2018 Wholesale Business Strategies. Hey, guys. I’m Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail. And if you guys are launching in wholesale or growing your wholesale business, chances are you’ve noticed a market shift. In 2018, we’re going to see a lot of shifts towards how buyers are looking at products and making those critical decisions. In today’s video, we’re going to unpack not only where they are looking in order to find new brands, but how brands are able to really get in front of this new audience, right? There are more and more retail store buyers out there as we see a rise in smaller brick-and-mortar stores opening. And you gotta ask yourself, how do I get front of these guys, and what are they looking for? So let’s unpack 2018 wholesale buying strategies.
So the first thing I want to take a look at is really the shift in trade show attendance. Now, we think about how people were normally buying product, in the past we would say, well, people are going to New York market, maybe they’re going to L.A. market. Certainly, Paris is also a really big market. But these days, all of the regional shows are seeing so much more of an increase in terms of how many there are. We got the Vegas shows, we’ve got Dallas shows, we’ve got the Atlanta shows, and we’ve got L.A. market. There are markets everywhere.
And trust me, guys, the buyers don’t have time to go to every single market. Even though I don’t know if you know this, but a lot of times buyers are being incentivized and the trade show organizers are paying for them to attend. But even still, it is tough for retailers to take away from what they’re doing and go and see these places. So when it comes to understanding where trade show directions are happening, I would say, really ask yourself: are your buyers or your target buyers actually going to those shows? If they are and they want to see you, trust me, they will let you know. You guys will have a conversation about it. “Hey. Are you going to be at L.A. market?”, “Yes. I’ll be at L.A. market.”, “Amazing. Let’s set up an appointment.”
The next shift we’re seeing is towards road reps. Now, what are road reps, right? Well, road reps are an asset, someone who’s on the ground who’s getting in their car, they’re driving to see the different retailers, and they’re getting in front of these buyers where the buyers are, right? Not expecting the buyers to come to their showroom or to their trade show. Now, we’re seeing a huge increase in road reps because, like I mentioned, not all of these buyers are attending a lot of these regional shows.
And so road reps are amazing in the sense that if you hire a great road rep, sometimes they won’t take a base and they’ll just work off of commission. And what you’ll find that they’re doing is they’re getting in their car and they’re driving up and down California or the Northeast, chances are they have a territory that they’re working with, and they are getting out there and taking your samples and closing it and getting those orders. These people are tenacious, they are determined. And the road reps are the ones that are really building and maintaining those relationships.
Next, we got branded websites. Now, you might be asking yourselves, do I really need a website if I’m selling wholesale? Yes, you do. Brands, you’ve got to get your website presence together, because retail store owners are looking at your branded websites and your social media properties first before they even take that appointment these days. I spoke to a company the other day that was really interested in going about things in a non-traditional way. They just wanted to sell directly to wholesale, they didn’t really want to build out their website or build their e-commerce platform or build out social media. And guess what? It was very difficult for them to get in front of the right buyers because there was no social proof.
So when you think about what a branded website does for you, is that it gives you credibility. It allows the retailers to see what your collections are looking like, what your previous lookbooks have been. Even if you’re not having any commerce platform per se, you can still have a branded website that is going to be able to communicate that. Now, retailers are also looking for, in that branded website, an area for press, they want to see all the different places in which your brand has been featured, they want to know what events, what markets you guys are participating in, and they want to see what other stockists you’re being sold to. So again, even if it’s not traditional e-commerce, definitely think about a branded website as the home and hub of your brand. It is your social proof.
Now, number four. When it comes to what retailers are really looking at, it’s not just wanting to buy product twice a year. Some of the best accounts that my clients have been working with are asking to see products in a more frequent basis. That means you’ve got to take into consideration not just your big Spring-Summer deliveries and the Fall-Winter deliveries, but all the counts of collections and everything else in between. Possibly, something in high summer. That’s going to be delivering in May or June. Possibly you’re looking into a holiday delivery. You might also have Pre-Fall and then Fall. Or you might have also a Resort delivery.
You’ve got to sit back and ask yourself, retailers are looking for newness, frequency, and they’re looking to deliver something to their customer that is fresh and niche. So if you can offer them more frequent deliveries, diversify your product assortment in order to give them what they’re looking for, chance are you’re going to be able to really nail that retail business in 2018.
Now, lastly, we’ve got niche brands. In our recent white paper called “The Age of the Emerging Designer”, we go in depth and in detail about why it is so critical and important these days to be stalking niche brands. In fact, in our white paper, we interviewed the buying director at Matches, we interviewed one of the co-founders at Coveteur, and we also interviewed people from trade shows as well as other buyers and trend directors nationally. And what did we find? Well, being a niche brand has tremendous advantages. Not only are you able to be more nimble and flexible with inventory and production, but you’re also able to provide more frequent deliveries, and you’re able to give something that other brands and retailers have not seen or experienced. And why is that?
Because as a niche brand, you can be nimble and flexible. You have the ability to produce products that are not only on the future forefront of fashion and style but also to be able to drive home messaging and branded experiences in a way that’s fast. Something that you ideate two days ago can be in play and in effect through your marketing today. And so when we think about the real grasp towards these niche brands, I think it’s very important that you take advantage and look at your own branded platform, and brand communication, and style guides, and make sure that you are pushing forward this niche cohesive messaging across all of your platforms.
All right, guys. It is an amazing time to be a brand in 2018. There are so many amazing ways in which you can take advantgoing to being a small to medium size business, of being able to be nimble, getting in front of those retailers. And remember guys, a wholesale business is part of a thriving retail business, you know? Being able to do great on wholesale, being able to do great on e-commerce, these go hand in hand together. You don’t only have to be great in e-commerce or only great in wholesale. One can really feed the other business and channel.
If you’re interested in diversifying your revenue streams and you need help with a wholesale sales strategy, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, make sure you check out our white paper on “The Age of the Emerging Designer. This is an amazing tool and resource for those of you who are not only interested in procuring and buying new emerging brands, but also those of you guys toward new and emerging brands yourself. Come and find us, guys. We are on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, we are where you are. Talk to you soon. Bye.