Makers: There are Do’s and Don'ts When It Comes to LibDib Distribution

LibDib is growing fast! We are now in 12 markets and there is no stopping us. Via our own distribution licenses and our partnership with RNDC, LibDib has brought our unique platform-based distribution model to new markets, in compliant ways. Stay tuned for more new market announcements throughout OND. 

We have A LOT of Makers reaching out seeking distribution assistance. Our passion at LibDib is to help brands--big and small--get their products to market and ultimately to the end consumer. That is exactly what we are doing. 

We have a lot of blogs about how to be a successful LibDibber. OND Tips. Case Studies. Extra Services. The LibDib team has built out an AMAZING Help Center that answers pretty much every question. 

However, when starting your LibDib journey, there are a few don'ts when it comes to working with us. Knowing these truths will help you move through the process smoothly, ultimately leading to faster access to new markets.

Here are the top five don'ts that come to mind: 

Don’t be uninformed about what LibDib actually does. 

“Can LibDib sell to consumers?” No. “Does LibDib provide a white label solution for brands?” No. “Will LibDib buy three pallets and have sales reps sell it through?” No. 

LibDib is a distributor. We are the second tier within the three-tier system. If you are a Maker wanting to sell into the U.S. and you are not aware of what a distributor does or what the three-tier system is, then LibDib is not the right sales channel for you at this time. In this case, we recommend that you spend the time to learn how the three-tier system works and educate yourself before approaching distributors. 

If you are a Maker who understands three-tier distribution, the next step is to learn more about LibDib. LibDib provides three-tier distribution access to ALL Makers that want it. Our business model is different from other distributors; we do not have trucks, sales reps or warehouses full of inventory. We utilize a ‘Just-In-Time’ inventory model where common carrier partners get products to where they need to go, compliantly.

We also provide: 

  • Immediate access to a market (once compliant) for all brands with a lower mark-up, plus fulfillment costs
  • A sophisticated, consumer-like e-commerce experience that showcases Makers and their stories to thousands of Buyers across the U.S.
  • Extra services with our Gold and Silver Tiers
  • Incubation for our partner RNDC and potential national distribution
  • The most affordable distribution channel for all e-premise partnerships

Don’t feel like you have to pitch your brand to LibDib.

“Can we send you a box of samples and more information for consideration in LibDib’s portfolio?” No, you don’t need to! That’s the beauty of LibDib. 

Now don’t get me wrong, our team loves receiving samples. But you do not need to pitch us. LibDib is here for you, no matter what. I will say it again: All Makers are welcome on LibDib!

Don’t “Post and Pray”

“If I submit my offerings to a market, can I just sit back and Buyers will find them?” No. 

“I have had my offerings live on LibDib for over a year and I just got my first order. This doesn’t work.” LibDib does work, but Makers have to work to make it work! Just read a few of our Maker success stories to understand how to be successful. 

If a Maker enters offerings on LibDib and thinks they are going to automatically sell, I call that the “Post and Pray.” A Maker “might” get a sale or two, but this is not a way to move cases, build relationships and ultimately grow a business. Our most successful Makers are actively working the market, building Buyer relationships and placing Digital Requests. They have an e-premise (buy it now) strategy and know how to turn consumer sales into trade Buyer interest. Makers need to hustle--no matter which distributor you are with--this industry is very competitive. If a Buyer doesn’t get to know you and your product personally, there are a hundred other Makers lined up to see them. It’s the hard truth about this business. Unless you are Tito, Jack, Jim, or Julio, nobody really “needs” you. Buyers have to want you. 

(This is true in ANY distribution situation, whether you are with LibDib, our partner RNDC, or anyone in between. One of the first things a distributor will determine before taking on a new brand is your commitment to sales and marketing support in the market. They want you to have a plan for feet on the street, online marketing dollars, and salesperson incentives. Long gone are the days where brands can sit back and let a distributor do all the sales work).

Don’t F-up Shipping

When you get a LibDib order, ship it that day or the next. If you do not have the capacity to ship within 48 hours (vacation, sick etc.), mark your offerings on the platform as unavailable until someone is able to ship. If you need to send an order to your third party warehouse or fulfillment partner, do it THAT DAY. And follow up to make sure it is shipped. 

Ship it correctly so it doesn’t break. There are multiple resources for shipping wine and spirits bottles safely. My favorite is AirShock. If your product breaks, you must replace the shipment. It’s double the work for the same order. Ship it correctly the first time and you'll save yourself time and maker a Buyer happy.

If you are a first time Maker, be 100% positive about your ability to ship safely. Are you squared away with FedEx? 

To utilize LibDib, Makers must use LibShip, our partnership with FedEx. Why? We get great rates which we pass directly to Makers. But more importantly, we have automated tracking and communications to Buyers, with up-to-date information on where the product is at all times. Cases can ship one at a time via LibShip or LibShip Freight. It’s easy--labels are downloaded, printed and taped to the package(s). More information about LibShip can be found here. We even have a LibShip Training Certificate for Makers available here

For those of you that have been in the industry for a long time, to think that a Buyer in 12 states can call/email/text/DM you and ask to purchase a case of your offerings and all you have to do is download a label and it gets there? And that’s a compliant three-tier transaction? Yes, it is now and only with LibDib! 

Don’t Think it is Going to be Easy

As the old saying goes, if it were easy everyone would do it. The wine and spirits world is a great industry to be in. People are genuinely happy to be here and love to learn about new products and offerings. It’s a social business and all about sharing and celebrating good times with drinks, friends, food, etc. All the good things in life. But building a brand is hard work. It requires a lot of time, effort and capital. Our most successful Makers know this going in. They have a goal and they see it through with hard work and perseverance. 

Three-tier distribution is complicated. There are lots of permits, licenses, and work to do before you even start. There are costs involved for compliance and a sales and marketing plan. But once a LibDib account is up and running, it takes a brand to the next level. When consumers can purchase your products at their local retailer, get a cocktail or glass of your wine at the bar with their friends, or purchase a bottle as a gift online, you are well on your way to distribution success!