By definition, a distributor buys a product at wholesale rates and then sells them to consumers. But, for the Pokémon Company, a Pokémon distributor sells Pokémon products to stores.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to become a distributor in the way the Pokémon Company defines it. That’s because you need an incredible amount of capital and have built a name for yourself in the industry for years before you can become one. But you can collaborate with a distributor to sell to consumers directly through a brick-and-mortar or an online store.
If you love Pokémon and plan on becoming a Pokémon card distributor, you must first learn what the job entails.
Who or What is a Pokemon distributor?
A Pokémon distributor is anyone who sells Pokémon products to the end customer. This can be from an online or an offline store. As a Pokémon distributor, you can sell everything from Pokémon cards to merch and video games.
The first step you need to take care of is obtaining a license. Every distributor requires a valid license from the Pokémon Company. So, contact the company and inquire about acquiring a valid Pokemon distributor license. Once done, you can contact Pokémon card wholesalers near you to buy products at the best rates. You can then take these products and sell them to retailers and end customers at higher prices.
Of course, another important factor here is developing a business plan and pricing structure that ensures you incur a profit while selling to retailers and ensuring fair pricing. Other than fair pricing, your collection of Pokémon cards and merch will be your other USP. So, do your research and keep updated on the market trends so you can always stock up on the products everyone wants a piece of.
Building relationships with wholesalers and retailers who know what you carry and your pricing structure is also essential. This will help you get the best deals on popular Pokémon cards and find retail stores that will sell for you.
There are basically a few things to keep in mind here:
- Keeping track and being ahead of your inventory needs is of utmost importance. This way, you will be able to meet rising demands with supply so retailers and end customers do not turn to other distributors.
- If you are not familiar with Pokémon and the various related products you are selling, you will have trouble handling logistics. Being aware of various Pokémon products, especially the ones you carry and the rare and most valuable Pokémon cards out there, will help you grow your inventory in ways that will be profitable. So, research the types of products and their relevant history if you have yet to be aware of them.
- Staying ahead of market trends is essential. This will help you track what you have in your collection and what you should have in the future. The market value of various cards is constantly changing, so it would be good to have your finger on the market pulse. Online distributor channels and Pokémon fan forums are great at keeping track of the latest news. Also, build relationships with your distributors and retailers. Growing your connections will help with organic marketing, which brings us to the next and final point.
- Like most other businesses, you need to invest in marketing. If it is an offline store, this doesn’t just mean doing online and offline promotions but also investing in displays and organization. Also, knowing your target audience is crucial because it will help you customize your marketing efforts accordingly.
How to become a Pokémon distributor?
Once you have researched the franchise and the various products you will be selling and got the license from the Pokémon Company, you are ready to become a Pokémon distributor. Here is what you need to do:
- Identify your Pokémon wholesale distributors. GTS is the largest one in the US, but there are quite a few others.
- Find your target audience. Are you going to sell to retailers or end customers, or both?
- Work out the logistics. Is this an offline or an online store? Platforms like Shopify and eBay are great places to start your Pokémon distributor business. How will you be delivering the products quickly and in perfect condition? From packaging and the store displays (if your store is offline) to your starting inventory, this is where you work it all out.
- Work out a customer response system. Automate what you can and manually handle the rest so your customers’ queries are answered promptly and correctly. Take their reviews into account. Aside from troll comments, the rest is valuable data you will use to upgrade your store in the future.
How to become an official Pokémon store?
If you plan on opening a Pokémon retail store, you need a license from the Pokémon Company. The Local Pokémon Center will then let you apply to become an official store. Once the company sends you your forms, fill them out and wait for approval to arrive (it usually takes two months).
Once you receive the approval, you will get all the materials you need to open an official Pokémon retail store.
Where to find Pokémon Wholesale distributors
Since finding a Pokémon wholesale distributor is one of the first steps to becoming a distributor, here are some tips on how to find yourself one:
- Establish a relationship with local Pokémon retailers. This will help you organically find reputable Pokémonwholesale distributors in the area.
- The Pokémon website has a list with several distributors’ details, so you would need to check that out.
- The Pokémon Company International are the official distributor of official Pokémon products, so contacting them is also an excellent place to start.
- The Pokémon TCG (Trading Card Game) website has a directory with official distributor info that you can use.
Is selling Pokémon cards profitable?
Ultimately, this depends on how you run your business. As a Pokémon card distributor and seller, you must keep track of the market and identify your target customers. If you can tap into the market niche, you will find that many buyers are willing to buy rare Pokémon cards for a hefty sum.
- How do you get a Pokémon distributor account?
You will need to apply for a reseller license with the Pokémon Company. Once you have a valid license, you can become a Pokémon distributor.
- Can I buy Pokémon cards direct from the manufacturer?
No. The manufacturers do not sell cards directly. You need to find an official distributor or wholesaler to buy your cards if you are trying to buy them in bulk.
- How to sell Pokémon cards as a business?
Apply for a license with the Pokémon company. If you want to open an official store, contact your local Pokémon Center and apply to be a store, fill out the forms the company sends, and await your approval. If you want to become a distributor, get a Pokémon reseller license and buy your cards from wholesalers and official distributors before selling them for a profit online or offline.
- Can anyone sell Pokémon cards?
Anyone with a valid license from the Pokémon Company can become a distributor and sell Pokémon cards.
Ananyaa Bhowmik is a neurodivergent and queer pop-culture journalist with the Wealth of Geeks. She has previously worked with brands like Sterling Holidays, Myntra, Bajaj, and the Loud Interactive. She is an independent scholar, cat parent, and performance poet. Her areas of research and interest focus on and around digital marketing, Canadian indigenous history, queerness in media, and pop-culture and fandom studies.