How do you get started selling your products to Coles and other major retailers in Australia? This article focuses on Coles, more to come on other retailers later.

We have worked with many clients that have successfully got their products on to Coles shelves. They needed our help to streamline their business systems to reduce the time it takes to manage the compliance and processing required when working with such a big retailer. We do this using EDI connections to the cloud business systems we help implement. If you are new to the concept of EDI, read this first: What is EDI and how does it work

1. Upload your products onto

Today, this is the way. Tomorrow, maybe it will be different.

As of now, February 2018, if you want to get your products found by Coles, they ask you to list your product on a website designed to help your products be discovered by the big retailers. The website is

Source: Coles Contact Us page is the brainchild of Nicky and Darryl Jackson, who created RangeMe as a more efficient way for buyers and suppliers to meet, share products and do business.

“Our online platform manages proposals from thousands of suppliers across multiple categories, making it easy for buyers to quickly hone in on the products that are right for them, and share them with the world”. – Source 

Recently voted the Digital Commerce Startup of the Year, is not only the site that product businesses can go to get discovered by Coles. The site is also used by big-name retailers like Metcash, IGA, Blooms – The Chemist and more.

Here is a quick video on how works

Get started free today at RangeMe

2. Stand Out. Build your brand.

Daniel Flynn, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Thankyou, a social enterprise that makes great products and donates 100% of their profit to help end global poverty, are an awesome example of how you can build your brand to get your products noticed by the big retailers, like Coles.  Source

“One major retailer told us that we stood out from a crowded marketplace, and I think that’s something every small business owner should bear in mind,” says Flynn. “There’s a lot of competition for very crowded shelf space so you really do have to stand out to succeed.” – Daniel Flynn, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Thankyou – Source 

Back in 2013, Daniel shared some great tips on the National Australia Bank (NAB) blog on how to get your products on the shelves of major retailers.

Daniel Flynn’s tips for selling to major retailers:

  • Identify and approach your target market, but also be prepared to think outside of the box.
  • Remember that stockists are looking for opportunities, not ideas.
  • Be bold – you need to stand out from the crowd.
  • Don’t be afraid of big ideas; being small doesn’t mean you have to think small.
  • Use social media to build awareness.
  • If you’re short of money or experience, don’t make excuses. Look for fresh, new ways of doing things.

Source: Getting your product on the shelves of major retailers

What do you do when you are hiring someone new and filtering through resumes? You Google the person, right? Check out their social media? Coles buyers, just like you, are going to do the same to check out the “reality” behind the pitch. Paint the picture the buyers want to see.

3. Use a Broker

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Contact brands that you love – that aren’t your competitors in your market – to discuss how they got their product onto the Coles shelves.

Brokers, like Master Brokers Sales and Merchandising, may also be able to help you. Master Brokers, are specialised food brokers that provide sales and merchandising expertise to producers, manufacturers and importers. They manage and merchandise products on supermarket and mass merchant store shelves.

4. Preparing your business to sell to Coles

There is a lot to think about when running a business. A lot of balls to juggle. When you land a customer, like Coles or one of the other big retailers, you would understand that there is not much room to move. You have to stick to their guidelines and follow the rules, or they will go find another supplier that toes the line and has products just as good as yours.

Managing all these requirements, the additional compliance and paperwork can be a nightmare for you and your team. Using cloud software systems that connect to Coles via EDI, can certainly save you time and money. If you are ever looking for advice on how to streamline your business, send us an email or book a free scope call with us today.

Email me or book a free scope call today