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Ask Faire: When is the best time to pitch retailers?

February 6, 2023 | Published by Faire

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A month into the new year is a good time to assess how we’re doing on our New Year’s resolutions. For many makers, one of theirs was to gain more retailers, which always starts with the right pitch. So, as one member of our Brand Community Forum asked, “Are certain times of the year best for pitching retailers?” Here are some tips for when and how to make a pitch that lands.

Every pitch starts with research

Once you’ve spotted a retailer who could be the right fit for your brand, peruse their website, blog, and social media channels to get a feel for how and when they push marketing campaigns. Do they ramp up candy sales around Valentine’s Day and Halloween? Are fair-weather goods big near spring break and Memorial Day? Is there a lot of buzz around the back-to-school season? 

More and more, retailers strategically buy evergreen items that they can also merchandise around multiple holidays and seasons as opposed to items with a limited shelf life. The difference could simply lie in the turn of a marketing phrase: Eco-friendly olive oil could be just as appealing for a romantic dinner (Valentine’s Day) as it could for salad season (July and August) or making back-to-school dinners healthier (September). If you’re thinking of taking the evergreen angle, it can be helpful to share the full span of your marketing ideas—and illustrate how your product fits into various seasons and scenarios—so retailers can easily see the strategy behind buying from you.

But when exactly should you pitch these ideas? 

At least six weeks ahead of when a potential retailer might market a product is often used as a rule of thumb, but at Faire, we see searches for these moments take off two to four months in advance. For example, retailers in 2022 began searching Faire for Easter-related inventory as soon as the New Year hit, and those searches reached an apex in February.

Trust the calendar

Often, pitching retailers is as simple as mapping to the different holidays and seasonal buying moments throughout the year. For example, after the rush of Christmas, retailers usually restock bestsellers that sold out during the winter holidays and are on the hunt for ways to spruce up their shelves. 

This means it’s wise to launch new products early in the new year, from January to April, which gives them ample time to gain traction before retailers stock up for the holidays (usually May to October, with larger shops starting even sooner). 

Beyond the larger winter holidays, don’t forget the most relevant ones for your business and how you can position your products around multiple buying moments. For example, a disco ball planter could be both a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift and charming graduation present. Just as easily, a set of markers, stickers, or stationery could be positioned as a way to “get creative this summer,” “ring in the school year,” and “get ahead on holiday cards.”

It’s also a good idea to think about when the products you want to sell might be limited in supply or unavailable from other wholesalers. Perhaps you have that Stanley tumbler everyone’s dying to get their hands on before the end of summer, or a coveted candle that sells like crazy during the second half of the year. Faire facilitates pre-orders, which can help sharpen forecast production and put you in a prime position once demand starts to increase.

Attend relevant trade shows

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to track buying seasons is by paying attention to trade shows. A valuable alternative to the traditional trade show, virtual trade shows came into focus during the pandemic and are still among the most flexible, convenient, and low-cost ways for retailers to shop from thousands of wholesale brands (and enjoy the flexible terms that allow them to discover new lines). Our past events have created over 110,000 new relationships between brands and retailers.

Most major brands show their fall and winter collections during May and June, which is peak press-day season and when magazines start designing their holiday issues. This means there are a lot of big decisions about what to push during the holidays—and a lot of money being spent to properly facilitate those campaigns.

How is just as important as when

In its “Pivotal Trends and Predictions in B2B Digital Commerce” for 2023, Commercetools reports that 73% of B2B buyers now want a personalized B2C-like experience. This means that the care you put into your approach to pitching is just as important as when you do it. A pitch that thoughtfully takes retailer-specific details into consideration is often enough to get their attention. And even if they don’t buy from you right then and there, they’ll be that much more likely to remember your brand for future needs and orders.

See our predictions for what trends retailers will be shopping in 2023 in The Faire Forecast.

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