Here’s a bit of data that comes as no surprise to us: Retailers prefer reps that play an active role in their entire season, from pre-book to sell-thru and beyond. While that may seem obvious, what we heard from the thousands of retailers we surveyed goes even further. Retailers work harder for the brands who’s reps support them with the resources they need to sell their products.
The days of the milk-run rep whose job was simply to take orders are over. Reps need to be active participants in the success of their retailers. And this means that brands need to be putting tools in place to empower and enable their reps.
It’s easy to understand why retailers are done with un-engaged reps. They have limited time, limited space, and limited resources to make their stores a success. A brand that’s committed to fully supporting retailers, that invests in the success of the store (because the brand smartly realizes that it’s a mutual success) is the brand the retailer is going to assign more of their resources to. This creates a positive feedback loop that benefits both sides.
What do your specialty retailers want? In their own words:
“Continued and constant communication, seasonal visits, recommendations, and the ability to act as a 'partner' for the success of the brand and the success of our store”
“The best thing for our store is a rep who communicates with us regularly, both through email and phone calls, but also in person… Every brand that we sell makes great products, so good brand support can make all the difference in helping us understand and love it even more."
So, brands, how do you enable your reps to fully support your buyers? We broke it down:
- Enable your reps to check in on buyers daily and engaging with them as needed. Give them the tool to manage order deadlines, analyze historical order data, follow up on abandoned orders, and check in at regular intervals.
- Enable your reps to help out your buyers by providing pre-season content to build assortments, prep buyers for in-person meetings, and deliver supporting assets as follow ups.
- Enable your reps with technical information and features & benefits to share with buyers during the season to help keep them educated on the best way to sell your products.
Brands, by fielding enablement focused reps with tools designed to boost their ability to support a store, you ensure that they can build strong partnership with their retailers. That means stores are engaged with and educated on your brand, making it much more likely they will work hard to make it a successful brand in their store.