them and get contacts. Also, you can observe your competition and identify the distributor agencies they use. Trade shows could present opportunities for you to meet distributors face-to-face.


Know that your choice of the distributor should be founded on the goals you set for your products. Different distributors cover certain market areas, and each distributor operates differently. Be sure that your interests align with your distributors’.


The success of your products in the market is dependent on this decision. Good luck with your search!

Convenience Stores Distributors Near Me

If you want to contact a convenience store distributor or you want to know how you can locate the ones around you, here are some answers for you.


One of the best decisions you make as a manufacturer of essential commodities like groceries and beverages is to get your products on shelves of convenience stores. It is estimated that about 160 million Americans visit convenience stores daily. Whether for a compulsory stop, an emergency, or leisure walk, convenience stores are our first choice destinations for our daily needs. Speed and immediate service is the icing on the cake.


However, to get your products on these shelves, you need to connect with a convenience store distributor. They are the most reliable routes to the shelves. Convenience stores depend on them to get ninety-nine percent of everything they sell.

How can you find distributors close to you?

One way to access convenience store distributors near you is via Distributor Directories. These directories are published by authorities of the convenience retail industry and by trade organizations. The lists contain essential information that gives you access to the distributors. Contact addresses and physical locations are provided. There are offline directories and online versions. Offline directories can be accessed in local libraries or purchased.


Online directories are your best option. In contrast to offline lists, they are updated often. But in most cases, you have to pay to access them. They are made available for offline use too. CStores and MrCheckOut are examples of websites where you can access these directories.


An easy way to find convenience store distributors near you is to conduct internet searches. Using the right keywords in your search query, you will get a list of convenience stores you can work with. Remember to use the right keywords from your product and niche. There is an inexhaustible list of information on the internet. But to get what you want, you need to search right. You should include your location in your search query to further refine your search for the best results.


Interestingly, you could save yourself the stress of the internet searches and directory search if you can simply ask. Try to get in contact with local convenience stores; find out about their distributors. You can also attend trade shows. You might get to meet the distributors themselves.


An important thing you should know is that there are different types of convenience store distributors. There are the full-service distributors, product-specific distributors, rack or wagon-jobbers, retail distributors, and wholesale distributors. Each of these types of distributors has its specificities and mode of operations.

© 2020 FTK Distributors

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑