Considering that it is six times harder to acquire new customers than it is to sell to existing customers, it may be worthwhile for you to review those accounts that haven’t ordered in a while. If some accounts have fallen away, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t order again.
They may be giving your line a rest. Galleries with a regular customer following need to continually bring in new merchandise to keep a fresh offering for their clientele. That’s why the first thing they want to know from you is, “What’s new?” If they have been carrying your line for quite a while, sales may slow down. Taking a breather from an artist temporarily will allow them to present your work as “new” when they do reorder.
Don’t let those accounts drift away. Stay in contact with them during that breather, focusing on new and innovative designs you are adding to your line.
Your line may not have sold as well as they’d hoped. Perhaps a gallery buyer thought your work would be a smash hit, but sales were lukewarm. That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. Get back in touch and see if the merchandise they bought might have been the wrong mix. If you have several collections, see if trading back unsold merchandise for new items might just be the jump-start you need to appeal to their customers. And make sure that you provide merchandising ideas, sales tips, signage or other information that will help them sell your work more effectively.
They may have a new buyer. Sometimes a new buyer wants to make their own stamp on the lines that are carried. This may mean that your line is discontinued, but don’t take this as a permanent rejection. Get in touch with the new buyer and present your work to them, in person, through mail, email or at a trade show. Make them aware of your entire line, because they may have only seen a few pieces at their store. And be sure that you understand possible objections and prepare for them ahead of time.
They may have forgotten about you. Yes, it’s possible that a retailer forgot about you – sometimes because your work sold out and they lost track. You can only blame yourself for not getting reorders if you haven’t followed up with every one of your accounts. But if it’s been a while, re-establish contact and start fresh. And remember that successful artists add 30% new product to their lines every year to serve their retailers and their collectors.
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