Looking for an agent/distributor in Australia

Question

Hi – we are a small start-up with two years’ experience selling our wood-fired ovens across the world via our own site uuni.net We launched an Australian domain in Autumn last year assuming that Australia would be an “easy” market given the great weather (our product can only be used outdoors) and the amount of money locals spend each year on outdoor living/eating/entertaining. However, sales we have seen are very poor and I am now considering whether a local agent/distributor would be worthwhile. Does anyone have any recommendations? Or thoughts as to how to break into this market?

Answer

Hello Caroline,
From my experience I think you would do well to find a distributor in Australia. A distributor would give you a better reading of the market – there may be some detail that potential customers are just not getting, or some aspect that is hampering take-up of your product – his is difficult to assess from the UK, but a local distributor would be able to assist.
I have worked with several Australian clients and also with British customers looking to supply Australian retailers. An Australian retailer won’t ant to contact a UK company to organise re-stocking, but if they can make a quick call to a local distributor, or even better be prompted by a local distributor, there is more chance of success. Hope this helps – let me know if you need more information.
Chris Manka

Answer

Hi Caroline
I would suggest that you or you engage a company to research the market on this type of oven and who are the competitors, pricing etc. This will give you some basis to price your product and be aware of the competition.
Your next step would be to source a company who would act as your distributor or agent in which ever city or province you consider the most promising.
You would need to take legal advice at this stage on these type of appointments.
We act for clients on a similar basis and the research process is time consuming however if you can devote the time you may conduct the research yourself.
As mentioned above if and when you have a distributor or agent for your products be sure and consult with a Lawyer to ensure security for your company and product before agreeing contractual terms.
Good Luck
David

Answer

Hi Caroline

I’ll start by agreeing with both David & Chris (the other Chris!) above, and suggest that if you are trying to break into retail distribution here in Australia you will need a good distributor or local agent, especially if you are going after the majors such as Bunnings, Masters, Mitre10, Danks, &tc.

From the online, direct sales point-of-view, you’ve so far done a good job on providing an Australian online shop for your product – with, I note, AU$ pricing and free shipping (in NSW/ACT at least!). There are some localisation gaps, however (happy to pick up offline). Many non-Australian SME manufacturers struggle with establishing market presence and you might also want to look at agencies that can create a local buzz about the product (whether through social media or classic PR). If you can find a distributor that also wants to support that marketing initiative, so much the better, though you may have slightly different objectives.

Finally, I note that you’ve not registered Uuni in Australia (and there is another Business Name and an ABN registered here as of 2007) but I do note that your Trademark seems to have been Madrid-ed in as of 2014 – which is good. If you are already talking to local professionals on these matters, great – if not, feel free to contact us to see if we can be of any help. As with my co-respondents above, we offer inward investor market-entry services to companies such as yours: Beachhead Management (www.beachheadmgt.com).

Hope that helps – good luck! If we can be of any further help, please do call or email.

Chris
+61 400 345 286

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