5 Ways to Get Your Product Ready for Retail
July marks Independent Retailer Month! Here, the WIN Lab has collaborated with four savvy entrepreneurs to get their advice on getting product ready for retail, partnering with retailers, helping those partners sell your products, and opening up your own shop. The following post was created by Angie Sanchez MBA ’11, CEO of Artyfactos, and a Babson WIN Lab accelerator alumna.
Artyfactos is a socially responsible jewelry line in over 50 retailers nationwide that employs artisans in Latin America. They use safe, natural and recycled materials including orange peel, coffee beans, melon seeds, and acai seeds to create unique pieces of jewelry.
Whether you’re just building your products for the first time or you’re an ongoing entrepreneur looking at a new revenue stream, here are five tips on how to get your product ready to put in front of retailers.
1. Pricing your products.
The most important part of wholesale pricing is ensuring that you have your current and future costs covered while maintaining a profit. I typically see that if you sell direct to consumer at 9 times your cost (9X) then you will want to keep your wholesale price at around 4 times your cost (4X). It cuts your profit margins down considerably but this allows your retail partners to mark up the price and earn their own profit. Keeping that wholesale price at 4X also means you have some wiggle room as you scale up. While you will eventually see economies of scale, your margins will have to start covering things like new team members, sales reps, equipment, etc. Each of these costs should be built into your wholesale price from day one. If you miss this part, you take the risk of not being profitable in the future.
2. Take great photos.
Taking great photos is key to show your customers the beauty of your products and increase the likelihood of making a sale. I recommend taking pictures from different angles so they see every detail and sticking to backgrounds that will make you product POP! Having images on a white background are also a must as they will be essential in developing your lookbook, sales sheet, and website when you start reaching out to retailers to pitch your products.
3. Write clear descriptions.
Describe your product as if you are seeing it for the first time and don’t know anything about it. Include materials, dimensions, lengths, smells, feelings, and colors. Retailers won’t know your products the way that you do so it’s important to give them the tools to sell like you would. Founder story and the mission can also be valuable to include on these product descriptions to instill an emotional connection with the customer. Last but not least, include ways that the product can be used! Sometimes people can’t envision the product on themselves so it helps if you can do it for them!
4. Create a sales sheet (and don’t break the bank doing it).
Having a sales sheet is a must whether you’re working with sales reps or directly with retailers. This sheet contains all of your product elements including SKUs, wholesale prices, MSRP prices, colors and a photo of each product. This can take some time to create but shouldn’t break the bank. Clarity and readability are the important parts and much of the time you can send it in electronic format, saving printing costs. I use a simple PDF format and send to my sales reps via email.
5. Product Samples
Figure out which pieces are going to be your product samples. These will be the first-impression pieces when you get a meeting to get your product picked up. It’s essential to have a variety of styles and colors so that your retail customer has the opportunity to experience everything that they can pull onto their shelves. Once they have had the “first impression” experience, you can refer them to your sales sheet to see the rest of the product lines.
Head here to learn more about Artyfactos and see the full product line.