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    5 Qualities to Look For In a Distributor

    As 2018 rapidly approaches, now is the time to start planning your inventory for the New Year and contacting the local distributors in your area about their products. Finding a new distributor or vendor for your c-store can seem like a stressful process, and if you are a single store owner that has never worked with distributors of national brands before, the process can be even more confusing.

    Before you sit down to the negotiating table, there are some things that you should look for in the distributor to ensure that the relationship will be mutually beneficial, stress-free on your end, and profitable for the foreseeable future.

    Here are the top five qualities to look for in a new distributor:

    1. Communication

    Communication is the key to any successful relationship in life. When selecting a distributor to work with, you want to ensure that they will always keep you up to date with the latest products, trends, and any potential snags in the supply chain. Staying in touch with your distributor will ensure that you avoid any potential issues that could cause unnecessary added stress and headaches.

    If you are trying to get in contact with a distributor and they are hard to get ahold of before you even begin the working relationship, this could be a sign of the way that they operate. Steer clear of the silent distributors and go with the ones that are happy to pick up the phone.

    2. Flexibility

    As your c-store adapts and your product needs change, you want to ensure that your distributor will be willing to change with you. This could be in order size, product offerings, and more. If the distributor isn't ready to be flexible with your c-store's needs, you could end up with an overstock of products that won't sell or not enough items on your shelves.

    3. Reliable History

    When meeting with different distributors, do your research on their work with other retailers in the area. Are they new to the market or have they stuck around for a while? Answering these will give you insight into the reliable history of the distributor and whether they are trusted amongst other c-store owners in the area.

    4. Price

    This may be at the forefront of your mind as you seek out potential distributors. Price is a key factor in selecting the right distributor for your c-store however you shouldn't just go with the cheapest option available. If they're cutting costs on their pricing, they could be reducing costs elsewhere such as transportation, reliability, and salary. Take into consideration the optimal price-point for your store as well as the other qualities on this list.

    5. Products

    Are you planning on making significant shifts in your product offerings for 2018? If so, you should take into consideration the family of brands that the distributor represents and the different products they offer. Additionally, if the distributor supplies a wide variety of c-store items and they prove to be significant working partners, you will have saved on the hassle of working with multiple distributors and can instead focus your efforts on the single one.