How to Approach a Retailer
Understanding what retailers want.
Selling your product and designs to a shop can be very rewarding and preparing for a sales meeting doesn’t need to be daunting process. After you’ve successfully set up a sales appointment with a buyer, it’s time to prepare for it. When you meet the buyer, make sure you can provide the key information about your product or brand. This article discusses what buyers want to know and some of the key information you should always bring with you.
Do the research
Well-informed, planned pitches are much more likely to succeed. But before you contact a buyer, it is important to find out what they offer and whether their customers would buy your product. See for yourself by visiting their shop or outlet and check:
Other brands / products on sale – does your product sit well / fit in with the other brands they sell?
Audience - Are their customers the same customers that you want to attract for your product / brand?
Presentation - Does their presentation both in-store & online reflect how you would want your products displayed?
Pricing - How much do other products that they sell cost, and does that fit with your price range?
Location - Is the location right for the image of your brand?
Promotions - If they offer discounts, is it damaging the image of the brands they sell?
Remember, if a retailer doesn’t suit your brand, it’s okay to say no. It’s better to turn down a short-term opportunity to protect your brand’s image. You can always find a more appropriate retailer elsewhere.
Understand seasonal highs and lows
The popularity of certain products can change from season to season. For retailers it can vary depending on where they’re located and what they’re selling. Generally, the months leading up to Christmas from September to December are peak selling periods. Some retailers take up to 75% of their sales during this period. Alternatively, the summer season, when tourist numbers are at their highest, are the busiest sales times for cultural visitor centres and museums. Their busiest selling period is usually from April to October. For extra insight into a retailers sales pattern, it sometimes pays to visit the store and strike up a conversation with a sales assistant / shop manager who can often give you a quick insight into peak selling periods for the retailer you’re interested in – so feel free to ask!
Approach a buyer for a meeting
You’ve done the research, have a better understanding of whom the retailer is selling to and think that they’d be a good fit for your product. The next step is to approach the buyer for a meeting. Here are some tips on how best to do this:
Contact the right person – find out the buyer’s name, official title and contact details. The staff at the shop may be able to provide this information, or check the retailer’s website
Present yourself as a business – Understand your role in the process – you’re not an individual when you request a meeting, you’re representing your brand / company
Make contact – telephone or email the buyer to outline the unique characteristics of your product, its unique selling points and why it will appeal to their target market
Follow up – buyers are busy people, so you might not hear back from them immediately. If you don’t hear back within a few weeks, follow up with a call or email
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