This is our first year doing wholesale, and we successfully have over 100 retailers now. What do you normally do to make sure you’re keeping your retailers happy?
The question above was asked in our Brand Community Forum, where we connect fellow entrepreneurs and makers, and share advice and best practices when it comes to both Faire and industry standards. To complement the forum, we’ll be answering questions like this as often as possible, starting with how to keep your retailers happy once you’ve secured them as customers.
Send a gift that keeps on giving
Simple but effective, including a small gift in outgoing orders or sending stand-alone gifts to key accounts ensures customers feel appreciated. This is an especially handy way to get surplus inventory out the door.
Never to be underestimated, the act of gift-giving in any form has the power to forge and strengthen connections between people and businesses. Gifts that are meaningful but don’t break the bank are key, such as a bag of gourmet sweets or a branded set of pencils. A free sample gives customers the chance to try something at no extra cost to them, makes them feel valued, and increases the chances they’ll return for more.
Express gratitude and remind customers “why you”
One of the simplest ways to thank customers is through a letter: Words of true and honest appreciation are powerful, especially when they come from the heart.
- If you have a bit of spare time (and legible penmanship!), handwritten cards can demonstrate how important your customers are.
- If you’re operating on a larger scale, a printed card can work—bonus points if you’re able to personally sign each one and add that human touch.
- Send cards to your top customers by snail mail, drop them in recent orders, or safely hand-deliver locally.
You can also use your letter to remind customers what it means to choose your brand. For example, “We wanted to thank you for your support of our Earth-friendly cosmetics, as well as our mission to empower beauty with less waste.” This both shows your gratitude and reminds them why they shop with you—not just for the quality of your product, but for the values your company represents (it certainly doesn’t hurt that 82% of shoppers want a brand’s values to align with their own).
Similarly, curated package inserts can be used year-round and help take your customer experience to the next level. Whether it’s a sticker, postcard, pin, or branded card, you can change the insert as often as you like—every month, quarter, season—to keep it relevant and fresh. It could simply say “thank you” or “happy spring,” or invite the customer to celebrate big milestones with you, from anniversaries to expansions to exciting collaborations. By including customers in these moments, they’ll feel like they’re truly part of your business and your success.
Reward loyalty with discounts
A popular way to give back to your loyal customers and entice them to keep shopping with you is to offer discounts or coupons. You could:
- Offer a one-time discount available immediately or a post-purchase coupon that encourages them to revisit your business throughout the year.
- Implement a loyalty program that allows customers to build toward a reward with each purchase.
- Make your regular customers feel valued by giving them the first opportunity to shop a new line of products or early access to timely deals.
- Consider offering a discount for repeat local buyers who can pick up their products directly from you.
Remind them when to restock their shelves
Acting as a true strategic partner can forge long-term loyalty and respect with retailers. If you have data or insight into their yearly buying habits—or can take the time to peek at a retailer’s social channels—you can send them friendly, helpful nudges when it’s a good time to stock up.
- Brewing a special coffee blend each quarter? Keep them updated so they can include it in their inventory management—and social and content—schedule.
- Is that notepad their consumers love going to be available in a new size? Let them know when it’s coming and in what colors.
- Know they’re especially busy during summer? Offer an early-bird special or bundled discount, or suggest the makings of a subscription box, and remind them when to order.
If you show them how indispensable you and your products are to their business, they’ll keep you in mind when restocking.
Emphasize great customer service
At the heart of each of these gestures is quality customer service, which remains the best way to sow the seeds of long-term relationships. Zendesk reports that 86% of customers will spend more with companies that personalize their customer service. And for those that can deliver, opportunities for growth are huge: 64% of business leaders say customer service has had an impact on their growth, with 60% saying it improves customer retention.
To exceed expectations, use the Faire app for brands to respond promptly to questions and feedback, manage end-to-end orders, and build customer rapport. Any order or conversation can be picked up just where it left off, which is a huge win for retailers who receive quicker responses and faster fulfillment.