Looking for advice: I have merchandise that I sell online, and I want to introduce it to stores/retailers. Help?

My partner and I run a blog/online magazine with a focus on classical music and opera, and we have an online store where we sell related merchandise.

I want to increase our sales, and one way to do this is to introduce the merchandise to stores and retailers (ie. sheet music and music instrument stores, gift shops at theatres and opera houses, sales booths at conventions, etc.). For what it's worth, we're about to add more items and designs to our store, so there will be more to choose from soon.

I'm new at sales, and I don't know how to approach potential retailers in a professional way.

  • How should I reach out initially? By email? Phone? What info should I provide up front (and should this include stats about our blog readership?), and should I include samples of our merchandise?
  • Right now, we ship via a third party service; should we be prepared to change this, and essentially have large quantities of our merchandise on hand to basically drop off at the places we want to sell from?
  • What should I expect in terms of profit margins? How can I tell if I'm getting a fair deal from retailers?

These may be really basic questions, but that's where I'm currently at. If there's a better sub to post this, I'd really appreciate your advice. Thank you!

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