How can your brand form an effective wholesale strategy, season over season? Out of the gate, there are two key pieces to understand and harness.
Understand The Retailer Journey
First, you need to have a solid understanding of what your retailer’s journey looks like each season. Buyers have tons to deal with every season, from the number of systems they juggle to the scope and amount of brands they work with. It can be overwhelming.
Your job, as a brand, is to understand how you can support them for mutual success. From the initial purchase planning stages, to merchandising the buy, to selling the season, you need to demonstrate that you are invested.
Know Your Fundamentals
Second, you need to activate the fundamentals inside your brand. The fundamentals are the strategic building blocks your brand should be using to create a strong wholesale channel. They are:
Buyer Self-Serve - because less friction for your retail partners leads to better fulfillment.
Content & Commerce - because educated buyers place smarter orders.
Enablement Focused Reps - because strong reps turn good seasons into great seasons.
Now you understand the goal. How do we get there?
Promoting Buyer Self-Serve
Let’s tackle buyer self-serve first. You need to treat your B2B as more than just an order capture utility. It’s a retailer destination that gives you the ability to interface with and support them. With the right B2B, you can maintain a personal relationship and meet your retailers needs around the clock.
Here’s how you roll it out.
Make the launch of your wholesale destination an event. Throw your marketing team behind it. Celebrate the ways it makes your brand easier to do business with, and clearly and loudly communicate those ways with your retail partners.
Sunset your old order input methods. Give your retailers some lead up time, effectively communicate when it’s going to happen and how they can transition, and then commit 100% - no more phoning in or emailing or divergent methods of ordering.
Incentivize adoptions. You need to get your retailers on board, and the easiest way to do that is to run a promotion. Offer some form of discount or bonus for initial orders in the first season. You need your buyers to see how beneficial your new destination is, which means you need to get them in there using it.
Harnessing Content & Commerce
Once your buyers are in the destination it’s time to start talking with them, to build a relationship, and support them all season long for mutual success.
What’s your best course of action for that?
Move to a digital first strategy. Going digital first means a couple things for you brand. It’s a huge effort saver, reducing time and cost. Also, it means you can rapidly and easily communicate with your buyers because your assets are simple to update and distribute. Added bonus: printing less is better for the environment.
Line your content up with the buyer journey. The marketing and content you put out should be built around the timeline of the season. During preseason, educate the buyer on the upcoming product line. During sell-in, empower your retailer to build the smartest order possible. Finally, during sell-thru, build up product knowledge and create experts at retail.
Fostering Enabled Reps
With buyers active in your system, you now have insights into what they are doing and what opportunities you have to engage with them. It’s time to enable your reps.
Checking in with buyers needs to be part of a the daily routine. Reps can support buyers by actively helping them manage order deadlines, following up on abandoned carts, analysing historical order data, or just making sure they aren’t hitting any roadblocks.
Buyers are busy, so good reps need to help with the legwork. Lighten the buyer’s load by using pre-season content to build assortments to prep buyers for in-person meetings and deliver supporting assets as follow ups.
Actively share technical information and features & benefits stories during the season to keep retailers educated on the best way to sell your products.
That’s it. Some practical tips on how to onboard the fundamentals for your brand and how to start applying them to your wholesale channel. They’ll drive mutual success for you and your retailers and establish you as a strong partner that retailers actively seek to work with.
Want to know more? Get in touch.