shopping-cart-1275480_1280Thousands of entrepreneurs dream of the day their products will sit on Wal-Mart store shelves, but for many, this will never become a reality. How can you be a part of the small minority of brands who get through this retailer’s doors? Follow these tips to improve the chances of your product being picked up by Wal-Mart:

Work with a distributor.

Your best chance of getting into Wal-Mart is working with an experienced wholesale distributor. But, make sure you are asking each distributor you interview what their prior history with Wal-Mart is, and how many products they have actually managed to get on the shelves. If they don’t have any experience working with Wal-Mart, they won’t be any more likely to get into the store than you will be, so there’s no point in working with them.

Make your product work.

When you are trying to get picked up by Wal-Mart, remember this rule: Wal-Mart does not need to fit your product, your product needs to fit Wal-Mart. This retailer may ask you to update your packaging, adjust your branding messaging or even make changes to your actual product if you want to get on their shelves. If you’re not willing to do what it takes to make your product compatible with Wal-Mart, you don’t stand a chance against the other brands who are ready and willing to bend over backwards for the retailer.

Show price flexibility.

Dive deep into your business’s financials so you can understand the true cost of your product. How low can you price your product before you start to lose money? Be willing to take it down to this price if you really want to grab Wal-Mart’s attention. If you’re one of the lucky brands who gets an opportunity to pitch to Wal-Mart, you should never enter this meeting without knowing the ins and outs of your pricing. The product’s price is very important to Wal-Mart so this will be a main talking point in the meeting.

Show off the things that make you special.

Find out what makes your business unique and play this up during your pitch. Is your business owned by a minority? If so, Wal-Mart needs to hear about it. Wal-Mart prides itself on selecting a diverse group of suppliers, so if you are minority-led business, you will have a slight advantage over others.

The same can be said for products made in the USA. Wal-Mart has even begun to put special badges on these products so customers can easily spot products made in the USA while they shop. Be ready to highlight advantages like these to Wal-Mart when you pitch a product. Neither one of these features will guarantee you will get into Wal-Mart, but it will definitely give you an edge above other brands who can’t make the same claims about their products.

Have you ever gotten one of your products on Wal-Mart shelves? How did you do it? Share your success stories in the comments below!