I am constantly reminded that buyers don’t follow up on a regular basis. Most stores are just too busy to call their suppliers for re-orders once their supply is very low or sold out. Often, stores will just ‘fill the hole’ with another product and complete forget about you.
Inspired by an article posted by the Arts Business Institute, here are some steps to help you make sure you receive re-orders on your products:
- Follow up with your buyers. I recommend that for every new store who buyers your products, follow up with them 7-10 after you shipped their order to see if the order arrived in good condition, if it is displayed properly and is it selling. You want to make sure they are happy with their new line of products and that the store has all the need to begin selling your line. Also, ask the buyer how often you should follow up with them. I would suggest once a month if the products sell fast or at least quarterly, if you line is slow moving — unless the buyer requests a different schedule.
- Offer new designs and/or products. Since there are basically two buying seasons (Spring and Holiday), I recommend introducing new products at the beginning of these seasons. Giving your buyers something new to add to their inventory will often increase sales and interest in your line.
- Build your relationship with your buyers. Store buyers purchase your products because they like you. Continue to build on this relationship so they will continue to relate to you as well as your products. Frequent contact will keep you and your products in the mind of the buyer — thus making it easier for them to re-order.
- Help stores sell your products. Some of the ways I have used to help sell products is to offer a ‘no-questions asked’ exchange policy on slow moving items. Offering displays, advice on merchandising or even setting up your product display in the store helps sell your products. ‘Shelf talkers’ and consumer based literature can be a big sales boost to your line.
For more ideas, check out the Arts Business Institute tips