When is the best time to pitch new products and designs you have created to add to your line of products?
The obvious answer is NOW! But some strategic planning helps increase sale and exposure of your new items.
But first, before I explain the planning strategy, I want to talk about the two major buying seasons:
- Winter/spring buying season (for purchase of summertime and travel industry inventory)
- Summer/fall buying season (for purchase of holiday inventory)
Of course, store use their own special buying procedures, but typically, most buying is done to fulfill those two basic seasons.
(I have written a complete article on the subject that you might want to check out: Defining Selling Seasons)
When I was an active road rep, I typically contacted all the producers I represented a few months before these seasons to encourage them to share their new creations. In Idaho, with the gift stores I sell too, the winter/spring buying season starts as early as March, and can last as late as May. Holiday buying season starts in September until November.
So my advice is to introduce new products during those time frames.
Most buyers want to stock best sellers in their stores, but they also want to trade out slow selling items. Typical restocking for new items, happens during these selling seasons.
Say you have some new products you want to introduce. Do you sent out new lines sheets, right away, introducing the new products (whether or not they are ready to ship) or do you wait until you have everything ready and the buying season works for you and your buyers?
Wholesale in a Box website, featured an article talking about the different sides of this issue in their article that I would like to share:
The “Get-After-It” Approach
…You can consider adding a short line to your introduction email along the lines of “I also have some new products coming out in the next few weeks so I’ll circle back with that when it’s ready!” Your final followup can include the brand-spanking-new line sheet, or if the timing doesn’t work out you can set a task for yourself to reach back out a month or two down the road to send them the new line sheet. Don’t think of it as an excuse to follow up, but rather as a value to them…
The “Wait” Approach
… If you have some specific changes you are making to your line (or the story you are telling about it through you line sheet or photos for instance) that you’ll be really excited about in a month or two, then waiting might be the right decision. .. (When) you go this route, we highly (highly) recommend that you have a specific time frame that you are really trying to stick to. If you don’t have a time frame, you are likely not making a strategic decision — but rather pushing it off — which is not going to result in growing your business in the way you would like….
In general, it usually pays to keep connecting, cultivating orders, and iterating on your line as you go. But if it feels right to wait for a month or two — especially if you have a particular time frame you’re making changes in — then go ahead and wait before connecting with stores.
Having said all that, NOW is the time to introduce your holiday products if you have not already!