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How To Sell Wholesale

Our Retail Merchandising Company shows fashion designers and product designers how to wholesale and launch successful collections every season.

Congrats!  You’re a designer and you have created your own brand.  You’ve designed your collection for next season.  Now what?  How can you wholesale and sell products to retailers?


Our Retail Consultants show you how to sell wholesale through strategic planning in these areas of expertise:


1. Brand Clarity

Defining your Customer Avatar or Target Customer

If you don’t know who your Customer Avatar is, your products will never reach their fullest potential, which will always equate to lost sales.

We take a 360 degree approach to understanding both your target wholesale and retail customers, and applying that to knowledge to your product design.

For example – if you design mugs, and your target retail customer is a career woman who is always on the go, your mugs need to:

  1. Fit in a car cup holder
  2. Have non-spill features for when she’s rushing
  3. Be easy to clean

Taking the above into mind, we then will incorporate the needs of your wholesale customer into the product design:

  1. Is the product stack able?
  2. Will the product look good in a PDQ display?
  3. How many products fit on a shelf? (Your pack size could reflect this amount)
  4. How many products fit in a case or pack?
  5. How many products fit in a master pack?
  6. What will be the estimated shipping costs per box?

Competitive Research

Everyone has a competitor. Even if you have carved out your own niche, there is still a direct and / or indirect competitor that you can benchmark yourself against.

We perform competitive analysis on the following, but not limited to:

  1. Price
  2. Product
  3. Placement
  4. Promotional Activity
  5. Aesthetic
  6. Engagement

We then take a deep dive into your product assortment to ensure that you are positioned where you envision against your competition, and to maximize profitability.


2. Product Lifecycle Management

Trend and Design Advisory

All product – based businesses who design in-house require full product lifecycle management – from design to sample making to technical fittings, to landing the products in your warehouse.  We consult with you on what’s trending in your industry, the “must haves” for your new collection, and provide feedback on design concepts and samples.  We will even accompany you to the factories to see the samples in person.

We are involved in every step of the product lifecycle.  Each new style is assigned a sku number and we create product trackers so we can track what phase each sku is in, the sample ETAs, etc.

Assortment or Sku Optimization

We ensure you have the right product mix to hit your sales goals, that your merchandise is priced right, and that your products are optimized for sales. This involves ensuring that you are developing product updates to your best sellers to minimize sales risk, while leaving room to chase emerging trends.

Product Management

A critical part in the ease of sale of your items is their readiness for retail.  Packaging design is determined for your product: will you need an inner box and an outer box?  What will the packaging dimensions be?  This plays a part in determining where your product UPC will be placed (whether on your product or on the box).  We will do analysis on the cost impact of shipping to determine your pack sizes.


3. Inventory Management

Before you purchase merchandise or materials, you must have a financial plan and inventory strategy in place. This involves establishing your sales and gross margin plan by year / month / week, for every item currently in your line and future items you want to bring in. Without this plan, you will not know how much inventory you need to purchase and sell to hit your goals, and will not be able to make revenue-driven decisions.


4. Visuals Design

Line Sheets

Line sheets are a wholesale sales tool used by brands and designers to show retail buyers your entire product assortment, and all attributes needed to make a purchasing decision.  It is not a marketing tool, and thus will not have lifestyle imagery or marketing copy.  They are to be very clean and simplistic.  Line sheets incorporate your logo, your sales rep’s contact information, sales and ordering terms, and all product details: image, description, size / dimensions, available variations, pricing, pack quantities, and product availability.

Look Books & Catalogs

The purpose of a Look Book is to give buyers inspirational visuals of your products.   It is an essential marketing document for brands.  Retailers also create look books to give customers ideas of how to incorporate your products into their lifestyle.

Catalogs are essential and powerful wholesale tools for brands, especially for brands with showrooms.   A large number of brands are deciding to only produce digital catalogs and have found creative ways to send them to customers.


5. Visual Merchandising

Trade Show Showroom DesignRetail Strategy, Trade Show, Buyer

The ease of the sales journey of customers through your showroom is dependent on the strategic layout of your showroom.  The goal is to inspire customers with your displays to give them ideas of how they can merchandise your products in their own stores.  Together we will design and execute your trade show showroom merchandising.

Local Market and Pop Up Space Design

Local markets are a great way for new brands to get exposure and buzz in your greater community.   Because it is such a personal event where you will get uninterrupted face time with customers, it is important for you to effectively brand your space – so that they remember both you and your brand upon purchasing, and will continue the conversation with your brand after the market is over.  This same concept applies to pop up spaces.  The goal is to create a lasting memory in customers’ minds to convert them into a follower of your brand and returning customer.


6. Retail Merchandising and E-commerce Merchandising

Making Your Brand Come Alive In Your Stores

If you sell your products at wholesale and inside your own retail stores or boutiques, your brand takes on its own personality through visual merchandising.  Your brand aesthetic is captured in the retail fixtures, retail shopping bags, hang tags, hangers, cash wrap, fitting room, literally every single aspect of your retail store design.  Your e-commerce store needs to entice customers in the same manner!

Making Your Brand Come Alive In Your Accounts’ Stores

The same merchandising techniques apply to your brand placement in your customers’ retail stores.  If you have a pop up shop inside of their retail store, you can create a mini version of your own boutique.  If your products will be merchandising alongside other brands, you then have to create a smaller footprint merchandising display, like a PDQ, that will stand out to potential customers in the sea of options.


7. Retail Sales Strategy: Selling To End Users

Where To Sell At RetailTrade Show Merchandiser

We will determine the optimal places for you to sell your products at retail: Local Markets, Pop Up Shops, Your Own Boutique, Your Website, Your Social Pages.

Develop Merchandising Policies

We will help you determine your merchandising policies: minimum order quantities (at wholesale), Returns policy, Shipping policy, Size Charts, Order Turnaround Time, Order Lead Time.  This is a critical piece of how to sell wholesale and will play a large role in retailers’ decision to buy your products.


8. Wholesale Sales Strategy: Selling To Boutiques and Large Retailers

Inventory Selling Methods

We will evaluate the risks and rewards of different inventory selling methods to determine what option or combination of options will benefit your business model: Consignment, Drop ship or Stock.

How Will You Sell?

We will provide options for the best fashion trade shows and apparel markets for reaching your target market.  Additional options to pursue are reaching out directly to buyers of small to medium sized companies, using a sales rep agency, renting space in a Large Retailer such as The Workshop at Macy’s program, and more.

Managing Large Retail Accounts

If your goal is to get your product into big box retailers, you have to prepare for all of the “perks” that come with it:  we will teach you about EDI (electronic data interchange), Packing and Shipping Requirements which are unique to each retailer, help get you set up in their systems (which typically takes a few months or more), and ensure that you are fully onboarded for a successful partnership.


Click here to book a consultation with a Retail Merchandising Consultant to prepare you to sell at wholesale. 

Following the consultation, we recommend a brand audit to ensure you have the structure in place to begin wholesaling, and if you don’t, we will help you get there.

We also have a trade show readiness guide that will give you detailed information about what you need to prepare for as you exhibit in your first trade show.  Contact Us Today!


DeAnna McIntosh is a trend-setting, results-driven Retail Business Coach and Consultant with 16+ years of experience helping brands drive sales, conversion, productivity, innovation, and engagement (10 of those years being inside Fortune-ranked Retailers). Work directly with her via www.deannamcintosh.com.


  • June 8, 2020
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