How do I Become a Retail Distributor?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
A retail distributor buys merchandise from a manufacturer and then sells it to the public.
A retail distributor buys merchandise from a manufacturer and then sells it to the public.

A retail distributor is a person or company who buys products from a manufacturer or wholesaler and sells them to the public. A person can usually become a retail distributor without securing formal education or training. He may have a better chance for success in this field, however, if he attends college and earns a business degree or at least takes some business management courses. In general, a person who wants to become a retail distributor needs a business plan, a place in which to store and sell his products, business licensing, and some money to invest in his business.

Many retail distributor stores are independently owned.
Many retail distributor stores are independently owned.

Manufacturers don't usually sell directly to consumers. Instead, they sells products to wholesalers and retail distributors who get the products into the hands of end users. A retail distributor can carry thousands of products or even just a few. In fact, some retail distributors work out of their own homes, selling their products via the Internet.

Retail distributors may set up storefronts in a shopping mall.
Retail distributors may set up storefronts in a shopping mall.

A person who wants to become a retail distributor may pursue college education or take a few business courses in order to learn about operating a business. It is possible to start this business without any formal education, however. An individual may also read books about starting a retail business or read trade publications that may give him valuable insight into the retail industry.

Retail distributors might sell out of season items at a discounted price.
Retail distributors might sell out of season items at a discounted price.

Once an individual feels prepared to move forward with becoming a retail distributor, he will need to decide which types of products he wants to sell. For example, he may decide to specialize in just one type of product, such as cosmetics, or branch out to take on a number of different product lines. An individual who has limited funds and business experience may do well to start out with one type of product and branch out to include others after gaining some experience and earning a steady profit. After settling on a product or group of products, he’ll need to find a manufacturer or wholesaler who will supply these products at a good price.

Working as a sales clerk in a retail store may help and individual gain knowledge about product selection and pricing.
Working as a sales clerk in a retail store may help and individual gain knowledge about product selection and pricing.

A person who wants to become a retail distributor will usually need a business plan that details such things as what he will sell, who his suppliers will be, how he will market his products, and what he hopes to achieve. A business plan may not only help him to stay focused on his business goals, but may also prove helpful if he has to apply for a loan.

An aspiring retail distributor will usually need business licensing and a place to store or sell his products. Some people may sell entirely over the Internet and may not need as much space. Others may focus on walk-in customers and need a store big enough to sell, display, and store products. Additionally, some retail distributors sell over the Internet, even if they have a brick-and-mortar location as well.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • A retail distributor buys merchandise from a manufacturer and then sells it to the public.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      A retail distributor buys merchandise from a manufacturer and then sells it to the public.
    • Many retail distributor stores are independently owned.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Many retail distributor stores are independently owned.
    • Retail distributors may set up storefronts in a shopping mall.
      By: Photocreo Bednarek
      Retail distributors may set up storefronts in a shopping mall.
    • Retail distributors might sell out of season items at a discounted price.
      By: Bikeworldtravel
      Retail distributors might sell out of season items at a discounted price.
    • Working as a sales clerk in a retail store may help and individual gain knowledge about product selection and pricing.
      By: pressmaster
      Working as a sales clerk in a retail store may help and individual gain knowledge about product selection and pricing.