General Question

Jonathan_hodgkins's avatar

From idea to distribution?

Asked by Jonathan_hodgkins (678points) March 31st, 2012

I have a great idea that I would love to sell to pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc) and grocery stores but I am unsure how to proceed. I figure I need to create one true prototype in order to pitch. The real question is how do I create distribution networks and how do I pitch the product to these various entities?

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3 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

I am guessing you don’t want to say in public what your idea/invention is, so… My advice would be to watch the show “the dragons den” to get a general idea of the process for various different products.

It all depends really on what your product is, and what it is you want out of it. You basically want to find the easiest way of getting what you want.

I don’t know what your product is, so I can only really speculate about how to proceed, but basically you just want to set up a supply line to the buyers with the least amount of complications.

Rather than concentrate on patents, prototypes, building factories, packing, shipping, marketing, and all that stuff, try to just do the inventing side of it combined with a little management. For example, if you have a new drug, don’t build a new pharmaceutical factory to make the stuff, just patent and license it. Or for example, if you have some kind of physical device you are selling, try to get a patent on your prototype, then talk to manufacturers and distributors and go make sales.

I say leave distribution networking problems to a distribution company, and instead concentrate on pitching your product and making sales.

Make a prototype, get it to work well, then ask some people you trust what they think of it. If it is a good idea, then go ahead and patent it at that point. Note that this will cost about 40k to do. Once you are all patented up, then find a manufacturer and distributor, get a deal made, then go out and try to make sales.

Cruiser's avatar

The distribution networks are there, it is tapping into them is where the real challenge lies. You will have to have finished goods to even begin to promote your idea as you will have to be able to demonstrate the product, it’s packaging, delivered cost, price at point of sale and ability to re-supply inventory. You will also have to have a handle on how you intend to market your product and at the very least be able to offer coop advertising, rebates, coupons and other “spiff” sales incentives.

Some inventors can get a foothold by direct selling to non-chain pharmacies and build sales volume that can then be used as a sales tool for larger chain store opportunities. As @poisonedantidote suggests, you may be best served by licensing your idea to a company that is entrenched in a like minded product who already has national distribution.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The first thing you need is some sort of venture capital. Without that, it’s going to be virtually impossible to market an idea.

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