Have you been wondering how buyers plan what to buy? When they buy new products? As well as how they display products in their stores? Wonder no more, Therese Øertenblad, our Wholesale contributing expert, shares her top tips for pitching your products to retailers.
By keeping abreast of the trends in your market, whether that be fashion, home or gifting, you can suggest the right products at the right time to buyers, this not only helps to present you as a knowledgeable and experienced professional but it allows buyers to visualise your products in their stores. It’s not their job to imagine it; it’s your job to paint the picture.
When visiting any high-street retailer with the mindset of a salesperson, you can quickly identify that products are grouped and displayed in collections (also known as themes, ranges and stories). This grouping is designed not only for aesthetic purposes but to subtly upsell to the consumer and encourage multiple purchases.
The themes can be obvious such as ‘Valentine’s Day’, ‘Mother’s Day’ or ‘Back-to-School’, but they can also be subtler such as focusing on a pattern, a colour palette or a trend. There can also be several themes built around an occasion, such as Christmas. Many retailers sell decorations and other festive items that are grouped into different themes by colour, pattern, or broader themes such as traditional or modern – the range can incorporate everything from tree decoration to chocolates.
Knowing what themes your buyer is planning will help you suggest products that are not always immediately obvious. For example, if you sell beautiful stationery and a buyer tells you that their theme for Mother’s Day is ‘Pampering’ you may suggest one of your journals for reflection and self-care. If you sell candles, they could be marketed as an ‘at home’ pampering essential. If the theme is ‘Floral’, the same candle could be sold as a ‘long lasting’ home fragrance that will outlive any flowers.
Knowing what’s trending and what themes buyers might be planning can also help you sell to stores that might not have otherwise thought about selling your product lines.
For example, when I first started in the industry the company I worked for produced novelty gifts, they recognised that by creating products that tied into fashion trends they could sell their products to large fashion retailers. The launch was successful, and because of this many more fashion retailers started selling gift-related products, and other retailers followed. The same goes for book publishing, nowadays you will find books in a wide range of shops, but a few years back this wasn’t the case. With a decline in bookstores, the publishing industry realised they where losing stockists fast and that they needed to find new retail outlets for their products. Taking advantage of books as gifts, it made savvy financial sense to stock books in gift shops.
Other types of retailers such as home and interior and fashion chains followed, and now you see books in a variety of different outlets. They are often tied to themes and help create a complete offering, a novel and a candle, a plant and a book on plant keeping. There is even a subscription service for books and beer – now that’s thinking outside the box.
Take some time out and visit several different retailers and picture your products within their collections. Look at where your products would fit in and try to visualise how it would sit within the display. Try to find the most permanent theme and envisage your products sat alongside. The more themes and the longer the sale period the brand can retail your products, the more likely they are to buy into your range.
For example, that same candle that you pitched for Mother’s Day could just as easily fit into a vast range of themes and can be sold all year around, even if it’s the same candle it can look new and fresh in lots of different displays. However, you need to be armed with that information when pitching and remove the barrier to purchase.
Pitching and selling your products can be scary and intimidating at first but remember that buyers and shopkeepers choose their profession because they are passionate about products. Your passion, knowledge and expertise will shine through and get them excited about your products. Knowing who you’re pitching to and having already imagined your products in their store/s, where they will sit and with what other products will make it much less scary as you can confidently tell the story of what you already visualised.
If you’re planning on making 2019 the year you start to wholesale, Therese offers a 6-month mentoring program where she will help you with everything from working out your wholesale pricing to approaching your first potential stockist. Alternatively, if you need some advice on how to grow your wholesale business, you can book in for 2-hour 1:1 session to help you define your next step and receive advice on what you need to do to achieve your next goal. Get in touch with Therese to book your free call.
After a decade in the home and gift industry, Therese founded the Small Business Collaborative to help small creative businesses navigate their journey to wholesale. Therese has sold a vast range of products to both independent shops and large high street retailers.
Seeing your products in a retail store might seem like a faraway goal, Therese will guide you and share her knowledge to give you the tools and confidence you need to reach your destination.