How do smaller wholesalers get into shops?

Tips for getting into shops for smaller wholesalers

Wholesalers come in all shapes and sizes, from 1 person making things in their spare time to massive operations with warehouses and scores of people working to run them. Their goals are the same – to get into as many shops as possible and get their products out there.

Pearl 16th Bracelet

Example of handmade jewellery by solo wholesaler

We have a few tips for those small wholesalers who want to take the plunge and get their products into shops.

1. Be very clear on your target market/shops – your need to be very clear on who your target market is and the shops you are targeting meet that same market. You may have the most wonderful product but if it doesn’t fit into the shops you are targeting, it won’t work. Do your research, have a look round some different shops and get a feel where you think you products will fit. Be genuine, if you have a high priced product, there is no point trying shops that seller lower priced items and vice versa.

2. Be super clear on your pricing, your trade price and the recommended retail price – Different industries work on different margins, the gift industry works on anything from 2, (2.4 if taking into account VAT) to 3/4 times the trade price, you must bear this in mind. If you sell an item for £1 to a gift shop, they will have to be able to sell it for a minimum of £2.40. The shop owners will need to make this margin or it is not worth them stocking your item. They have a shop full of products making this margin, taking on lower margin products even if they are locally or handmade is not good business sense. When visiting a shop, you must have clear Trade and RRP prices, either a printed price list or be able to name the ‘trade’ and retail prices easily. Obviously there are going to be exceptions to this rule but this is a general guideline.

3. Have something to show! – Have a good selection of samples to show, you would be amazed how vague people can be, not having many things to show or even having nothing just explaining what they are! When visiting any shops take what you are selling with you or at least photos/catalogue.

4. Be genuine! – My advice when approaching a shop to try and sell you product, be as genuine and passionate as you can, be mindful of busy shops with lots of customers, immediately stand to the side when a customer is about. Politely ask the owner/manager if they would be interested in taking a look at your products. Don’t ever be offended if its a straight ‘no’, in some cases it really is their loss, other times you don’t know what the reason might be but if you believe in what you are offering it’s more often than not budget/not fitting into that particular shop etc. Don’t give up!

5. Have material to leave behind – Make sure you have something to leave behind with your products/contact details etc on, you never know! Shop owners/managers are very busy people, they make on reflection look back at your leaflet/catalogue and think about taking another look. You can simply take an email address and ask if you can follow up with an email. Always follow up a few times as often things/stock changes so its always worth that last extra try. I hope you have found these tips useful, this is just to give you a bit of insight into getting yourself into shops, its really a numbers game, tread the towns and get yourself in front of as many shop decision makers as possible and get your product out there. Good Luck!


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