Whether you’re a new brand owner or a seasoned pro, it can be hard to hear your collections need to change. Still, don’t make this common mistake. When it comes to the wholesale business, retail buyers are the experts. They know what’s desirable in their markets, they know what their various shoppers want and they know what will and won’t sell. Instead of being married to your designs, keep an open mind and stay receptive to getting buyer feedback. In fact, consider yourself lucky every time a buyer takes the time to tell you what could fare better if you made a change.
Ready to get business-boosting retail buyer feedback? Use these key tips…
1. Operations: Get the Right Tools and Systems in Place.
Since the wholesale business works very differently from selling business-to-consumer (B2C) directly to consumers, there are different tools and systems you’ll need to put into place. You’ll be contacting a lot of retail buyer professionals from different stores and in different states – maybe even around the world. It’s crucial that you stay organized from the first day you start sending those pitches.
A CRM System
Start by securing a good customer relationship management (CRM) system. This will be the home for your contacts so you can track the names, contact information, store information, pitching results, orders made, trade shows attended, how and where you met each buyer and so on. You can also track who opened your email, who responded and the results of said communication. Also use the notes section under each buyer to track personal connections, buyer preferences and more. This is such a valuable tool as you nurture these buyer relationships over the months and years.
You can even send email directly through some of these CRM systems so research what’s out there and find the system that covers all of your needs and suits you best. Streak is a great one that works via Gmail.
Boomerang is another great tool. It’s your go-to for scheduling emails in advance (useful for pitching buyers in different time zones) and handy follow-up email reminders that will help keep you organized and on top of pitching.
2. Strategize Your Wholesale Points of Sale.
Before you start contacting buyers, map out your strategy. Where and when do you plan to pitch buyers? Cold email pitches done right can be successful, but plan on meeting with buyers face-to-face. Nothing beats the in-person meeting. Will you schedule one-on-one appointments? Will you use a showroom(s)? Do you plan to exhibit at key industry trade shows? Do you hope to pitch buyers at craft markets like LA’s Echo Park Craft Fair?
3. Figure Out Which Feedback Will Assist You the Most.
Go into buyer meetings and even those retail buyer email pitching sessions knowing exactly what you want. What kind of feedback do you want to receive most? Is that professional buyer feedback on your assortment? Or is it their take on the precision (or lack thereof) of your pricing? Knowing the kind of feedback you hope to receive will help you slightly tailor those in-person and email pitches to naturally encourage responses pertaining to the aspects you’re focusing on most.
4. Be Clear in All Your Communications.
Be clear. Always understand what you want and let that be entirely obvious in all of your communications. Are you trying to gain wholesale business or are you only looking for feedback at this time? If you’re communicating to sell, are you sure your operations and production partners are ready to deliver on these deals?
Watch our videos on how to pitch a retail buyer and what your assets should look like to present your brand with a professional image. Buyers need to be assured that you understand the business and fully understand what you’re talking about. Unfortunately, if you don’t make a great impression the first time around, you’ll rarely get a second chance.
Good luck with securing feedback – whether to fine-tune the product offering for your soon-to-be-launched brand or to gain more wholesale partners to scale up! Building a wholesale business can be exciting and getting the right feedback can be invaluable for your fashion brand.
Next Steps: Increase Your Wholesale Business Savvy
- “5 Ways to Make Your Brand Attractive to Wholesale Buyers”
- “3 Times to Reconsider a Wholesale Agreement”
- “Pivotal Next Steps After Securing Your First Wholesale Order”
Need help entering the wholesale business? Or maybe you’re ready to start scaling up? Either way, get in touch. Our team includes former retail buyers who can contribute to that golden buyer feedback you seek! Let’s begin with a complimentary 30 minute consultation session to see if we’re a great fit. Call 310-957-5264 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.