The buyer journey is the path your retailers take as they navigate the season. The best brands support a retailer all season long through the buyer journey, working towards mutual success.
But what are the key points in the journey, and how can brands best support retailers along the way? Let’s break it down.
Vision Quest - What brands align with my values?
Retailers are trying to figure out which brands they want to carry for the season. Brands need to demonstrate that they share the same values as the retailer. Show the retailer your brand and product story for the season. It’s also not a bad time to show them you’ve got a plan to support them all the way to sell-thru.
Numbers - What has worked for stores like me?
Use historical sell-thru data and forecast performance to demonstrate the kind of demand the retailer might see. If you haven’t worked with the retailer before, be ready to compare probable performance for stores that are similar to them.
Collaboration - Let’s merchandise!
Retailers want to touch and feel the product. They want to see what they’re selling. Get your reps out into the field to show the product and help retailers build assortments that fit their stores. Do it in person, make it fun, and don’t hesitate to go over the vision quest step again to really show them you are the real deal.
The Buy - Stay in budget.
At this point, retailers understand your brand, they believe it will sell, and they know what to buy for their store. Now how much should they buy and when should the shipments arrive? Some retailers will go completely self-serve and are ready to put their own pre-book order together. Others may want you to built a suggested order. Either way, the goal is smart, best fit orders targeted to their specific stores.
The Plan - How will you support me in my market?
In this step you need to answer your retailer's question, “I’ve just purchased all this product from you, how are you going to help me sell it in my market?” Retailers are looking to brands for support in marketing to their consumers. Be ready to show them the co-op marketing campaigns and promotions (social, digital, print, events - all of it ) that they can get involved in for the specific products they’ve purchased.
Create Experts - Activate my team!
It’s time to turn your retailers into experts. Educate them on what makes your brand unique and how to sell it. It’s not enough to simply send along a manual - you need to deliver something interactive and fun. Think outside the box. Engage retailers with the actual product and an event that helps them get the training they need. Your retailers are busy, but you have to find a way for this step to get the attention it needs. This is the foundation of what they’ll leverage on the floor when working with a consumer.
Sell The Season - Help me manage seasonal demand.
All the hard work and planning pays off and consumers are purchasing your products. It’s time to support your retailers' need to keep hot products in stock. This analysis needs to be done frequently! It’s no longer ok to gauge performance at the end of the season. Be ready to offer more real-time help in understanding what’s working and what’s not so you can correct course before the end of the season as needed.
Working closely with your retailers at each step of their journey is possible when you put #thefundamentals to work inside of your brand. The result will be a tighter partnership with your retailers and increased sell-through.