Convenience store distributors are saddled with the responsibility of connecting the manufacturers to convenience stores. They buy products from the manufacturers and sell them to the retailers, who sell the goods to the consumer. They play pivotal roles in ensuring the sale and optimal market performance of a product.


A good relationship with your convenience store distributor is crucial to the achievement of your aims as a product manufacturer. Investing in the development of a good relationship with your distributor starts with asking the right questions.


The manufacturer-distributor relationship is supposed to be a partnership, but more often than not, that is not the case. This is caused by a lack of alignment of the expectations and interests of both parties. The strains and tensions in the relationship have negative consequences for both parties, and the manufacturers stand to bear the most loss. Therefore, as a manufacturer, you should find ways to ensure that you are always on the same page with your convenience store distributor.


A good relationship can turn sour with a lack of proper communication. Asking the right questions would result in obtaining the correct information, and this will ensure the sustenance of a good relationship.


Here are three things you should ask from your convenience store distributor.

1.   Ask for feedback on your product

As a manufacturer, you need constant feedback on how your products are performing in the market. Convenience store distributors are excellent sources of that kind of data. They can provide you with data on demand for your products by retailers, and this will give you an insight into how consumers are demanding your products.


However, the release of this information by your distributor is subject to the kind of communication you instituted at the beginning of your relationship.

2.   Ask for Market insights and advice

Although this may come at a price, convenience store distributors can offer market consultancy and provide insights for their producer-client.


Their insights can guide the manufacturers in their product development process and help them spot a new demand in the market that can lead to a new product. Their advice will also help you as a manufacturer to improve your services and product offerings.


3.   Ask for the distributor’s expectations of you

After relating your expectations of the distributor to him, it is necessary you also ask for his expectations of you. This should not only be in terms of funds but also information, support, and technical assistance. Make sure you meet your convenience store distributor’s realistic expectations. This will earn you credibility and trust with the distributor.


Both parties stand to benefit from the limitless opportunities an excellent distributor-manufacturer relationship can create. For distributors, this means more product to sell and, therefore, more profit.


As a manufacturer, investing in a good relationship with your convenience store distributor opens you up to vast opportunities for maximum sales in the fast-growing convenience retail industry. But this starts with maintaining a healthy relationship and asking the right questions.