Why Retail Buyers Don’t Buy

You can have the best product in the world, and not be able to convince a buyer to purchase it for their store!

During my time as a sales rep, I think I have heard all the stories on why retail buyers don’t buy.  Most of the time they won’t tell you, but often, if you listenWhy Retail Buyers Don't Buy, they will drop hints about the reason

(NOTE:  I once had a buyer that I worked hard at getting an appointment to see.  When I showed up at the designed time, the buyer was informed, and I was told to wait until she was ready.  After waiting for 15 minutes or so, I asked the receptionist — or her private ‘gatekeeper’ if she had forgot about me.  After doing some investigating on my behalf, she came back with a very embarrassed look and told me the buyer exited out the backdoor and had left!!!)

The Arts Business Institute published a post recently that lists some excellent reasons why retail buyers don’t buy.  Here are their reasons:

1. It’s not their buying season. This is a common mistake that artists make, especially if they are new to wholesaling.  Take a look at the typical “buying season” for your industry. These can vary. …

2. Their available budget is already spent. If their stock is full, and the budget is blown, you are out of luck. Sometimes, the buyer will tell you they are not buying again for a certain number of months. ….

3. They already have a very similar line. If your work bears a close resemblance to a successful line they already carry, they don’t need you…When prospecting, look for stores with merchandise that complements your line, but doesn’t too closely compete.

4. They haven’t seen your line before, or consistently enough. You have to be seen and seen again before many retailers are ready to write an opening order…. It also takes time to become memorable to buyers. They are barraged constantly with different lines to review. You must follow up regularly to become known and remembered.

5. Your line is not a fit. You think they should carry your line, but perhaps they don’t share your opinion. They may have stocked a similar line at one time that didn’t sell well, or just feel their customers are looking for something different….Store buyers are keenly aware of customers’ tastes, and buy accordingly.

6. They want to see your work develop further. Maybe they stopped in your booth or reviewed your collection, and feel that it holds promise – but they want to see a more diverse line, a higher skill level, or other artistic development. …

7. They are having internal issues. Perhaps they are having financial difficulties that are not apparent. Or, the owner is retiring and planning to close the business or sell the business. Maybe a new buyer is coming onboard, who wants to place their stamp on the look and feel of the store’s brand and merchandise.

Please note, there is no listing of any of the following reasons:

  1. The buyer did not like me.
  2. The buyer did not like my products.

Of course, sometime these issues come up, but often it is not the main reason a buyer does not buy.

Remember that, and don’t give up.  When one store doesn’t buy your creations, the next one you contact might.



2 comments for “Why Retail Buyers Don’t Buy

  1. August 16, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Excellent article! It has been my experience over the past 25 years how important it is to create excellent relationships with our buyers. I
    have also found out that “there’s no such thing as no open to buy”. Believe me if they want your product it magically appears! My advice would be to walk their stores and find a home for your product before you meet with your buyer. Find a need and fill it! Good selling to all!

  2. August 16, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for your input, Cecy! Good suggestions!

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