For artists and makers who sell in the wholesale marketplace, a new account is something to celebrate. But what is the true value?
Smart entrepreneurs know that making repeat sales is the secret to growing a strong business.
How important is gaining a new account? It’s usually a matter of “making new friends, but keeping the old” – because those older accounts can be a goldmine for your studio business.
Some accounts are clearly more valuable than others, and it can make a difference where they come from. Consider this example:
A recent conversation with an exhibitor at a wholesale trade show was quite revealing. She was a maker with a line of body care products, and hundreds of stores carried her collection. She shared that she had only acquired about 20 new accounts at the current show, and stated that at a large gift show where she often exhibited, she would normally have gotten at least twice that many new orders.
But, she said, it was the reorders that told the tale of her success. The larger gift show, which had a different buyer base, didn’t produce reorders in the same percentage as the current show. In fact, reorders were twice as likely to happen where she was currently showing her work. That made each account far more valuable, even though there were fewer to begin with. And it made her realize that not all trade shows, or wholesale accounts, are created equal.
So, what is the value of a new account? That depends. Each new order brings potential with it. That potential is realized when an ongoing relationship is established with reorders coming in regularly. A regular relationship also gives the artist the opportunity to increase the annual volume purchased, expanding their “real estate” in the store.
If you find that new accounts rarely or never reorder, it presents a clear challenge to you as a creative entrepreneur. If that is happening, take a close look at your line, your pricing, your marketing and your follow up skills.
Sometimes, stores will do business with an artist for years, bringing many thousands of dollars in sales. Creating an account base of loyal gallery customers, who regularly reorder and with whom you can build a partnering relationship, is a very effective way to grow a business.