Today, Jonathan welcomes Karen Waksman of Retail MBA to the program. She’s an expert on selling to big-box stores and talks the nitty-gritty of what it takes to break into the world of big-box retail.
Karen Waksman Learning the Hard Way
Karen started selling to retail chains back in the early 2000’s. She got a job as a manufacturers rep, a salesman who sells products to retailers. Starting out, she had no idea how to sell to retailers and it took her a good year or two to really figure out how to get the retailers to buy from her. It was a tough start with lots of trial and error.
Years later she had an epiphany that she had developed an actual system. A system she could teach others that would get their products into stores and into more categories. In 2012, when she realized no one was teaching how to sell to big-box retail chains, Karen went full-time teaching her system.
“Amazon sellers need to absolutely explore retail.” – Karen Waksman
Amazon Sellers Get It
Amazon sellers really weren’t a thing when Karen started out. Her clients were inventors and engineers who had a dream and wanted to monetize their products. Amazon sellers came hard at Karen about 5 years ago, about 2015.
“Everytime to you add a big retail account…your company’s valuation goes up on average 1-3 points.” – Karen Waksman
It was a completely new customer base for her. She was used to dealing with the inventor and now she had people with private label products.
The great thing is Amazon sellers have an advantage over inventors. Private labelers had to go directly to China and to learn the manufacturing and developing and marketing and they learned how to do a lot of complex things online and Karen thinks they are awesome!
Amazon Sellers Are Innovative
Karen can show an Amazon seller the process on how to think like a retail buyer and with their extensive background, they can tweak their message for that particular buyer.
“Amazon sellers thrive in retail because they understand and have that marketing mindset.” – Karen Waksman
Amazon sellers are putting their products online, they get reviews, they’re getting answers from their clients, they’re able to evolve and fix their products to get better reviews. This has all led to the sellers innovating new products based on their audience and customer base.
To hear the big-box perspective and the rest of what Karen Waksman has to say, download and listen to the episode!
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