If you have opened some of your first wholesale accounts, congratulations! But you have just started as the money in wholesaling is in the re-orders! And the re-orders will not automatically come in without any effort!
As you know, landing a new wholesale customer is not a easy job. You may hit several dead ends before you score a good customer/sale. But, on the other hand, selling to existing customers is easy and better business model. (Don’t misunderstand — keeping an eye and ear open for new customers is critical as well!)
So how do you maintain orders and re-orders for your current wholesale buyers? Carolyn Edlund at Artsy Shark details a plan of action:
Give excellent customer service. Thank your customer for their purchase; over-deliver on their expectations. Set the stage right away for future contact and also future sales.
Stay in touch. Ever notice that when you make an online purchase, the company keeps in touch? That’s because they understand the power of repeat sales. … You don’t have to harass your customers – just send them occasional, but regular emails and direct mail, and invite them to connect on social media – to let them know you are still around, and that your art is still wonderful and available.
Create new work. As you continue to produce in the studio, share this with your customer base. Who doesn’t love to see what is new and exciting? Bring your newest art to the attention of people who already appreciate you.
Present work that is a fit for your customer. Keep track of the type of work your customers purchase. Then, you are in a position to suggest similar work, perhaps the next piece in a series that you are creating. When you customize your contact, it gets noticed.
Ask for referrals. Let all your collectors know that much of your business is referral driven. Then, politely ask your good customers if they know of anyone else who would appreciate your art. There are a lot of strategies to drive referral business, which will give you even more existing customers to sell to again!
Obviously, these tips are geared toward artisans selling to end consumers, but they still apply to store buyers.
- Giving good customer service will position you heads above your competition. Retail buyers love it when you give them your best service.
- Stay in touch to make sure your inventory is displayed in a pleasing manner, but also to insure that when you line is getting low, you can suggest a re-order. Buyers often forget to call in a re-order, so will appreciate your attentiveness to your line in their store.
- Buyers look for new items at least twice a year: in the spring for tourist/summer sales and in the fall for holiday sales.
- Suggesting add-on pieces to the line the store is selling well can increase sales for both you and the store — and they buyer will appreciate knowing that stores that do well selling widget A also have success with widget B.
- Ask for referrals can be a bit trickier with store buyers. But I have gotten several referrals from small chain stores or buyers who have friends with retail outlets in other areas.
Following these simple steps will help keep the re-orders coming in regularly!