5 Ways to Grow Your Stockists
How to grow your fashion stockistsOne of the most important factors determining the success of your small business is how well you identify your target market and reach them through the right stockists. By narrowing down who your ideal customer is, you can establish where your products are most likely to be exposed to customers who will generate interest in your business and purchase your product.

The best way is having a strategy towards growing your stockists, including considering where you would like your products stocked and where you would like your business to sit in your niche market, as your stockist should match your branding. So ask yourself do you want to get your product into as many stores as possible, or do you want to target a few stores that are popular with people truly interested in products like yours, giving your brand some prestige?

While it showcasing your business at your industry trade show is a great way to grow your stockists, here are some other ways:

Research your competitors list

Keeping up with what your competitors are doing, and whether or not they are successful, can help you establish your own position in your niche market and help you decide how you want to market yourself and focus your branding so that you will stand apart from your competitors.

Furthermore, it can help you identify gaps in the market, such as a potential target audience that you hadn't previously considered. You can learn a lot about your competitors through their website, blog, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

Think laterally and look at who your complimentary businesses and who are their stockists.

Looking at who your complimentary businesses are stocking with can give you an opportunity to identify where your target market are shopping and narrow down where your product or service is likely to sell well and receive the right exposure.

Factors you should look for include similarities in style, the ranges they stock, their outlook, their general price level and their location. You can find out lots of information through their business's website or social media pages.

Develop a business system so it is easy to maintain your relationship with your stockists.

A business system develops and outlines detailed procedures, performance standards and accountability in your business's processes, so that you can maintain a consistent and organised relationship with your stockists. It also removes inefficiency and waste from your business as your procedures, expectation and objectives are clearly established.

Having a clear and reliable business system sends a message to your stockists that you are serious about your relationship and business with them, with an objective to grow and improve your performance and profit through this relationship.

A business system doesn't need to be complicated, it can be as simple as featuring a reminder in your phone to send out your stockist newsletter featuring your latest designs, specials, news, tips and ideas. It is much more about being organised so you can be sure the important things get done - like making your treasured stockist customers feel valued and remember to order from you regularly.

Ask for referrals from your own retail customers and existing stockists.

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Referrals can set your business apart to potential stockists as they demonstrate proof that you are consistent and reliable in your business relationships, and shows the potential of your product or service.

Considering that regular and returning customers are the cornerstone of running a successful business, showing rave reviews complied from your already established customer base is going to show new potential stockists that their business with you is going to make a return on their investment.

Positioning referrals effectively on your website so that visiting buyers receive good impressions of your business from their first hit on your website is crucial- consider putting them on your website's home page, 'about' page and contact page. If you can add a photo of your customer or stockist providing the referral, this could add more creditability to their testimony.

Use Twitter and Facebook to find potential wholesale clients and start building a relationship with them.

Retailers and wholesalers are extremely busy people, and often they don't have the time or manpower to respond to a single request by a small business.

By developing and sustaining contact with a potential wholesale client over Twitter and Facebook, you have the chance to demonstrate your potential as a business and establish your brand, so that when you finally contact them, there is a chance they will not only buy into your product and service, but into your business itself.

As you are your brand's best asset, you should be consistently delivering positive messages about you and your business that reinforce your brand. Are you exuding friendliness, positivity and creativity?

Through communicating over Twitter and Facebook, you are giving your potential clients the chance to form a connection with your work, so that when you approach them, they understand the value of your work and business.

Growing Your Stockists

Ultimately, growing your stockists is about finding the people who are going to be right for you - who are going to be supportive about what you are doing and understand your work and your objectives. Through their support and their relationship with your business, you can reach the right customers and increase your exposure to a wider customer base.

Connect with SheInspires on Facebook and Twitter and tell us about your tips to growing your stockists.

Meet Phoebe Dunstan

Meet Phoebe Dunstan

Phoebe Dunstan is in her second year at Sydney’s University of Technology, studying a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Writing and Cultural Studies. 

Phoebe is Interning and writes for the online magazine SheInspires.com. Her main interests include reading, writing, design and philosophy, and she is currently working on her own book Down the Wrong Rabbit Hole.
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