Category: Showrooming

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Wholesale

Its that time of the summer! Did you just show at the POOL Tradeshow or MAGIC? Maybe you are getting prepped for Capsule in NY or you just showed at NYNOW. Or maybe this season you have said enough! And will be doing you own buyer preview in house. With trade shows abound and buyers ready with their OTB (Open-to-buy), its an exciting time to be a brand. To ensure a selling season that sees results follow my ultimate guide to selling wholesale.

 

Syama’s Ultimate Wholesale Selling Guide!

 

  1. Create a smart outreach schedule. Implement project management apps like ASANA that will help you organize your calendar and to do list. You can delegate to team members and approve and share doc’s. If you want approval on your invites – stop sending them out on emails and share them with your team in a way where everyone can see eachother’s feedback. Every week for the 6-8 weeks around the buying season you should be emailing, calling and sending out postcards. No response is not a no.
  2. Check your email open rates. Tired of sending out well thought out emails to individual buyers and not getting feedback? They may not even be reading your emails. Implement Streak (my favorite tool) to see if your subject headers are having any results. If no one opens, its time to resend the same email with a different subject header.
  3. Build up your perceived value and tell everyone about it. Use your social media channels, your newsletters and your individual buyer emails to pump up your brand. Include your best press outlets, the influencers that love your brand and any important retailers that your audience would want to know about. You want to create the impression of “Wow, this brand is getting traction, I need to know about this”. Anytime something great happens think of the 3-5 places you can syndicate it out to.email
  4. Yes, numbers count. Your buyers, editors and influencers will check your social media numbers. If you are a new brand and just launching, it doesn’t matter. Most brands are building up their social media channels 6-12 months before they launch so they can get traction. If you are doing this supper last minute- which is not the preferred method- I suggest 1. Streamlining your social media channels to Instagram and Facebook 2. Front loading your channel with lifestyle, brandcentric and product images 3. Hiring a bot like (FastFollowerz) to help you with engagement and follower numbers. This is not the long term strategy simply because fake followers don’t care about your brand, they won’t buy and they screw with all your numbers (engagement, follower rate etc.) However, if you have not done the preparation to get your brand in great shape with social media you may not have a chance at market without a strong online presence. The alternative is that you can start building organic now and do your big push in Feb market. No need to rush something so important like you brand presence online.
  5. Get innovative with selling tools. Who says you need a full scale printed lookbook and linelist with all your products. There are so many ways to get your brand noticed. Some of my favorite ideas are custom USB sticks (email maxs@usbmemorydirect.com, for a free sample!). I also love the idea of using a smaller directional printed book- something that really just highlights the direction, mood and feel of the collection. You can always email the full stack loobook and linelist to the buyer. Another favorite idea is to do a 4-week postcard campaign with a different image from the collection on each one. What a great way to tell a story!
  6. Be cohesive. If your website is not in good shape, then why waste the time pitching? I always would check out someone’s website when I was a buyer and see how they present themselves. Are you echoing the same message on your social media channel? When you write your emails and create branded assets do they all have the same verbiage? Every email you send is a branding opportunity. If you do not brand yourself, you will be branded! You don’t need to spend a fortune on an amazing site, with careful planning and the right help you can get a full stack build out for $3k- its true. Look like you are funded, even when you are not.YouTube Video How to Create a Page That Sells
  7. Long-term game. No matter how seasoned you are you need to remember that buyers are people and want to build relationships, not just buy products. If your entire business rests on sales from one season then you shouldn’t be in this business. Better off to invest your time in another business, one that doesn’t require so much relationship building and time. There is no magic to hard work.
  8. Present with perfection. Yes, you need branded hangers. Yes, you need garment bags. Yes, you need stickers to add to boxes when you ship out samples. It’s in the details. When you are one of a thousand brands pitching and you get the opportunity to put your product in front of the buyer or to send them samples you have increased your chances to one of a few hundred. Why blow the opportunity by not making it the best darn presentation you can.show the clothes
  9. Pitch 365 days a year. Well, technically no, but you cann
    ot just communicate with someone when you need them. It’s like a friend who only asks you to coffee when they want you to lend them money. This is why brands hire showrooms and sales reps. since they keep the relationships warm all year round. You should be planning your off month communication so that when the official selling season is over you are still in touch. This way if you have any immediates (products with inventory on hand) or want to chat about exclusives or even next season you will have their ear.
  10. Know your Operations! This is a no-brainer. You have got to know what kinds of payment terms, minimums, shipping deadlines, EDI requirements, chargebacks, and logistical elements will be asked of you. Can you work on drop-shipment, cross-shipment, consignment? If you are not prepared with the backend, all the front-end work you have done and product development will have been for naught. If you are not familiar with the logistics and operations then educate yourself right away.

 

Best of luck this selling season! I know it’s difficult to sell your products to retail buyers. As a former buyer and consultant for brands, I have spent the last 15 years in this industry and have seen the rapid changes. Veterans in fashion don’t know how to play in the new landscape of wholesale, retail, popup shops, mobile commerce and social media. You need to arm yourself with a strategic plan to leverage the best of your brand and build from there. Your business model may be different from your peers, but finding the right model for you will help you with longevity and success. Here is to your successful selling season!

 

Syama Meagher is a retail strategist for brands and retailers. She helps entrepreneurs launch and grow fashion business built to last through ecommerce, wholesale and brick & mortar. Syama is a former at Barneys New York, Gucci, AHAlife and Macy’s. To build your brand and create a profitable business check out www.ScalingRetail.com and email hello@scalingretail.com

 

Retail Roundup: Best Buy & Showrooming

 

Audio Only:

Hi and welcome to the retail roundup this is Syama Meagher from Scaling Retail. This week we took a look at show-rooming in particular Best Buy.

This holiday season Best Buy launched a wonderful commercial featuring Will Arnet and really putting up forward and front that they are suffering from show-rooming. They turned it into a light and witty commercial but it stills never fails to address that show-rooming is a big issue. Best Buy launched last year a $45 billion campaign, really geared towards getting customers back into their stores and back to shopping with them. This renew Blue campaign, appropriately named, is really game at getting back to seeing the benefits of what it is to shop in the store.

Now, you may think that larger retailers are the only ones to suffer from this, however small stores and boutiques in particular also suffer from
show-rooming as well. There are five strategies and things that we can do as boutique owners and retail store owners to really help cultivate the customer and prevent show-rooming.

Number one, customer engagement. Customer engagement in store and online. Of course, you may not have a fully functioning e-commerce page but you probably have a newsletter or you have a splash page or you have a way to be able to have your customers find you online. What’s really important
about this is being able to close it full circle. So you want to have your customer come in the store, have a very engaging, relaxing, whatever your
brand ethos is, whatever environment you look to create for your customer, be able to have that for him or her, have wonderful dialogue, show them
their products and services, do what you do best which is working on your customer. Then you also want to have a customer acquisition process to
bring them on to your newsletter. This way they can stay in touch with you, you can let them know if product launches, you can also keep them posted of other events and in store things that you have going on.

Number two, product exclusivity. So obviously, being a small line, a small brand, you may not necessarily have the opportunities to buy total
exclusive lines from certain designers or vendors , however you might be able to do some pre-releases and pre-launches. You’d be surprised how many
vendors are willing to work with the small guys in terms of being able to boost the business for both of you. Also, larger vendors very often will be
able to give you some pre-release colors, pre-release styles before they go ahead and launch them out to the larger guys. So, having those relationships with your vendors are going to be very important when creating a great product assortment that’s both innovative and fresh for the customers.

Number three, in-store events. Hopefully this past holiday season you had some great holiday parties. Hopefully those generated for you some great
foot traffic which you then converted into news letter signups. And at the very least you were able to serve your customers some great cocktails and
have them buy a couple items and really cultivate that relationship. There’s nothing like a little cocktail party to get customers to start shopping. There are very easy ways that we can do that. Some of them include going to Trader Joe’s and getting a couple of bottles of wine. Other things you can do if you’re a little bit larger, if you have a larger customer base, is partnering up with Absolut Vodka or Hennessey or even an alcohol company that can help you with sponsoring events.

Number four, going to your customer. So this would include pop-up shops as well as your off-site events. There’s something that’s really
great about being able to take your product to your customer, which is that you become an expert in them even more, you’re going directly to them. Maybe you find a new customer that you didn’t even know you had before but being able to take your products outside of your store, it’s a big advantage for you as a small business. Staying nimble, staying agile and being able to really become an expert in who you’re catering to. So, take a look at popup shops and retail spaces that you can rent. Thestorefront.com is a great place to find those resources and then also in terms of off-site events. You know, take a look at what happened the year before and what events can you now participate in this year.

And lastly, packaging and the details. There’s a lot to be said for having great packaging and being able to service your clients with something
that’s beautiful, something that really speaks to your brand ethos whether that’s clean and consistent, black and whites or whether it’s more luxurious, that you have ribbons and there’s some gold trim and the tissue paper is colored. You know, really figure out what is your branding and how do you take that into your packaging. Those colors, those patterns, those fields will also translate well into your online presence as well, but remember Amazon has terrible packaging and that is one area that you can definitely beat them on.

Alright. Hopefully that was helpful. Talk to you soon. Bye.