Business tips – Building great relationships with stockists

Another business tip post for all those creatives, small business owners, producers, makers and wholesalers…

Building great relationships with stockists and store owners can actually increase your sales!  Respect, trust, fairness and honestly are essential in developing and holding long term relations with stockists, but you can do lots of little things to help build these relationships further and get that shop building your brand.

By getting to know the store owner you will start to understand what they want in a product, what styles sell well in that store, which packaging works the best, which colours they are working with each season.  By keeping in contact they won’t forget about you (we do… this happens), they’ll check stock levels and replenish more regularly.   By sharing the stockist with your followers, they’ll do the same for you – a mutual tagging / sharing / brand exposing scenario.

Here are a list of ways you can work with shop owners to create these positive business relationships and start seeing the benefits to your turnover.

  • Stay in touch with them, keep them up to date when they place an order.
  • Be honest if the stock is held up or taking longer to produce than usual.
  • The little touches are important. Deliver the first order by hand, add a thank you card or a small freebie – we love this!!
  • Post on your Facebook page about your stockist/ share what your stockist is doing on your pages.
  • If you’ve made a new product let them know about it.
  • Ask if there are any tweaks/changes their buyers may be wanting?
  • Offer to swap products that have been sat in store for a while, you can sell them to someone else, the store gets a few new styles.
  • Create and send a social media pack with high-res styled photos of your products so the retailer doesn’t have to take their own, they are more likely to post on their social media if they have some great photos.
  • Drop into the store /email to get feedback on what customers are saying about your products.
  • Interview your stockists on your blog if you have one.
  • Collaborate with a store, create a giveaway, competition or special offer in that store.

It is a fact, I do have my favourite suppliers!  The ones that are quick to respond to emails, the organised ones that send invoices on time,  the ones that always get your order right with no errors, the ones that arrange to go for coffee (or gin) when they are visiting the area and the ones that keep me up to date with new products and ask me for advice on product ideas.  I even have a supplier that sends me a birthday card and gift every year… how special!  You dont have to go as far as the gin and birthday gifts with your stockists… but use the list above to start working with your stockists more closely and you’ll definitely see the rewards.

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