Pod Direct Brands - Marketplace

Best practices for selling to retailers anywhere in the US

If you are looking for additional resources to assist with sales growth, please let us know at [email protected] and we can connect you with consultancies familiar with the Pod Foods platform


Be ready to rocket into key accounts.

Are you a Pod Foods brand looking to be included in our Box of Innovation and pitched to accounts like Sprouts, Fresh Thyme, Foxtrot, and more? Feel free to fill out this form and our Growth Team will reach out for a call. Please be sure to be logged in to your dashboard to submit the form.

The Importance of COGS, Wholesale Pricing, MOQ, and Initial Promotions

Cost of goods sold (COGS) is the direct cost of producing products sold by your business. Also referred to as “cost of sales,” or "COGS report," COGS includes the cost of materials and labor directly related to the production and manufacturing of retail products.

As a brand, you will want to take into account COGS and Shipping Costs, and apply your desired margins to that number to reach your wholesale cost.  Pod Foods assists with this, by offering a general wholesale pricing calculator to help with your calculations.

When your standard margins are understood, you will also want to consider offering promotions.  These can be buy-in (new product placement or free-fill) promotions that are applied to first order conversions.  Or they can be TPRs (temporary price reductions), which are usually seasonal based on your category.

You may want to increase your wholesale cost by a certain amount (say 25%) in order to ensure optimal margins if a promotion is run.  It is better to be a little overpriced from your initial assessment of COGS and shipping costs, than to be underpriced.

Please note that certain retailers have specific promo requirements, so please consult with your Category Manager. 

Additionally, you will want to have a clear understanding of your MOQ (minimum order quantity).  You can learn how to set your MOQ or MOV (minimum order value) in your dashboard here.

A minimum quantity is important because it allows you to set a threshold for two goals:

  1. Optimal margins against cost per order

  2. Placements and SKU variation

Generally, a minimum order quantity should be a balance between what you need to ensure that your above financial goals are met, but it should not be so high such that it prohibits retailers from ordering your product. 

It is strongly recommended that if you create a MOQ or a MOV, that you set an initial buy-in promotion with a case minimum that aligns with the MOQ.  This will ensure that the retail buyer has the promotion applied to all possible cases.

Lastly, when selling into a new retail account, it is important to note that the retailer likely does not have any sales history of your product to reference, even if they have tried samples.  Therefore, the retailer is assuming some risk in bringing on a new product.  It is your job, as a brand, to alleviate that upfront risk as much as possible, in order to drive trial of your brand on retailers’ initial orders. This will ensure that:

  1. The retail buyer has a minimal barrier to entry for initial purchase conversion

  2. The retail buyer can offer a minimal barrier to entry for consumer purchase conversion

An ideal way to accomplish this, aside from demos and in-store sampling, is to offer a buy-in promo of at least 50%, or even 100%, off one case per SKU.  While this may have a negative financial impact on a one-time order, it may create an incentive for a retailer to purchase your product on an initial fill, because it reduces their upfront purchase risk on a brand-new product.  Peace of mind sells.

Pod Foods strongly recommends implementing a 25% off invoice buy-in promotion, at the very least. However, please take into account all of the above when planning for success.

If you have additional questions for sales best practices, please contact [email protected] and we can provide you with some brokerage recommendations, all of whom are more than willing to conduct initial consultations.

Setting up Promotions

It is best practice and strongly recommended to offer a Buy-In promotion, otherwise known as a New Product Placement deal.

Buy-In is the industry standard introductory promotion that a brand offers to a retailer and has no end-date since it is only applicable to new retailers ordering for the first time. It is non-repeatable following a retailer's first order.

We strongly recommend all Pod Direct Brands create a Buy-In promotion upon onboarding. This gives retailers incentive to order your product and see how it sells at shelf. Buy-In promotions tend to be at least 25% off invoice. The higher the discount for the initial order, the greater the likelihood of purchase conversion.

Pod Foods will not approve initial promotions for Pod Direct Brands that are submitted as TPRs or are Buy-Ins below 25% off invoice.

Navigate to the Promotions tab on the Dashboard toolbar. Here you can create and monitor your promotions. Submitted promotions are sent to Pod Foods for review and approval to ensure input data is clear and correct. If you have any questions please reach out to your category manager or to [email protected]

The process for creating a Buy-In Promo is:

  • Create a promotion name [Brand Name + Promo Type]

  • Indicate date range: From (Today's Date) and To (leave this blank)

    • (This is to ensure the promotion doesn't lapse for new retailers buying your product for the first time)

  • Select all active Pod Direct regions

  • Search for and select all published SKUs for your Brand (type in your Brand Name for easy search)

  • Input 1 Case Limit and 1 Case Minimum (Minimum is based on your MOQ)

  • Apply Discount Type: Percentage

  • Apply the amount (25% discount or greater)

  • Click [create] to submit the promotion for approval

A member of our team will review the promotion prior to approval and publication

Please Note: Promotions still incur a service fee off the regular listed wholesale price of the order

Pod Direct Promotions - Specific Retailer Requirements

Clark’s Nutrition

  • Requires a free fill case of each SKU per store on first orders

Fairway Market

  • Requires 1 month advance notice for promotions


  • Promotions do not go through Pod Foods, please reach out directly to goPuff to set up promotions with them


  • Requires a free fill case of each SKU per store on first orders

  • 1 month advance notice for promotions based on the Jimbo’s promo calendar 

  • Submit promotions by completing this sheet (promo calendar is included in this sheet) and emailing to [email protected] and cc your category manager

Plum Market

  • Requires a free fill case of each SKU per store on first orders

Samples and orders are very similar process for Pod Direct Brands. When an order or sample is placed, you will received an email notification. You can also see pending orders and samples within their respective tabs in the Dashboard.

Below are examples of fulfilled sample requests. The Brand received a notice of the sample and could see what product and SKU was selected, when the request was made, and to what store.

When these samples are requested it is the responsibility of the Pod Direct Brand to confirm them in the dashboard and then ship out the product. You may use your own shipping service or you may access and print out a Shippo label within the Dashboard.

Once the sample or order is fulfilled, you will be able to confirm shipment and apply the tracking information. The retailer will in turn see that the sample or order is fulfilled within their dashboard and obtain tracking information to expect delivery to their store.

Following Up On Sample Requests

When a sample request comes in, you are provided with the store contact information -- use it! If you are unable to fulfill a sample request for any reason, reach out to the requesting store and let them know the reason.

What To Send As Samples

No need to send full cases. Simply send at least one standard retail unit to fulfill a sample request so the buyer may see what the product will look like on shelf, can try for themselves and make the best decision about if and how to support your product. Include your Pod Foods Sell Sheet, any marketing materials and a personal note to the buyer for best results.

Turning Off Sample Requests Notifications

If you do not add a fulfillment date for your sample request you will continue to get emails about said sample request. From your Dashboard’s left-side menu, follow Samples Specific Sample Request > Select Use My Own Shipping Label > Enter Date.

Confirming Orders & Getting Documents

  • Navigate to Orders > Unconfirmed - Here you will see unique, unconfirmed purchase orders. Orders for Pod Direct Brands will indicate Pod Direct in the Order Type column.

  • Click the unique order to access it, click Select All on the bottom left to select all SKUs, or click Select on each individual SKU that you wish to confirm based on stock

  • Enter in expiration date(s) by line item

  • Click Confirm

  • Choose a delivery method: Ship Direct to Store or Self-Deliver

  • Read delivery instructions thoroughly

  • Ship Direct: choose a shipping method (use own label, or purchase through Shippo). Enter shipped date, select carrier, and enter your tracking number. If you are shipping with a 3rd party warehouse: you do not need to input your tracking number initially. However, you will need to input it as POD and can do so after confirming the order.

  • Self-Deliver: You can enter Self-Deliver as an option if you are physically delivering the shipment. Please print the invoice and packing slip, and be sure to have the packing slip signed and uploaded as a POD. Orders without POD will not be paid.

  • Click Confirm and print your packing slips and invoice

  • Once confirmed - the POs will move to Confirmed - Unfulfilled (status). Pod Direct orders are marked fulfilled up to 10 business days after delivery upon confirmation of POD

Shipping Direct - Packing Slip | Shelf Life | Claims

When orders come in, you confirm the orders and ship or deliver product directly to the retailer with a Pod Foods invoice and packing slip included. Instructions for fulfillment are provided when you confirm. Please note:

  • Pack the Pod Foods Invoice in your parcel and affix the Pod Foods Packing Slip to outside of box

  • Ship the correct product and number of cases with at least 75% of shelf-life remaining

  • If shipping multiple orders, each order must be in its own shipping box (even if they are going to the same location)

  • If your product is damaged during shipment, Pod Foods will inquire with the retailer if they wish a credit to be applied or a reshipment processed. Please do not re-ship unless the buyer places a new order.

    • If a claim is filed, our team will relay any damage to you and you can file a claim with the carrier.

    • Our team will advise if the retailer requests a reshipment. If the retailer requests a credit, Pod Foods will deduct the value of the damaged goods from your vendor statement. You may recoup the monies in a claim filed with the carrier - Please feel free to request claim information from our team as relayed from the retailer.

Marketplace Best Practices + Retailer Engagement

Store List

The Store List is a central hub which allows you to track and communicate with Pod Foods on your sampling and sales efforts. It is a complete list of all retailers who have ordered in the last 6 months by region.

The unfilled tab indicates retail accounts which have not been filled out by you, the brand.

The filled tab indicates stores which you have engaged with and input information.

You are able to filter the stores based on the columns along the top of the page. The way to engage with the store list and use it to your advantage is as follows:

  • Current Store - Options are [ - ], [In Progress], [Yes]

  • Distribution Type - Options are [Self Deliver], [Other Distributor], [Transfer to Pod]. If you have sold into the store via Pod, the status will automatically update to [Pod is Distributor]

  • Contacted - [Yes] or [No] - Simply in terms of store communication

  • Samples Sent - [Yes] or [No] - Indicate if you have sent samples to the Buyer

  • Notes - This is a space where you can leave notes on your outreach/engagement

Note: When selecting and/or reviewing stores by region - Pod Direct retailers are able to only order Pod Direct products. Pod Express retailers are able to order both Express and Direct products. If you are a Pod Direct Brand and looking for a store to pitch on the store list, please select both the Pod Direct and Express regions to understand all available retail accounts.

Growing your retailer base on Pod's marketplace

There are three ways to recommend new stores to order your product on Pod Foods.

  • Option 1: Refer a store buyer to your Brand and Product page. The retailer will be able to request wholesale pricing on your product lines. They can select Wholesale Pricing and input basic information as well as which SKUs they are interested in. Once submitted, the Pod Foods Team will reach out to register the store to grant them ability to purchase.

    • We recommend sharing the link to your Brand Page as a means to drive traffic directly to your products. The link can be found in the upper right corner of your cover photo

Product Page

SKU Page - Requesting Wholesale Pricing

  • Option 2: Refer the Buyer to [email protected] - They can email our team and begin the onboarding process via introduction from you.

  • Option 3: In the upper right corner of the Store List page there is a button [+ New Account]. Use this button to share new retail accounts with Pod for us to reach out to on your behalf. These accounts may or may not be transferred from existing distribution, and you may or may not have confirmation from the Buyer. You are welcome to share a list of SKUs you'd like to pitch or which are currently carried by the retailer.

Store List + Adding New Accounts

Please note that Pod Foods is not a formal brokerage, and we do not guarantee new placements. Therefore, new brand partners should take advantage of our store list via the vendor dashboard and conduct sales outreach on their own behalf. We will gladly support in your efforts to scale.


Most of our retailer partners are seeking new brands, but the sales performance of any new brand can be variable. One way to reduce the risk to a retailer is by offering a buy-in promotion, and you can submit a promotion directly from your Vendor Dashboard. Please refer to our promotions setup section for more information


Pod Foods engages our retailer network with regular newsletters on monthly or semi-monthly cadences. These newsletters cover the following:

New Pod Direct Brand Activations

Any new Brand onboarded to our marketplace is highlighted in our New to Pod catalog section for the first 60 days. We also send out a newsletter identifying these new brands to our retailer network in each Pod Direct region.

Category Top Performers

Our team will highlight top performers in each category for our retailer network

New Brands offering Buy-In Promotions

Our team emails our retailer network semi-monthly focusing on brands that offer buy-in promotions. If you offer a Buy-In of 25% off invoice or greater, your brand will be included in this outreach

Pod Foods is not a formal brokerage and cannot highlight any one brand to our retailers. We work in supportive alignment with brand partners, driving retailers to our catalog for product discovery. Brands are encouraged to use the above resources and best practices to introduce retailers to their specific brand pages on our marketplace for sales growth.

Still have questions or feedback?

Get in touch with a Pod Foods rep