Congratulations – you’ve gotten that wholesale order and it has shipped! This is just the beginning, though, because the real value with each account is gaining reorders from them.
Repeat business is what grows your business. In order for that to happen, the merchandise you shipped in that opening order has to sell well for the retailer. It must move quickly enough to warrant their keeping your line.
Handmade goods tend to sell more slowly than typical manufactured merchandise, but store buyers understand where they need to be with their numbers. They can measure “sell-through” to find out how well vendors are performing for them.
How can you help your retailers sell your handmade work more effectively, and increase the odds of gaining reorders? Try these strategies:
- Include a list of “selling points” with your order. Give the store’s staff the information they need to share the benefits of your work with their customers.
- Suggest merchandising ideas that will enhance your display and make your work more appealing.
- Follow up with the retailer a few weeks after your order has arrived at their store. Has your work been put out on the floor? Have sales been made? This reminder may spur them to open your shipment if it’s still in the stockroom. During the conversation, ask if there is anything else you can do to help them sell.
- Further follow up calls should be made after a few months to check in for a progress report. A full display sells best; as merchandise sells down, sales will slow. Failing to follow up could mean a nearly empty display is sitting dormant. Reorders are not always automatically placed. Your call could be the wake-up call they need to place that reorder.
- Each year, you should offer about 30% new designs in your line. Retailers need to offer fresh and exciting merchandise that their regular customers have not seen before. The first thing buyers always want to know is “What’s new?”
- Consider offering a display fixture or rack if it is appropriate for your line. Use signage and branding that grabs attention, and shows your handmade collection to its best advantage.
- If your merchandise has been in the store for quite a while, and sales are not up to par, you may be able to change this trend by suggesting a “swap” of new merchandise for old. A different collection or price point range may be more appropriate for that retailer, and might jumpstart sales.
Working with your store buyers as a partner who is invested in their success (and yours) is an excellent way to build relationships and keep your wholesale customers for the long term.