12 Easy Ways to Delight Retail Partners

12 Easy Ways to Delight Retail Partners

I'm a retailer at Satsuma Kids Shop in Seattle and a manufacturer of Satsuma Designs baby products. I'm lucky that every day I get to wear both hats and just as lucky to share my experience with designers like myself looking to up their retail game.

Working with retailers is an easy job if you're organized and follow some industry norms that are both thoughtful and build efficiency for your retail partner. Here are my 12 easy ways to delight retail partners.

12 Easy Ways to Delight Retail Partners

One | Send a hand written thank you with every order.

I think this is the most effective relationship builder for makers and designers. In our digital communication age, there is nothing like the feel of paper in the hand and the sight of a hand written note.

there is nothing like the feel of paper in the hand and the sight of a hand written note.

I often think about who's behind the hand writing and always appreciate the extra effort I know it took to send thanks and a special greeting. This is a total win that's easy and affordable! If you want to add some branding to your note, order a set of personalized note cards from Vistaprint on the cheap.

Two | Send a little treat with every order.

Regardless of what you make, take a little care with every order whether a new or old account and send a little token of thanks. If like me, you make age specific items for babies, your products might not always be appropriate at retailer gifts.

So step outside your packaging box and send a little something from your region. I've sent salted caramels from Fran's Chocolates, delicious smoked salmon from Pike Place Market and dark roasted coffee from a few of Seattle's coffee companies.

Three | Ship orders on time per terms indicated on purchase order and note back order terms.

Depending on the time of year, retailers can be running tight schedules with deliveries. If your accounts make largely seasonal buys like I do, they'll want to ensure that deliveries are made to complement other vendors' products.

One way to delight your retail accounts is to make sure that you live up to the terms you've agreed to in the purchase order. Using your own order form is a good idea so that you can outline your most favorable terms. 

Four | Offer net 30 terms right out of the gate.

If your cash flow can handle it, offer retailers Net 30 terms on their initial order and every future order. Net 30 terms means that a retailer is not obligated to pay your invoice until 30 days after the order ships. 

Net 30 terms gives retailers an opportunity to place your merchandise on the sales floor and start making income on it before the invoice is due. This can really help a retailer take a chance on you if you're a new line for them. 

Offering immediate Net 30 terms is a goodwill gesture that is both appreciated and lends confidence to the retailer that your financial house is in good order. Struggling companies won't be able to extend terms to all accounts. 

Five | Offer test orders a 1/2 of your minimum or thereabouts.

Like offering Net 30 financial terms described above, if you are working with a prospective account that you feel would be the perfect retailer for your product pamper them with terms. Get the merchandise in front of your target audience by offering a lower minimum opening order OR divide your opening minimum order amount in half.

If you treat your retail partners with care by following these tips, you will be setting up a long term relationship.

If you treat your retail partners with care by following these tips, you will be setting up a long term relationship. If you're really trying to get into a specific store, flexibility on your part will be appreciated and in most cases reciprocated by reorders.

Six | Reference purchase order number(s) given on packing slip and invoice.

Be sure to reference purchase orders on all paperwork that you send to your retailers. Add the retailers PO to your invoice, packing slip, shipping label and any other official document used in transportation and record keeping.

Retailers will appreciate having this purchase order reference at easy hand when receiving, booking and merchandising the received goods.

Seven | Include packing slip WITH PRICING in order.

As a retailer, I LOVE it when a brand includes pricing on their packing slip that's attached to the merchandise when it arrives as it allows me to quickly get the product onto the floor and online.

Save your retailers the step of having to comb their computer or paper files for a copy of their order or your line sheet and order form for unit pricing.

Eight | Follow up after merchandise is received.

Plan to send your shipments with tracking information to both ensure receipt and insurance coverage, but also to plan a follow up strategy that will delight your retail partners.

Track wholesale shipments and plan to follow up by email or phone - whichever is your preference - with a quick check in to show that you're engaged in the entire sale process, not just the order! 

Nine | Accept returns within a reasonable amount of time.

There are some retailers who manage their business by instinct, which often (and hopefully) comes from experience not the zodiac. Sometimes, a retailer will take a bet on a new product and it won't pan out. If merchandise isn't turning as quickly as a retailer expected, try to be flexible. 

You should be checking in every 4-6 weeks with your retailers to see how merchandise is performing on their sales floor. If you're proactive on this tip, you won't need to accept returns because you will be able to coach your retail partner on selling tactics and best practices for merchandising.

If you do hear from a retail partner that requests returns, be open. 60 days is enough time to see if your product will sell through and not too long where product is stale. For new accounts, this will show your flexibility and interest in a long term partnership.

Ten | Ship orders to the correct Ship To address.

I hate nothing more than to arrive home to a pile of boxes that should have been sent to the store. Pay attention to the small details and show your retail partners that you have their work flow in mind when fulfilling their orders.

Eleven | Work for replenishment orders.

Do not take reorders for granted. Check in with retail partners every couple of months to see if a replenishment order is needed. You will be surprised by the delighted response you might get from a friendly reminder.

Twelve | Follow retailers on social media.

The title of this post uses the term retail partners and that's how you should view your accounts. Connect with and celebrate your retail partners' announcements, posts, and wins on social media. Follow retail partners on the platforms where you spend most of your engagement and boost your partnership - together!

What do you do to delight retailers? Tell me in Comments and I'll spread the word with your wisdom and brand on social media. Thanks!


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12 ways to delight your retail partners


Today is a gift. Let's put a bow on it!
Find creative and sustainable ways to make family life a delight! Sharing modern etiquette that kids will enjoy.
💕 jennifer

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