Approaching and selling to retailers is a unique experience for every store you visit. The approach you use with one store may not work as well as on another. But there are a few things that nearly all store buyers respond to.
Following is an article, by Kath Chown, originally published on the Create & Thrive website explaining five starter tips to selling wholesale. Note that the author ran her own store and is sharing her preferences when being approached in her store.
1. The best possible way to approach a shop is softly.
Don’t bring your suitcase of wares into their store like a traveling salesman – that’s always been my pet peeve!
Scope out any potential stockists and visit the store either in person or online to see if it’s a good fit.
If you want to just mention you make something fabulous, that’s great; then take my card and email me your catalog, I can’t wait to see it!
2. The shop expects you to be professional above all else.
Provide a catalog which is easy to read and with clear images and a simple way to order.
Make sure you can give an invoice that fits with the needs of the tax regulations in your country.
You will need to be able to fill their orders quickly and within an agreed time-frame. How long does it take you to make 20 items? How about 100?
3. Make sure you’re not short-changing yourself on price.
Working your fingers to the bone for minimum wage probably isn’t what you dreamed of when you started your own business.
Make sure you’ve figured out your pricing so you can pay yourself properly for your time – even if all you do is sell wholesale.
4. Most shops will need a minimum 100% mark-up on your wholesale price.
This is the answer which is usually hardest to swallow for a creative.
Why do they need to mark-up 100%? That sounds ludicrous and it feels weird that they will be making more profit on your item that you do.
One of the great things about a home-based business is that you have very few overheads compared to a retail business.
You don’t pay:
- large amounts of rent for a retail space
- fit-out on a shop
- loads of fluro and security lights (some which stay on overnight)
- security system
- staff to have the store open 7 days a week
- stationery and other incidentals which keep a shop running etc.
So the retailer needs to make enough money in their mark-up to pay for all these things and still pay themselves a wage.
If I could make more than the 100% mark-up in my retail store, it went a long way to making my business viable and eventually profitable.
5. You need to supply exactly what you would send to a customer.
This includes all the packaging and business cards to go along with purchases.
Always check with the retailer if your packaging is particularly large and isn’t for display with your items as they will need to find a place to store it.
Make sure you provide a copy of the invoice when you fill the order and follow up every couple of months to ensure the retailer is happy and to let them know about new products.