Selling beverages to Mexico is easier than ever. Mexico is the #1 importer of US products in the world. There is a need for all types of products including energy drinks, beer, water, flavored water, wine, soda and spirits.
Mexico posts the greatest export opportunity for every US beverage company large and small. It has all the ingredients of a great customer. It has a great infrastructure including roads and ports to ship truckloads of products, many beverage distributors selling to supermarkets and convenience stores and more than 500,000 stores willing and able to buy new products throughout Mexico.
Not only that, but Mexico is one of the largest consumers of beverages in the world per capita and as a country including soda, flavored water, energy drinks and beer.
Beverage exports to Mexico are underrepresented with a mere $147,000,000 per year being exported from the USA to Mexico. This shows a Trade Deficit of $2 Billion Dollars in Beverage.
Mexicans are so eager to buy that they come to the USA looking for products instead of waiting around for someone to call them and sell them something. They visit US trade shows, organizations and many companies. I constantly have someone in San Diego visiting from Mexico to speak with me on how they can find products of all kinds to export.
Who’s looking for new beverages? Mainly wholesale distributors and large retailers. They are looking for beverages to sell in retail stores or to other distributors in Mexico, most of the time they will buy truckloads and export them to Mexico themselves, handling the shipping, imports and tariffs.
Why do they do this? Why are they so eager to buy US drinks? Simple, they don’t have Mexican made products they can sell and they want to be the first to carry a new American beverage. They know if they are the first to market with a new product they can make a lot of money very fast. After that they just restock their customer’s shelves and refrigerators.
The big question I’m asked by my consulting clients is: how do I get started exporting to Mexico?
To export to Mexico you can be passive or active. You can go after the business or wait until they come looking for you, and believe me, if you have a good product, eventually they will.
The passive approach to getting business is to make sure Mexican businesspeople can find you. Here are a few tactics on how to reach exporters:
-You have to make sure your products are in US trade shows. You don’t have to go yourself, maybe a customer sells at trade shows or you hire a broker that goes to trade shows.
-Make sure all your products and sales materials have an international phone number (not just a USA toll free number) as well as an email address. This includes your website, product labels, business cards and brochures.
-Have the right information ready. Make sure you already know what your international price will be. It’s usually much lower than your US price, especially if they will pay the export fees and transportation. You also need all the product specifications like weight, dimensions, case count or pallet count.
If you are serious about selling to Mexico and would like to do it NOW you have to be more active. You can’t just wait for people to find you because it can take months or even years if you don’t have any promotions in the marketplace.
The first thing you have to do is learn more about your target market. How much are people paying in Mexico for your beverage or a similar product? How much are they paying to import and transport those products? What are the profit margins for the distributors and retailers? Where could you sell your products? How many stores are there in Mexico?
Once you learn more about your target market and you develop your price strategy it’s time to find customers. Visit Mexican trade shows, look for US distributors already selling in Mexico and find brokers.
After you educate yourself a bit more on the Mexican marketplace you also need to determine what kind of support your new found customers will need in Mexico. Do you have a product that sells itself or do you need store promotion, POS (Point of Sale) material, sales commissions, or some other support.
Many times my customers tell me “I just want to sell my beverages in the USA and someone can export it, sell it, merchandise it and distribute it”. Well, this is possible. I’ve helped companies sell products like mayonnaise, water, margarine and other products that sell themselves in this fashion. But if your product is not a “first necessity” product or name brand, chances are you’ll either have to do some promotion or give a very good price to distributors and importers.