The Secret To Selling To Retailers

The secret to selling to retailers - image of the Bassike store Venice, CA via Pinterest

The secret to selling to retailers - image of the Bassike store Venice, CA via Pinterest

One of the questions I get asked the most from my consulting clients is about breaking into the wholesale market and selling to retailers: “How do I even begin to approach wholesale buyers?"

This is a great question as wholesale is definitely an area of fear and trepidation that we all have to face at some stage if we want to be stocked in retail stores, and it’s natural for self-doubt to kick in with thoughts like "They know more than me about wholesale so what do I do if they ask a tricky question about how I set my price?”, “What if I don’t offer them the right margin?”, “Why would they choose my brand over the other hundred that approach them every day?" and so on. 

With intimidating questions like this racing through your head, it’s enough to put off approaching retailers for another day, week, month or year! But before you resign your wholesale dreams to the “too hard” basket let’s first assess where you are with three simple questions:

  1. Have you established who your target consumer customers are and what their habits are (what I like to call your customer personas)?

  2. Have you developed a strategy to speak to and engage with your customers?

  3. Do you feel comfortable selling to your customers?

If the answer to all these questions is “yes" then why would your current, successful practices need to change when engaging with retailers? The “secret” is to simply treat your ideal retailers in exactly the same manner as your customers because in reality there shouldn’t be any difference in the way you approach building these two sales channels in your business. 

Let’s take a closer look at what they have in common:

  • Retailers and consumers both want to know your story and become part of it.

  • Retailers and consumers always need to buy new things, whether that's out of necessity or pure want, and they both want to know why they can’t live without your products.

  • Consumers want to know how your products complement the clothes and accessories they already have in their wardrobes. Likewise, retailers want to know how your brand would complement the labels they already stock in their stores.

  • They both want to know the finer details about your products - the features and benefits, the colours and sizes on offer and of course the price.

  • They will both spend more time and money on a website that's easy to navigate.

Do you feel a little more at ease now? In summary, before you send that next introduction email to a potential retail account, think about what they already have in common with your online customers and draw on the strengths you have in that relationship to kickstart the conversation. Shifting your mindset and having a renewed approach to talking to retailers might just give you the confidence boost you need to start building your wholesale business!