Both Sides of the Retail Table

Advice for Entrepreneurs Pursuing Retail Success

From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: In-Store Execution – what you have control over, and what you don’t.

Congrats. You got your product on the retail store shelf of a regional or national chain. But, wait, some things are amiss. Your product is not merchandised correctly. It’s not forward-facing because the store shelving doesn’t allow enough room. The POP (point of purchase) display tray that you supplied to the retailer with your product is not being used so […]

From the Buyer’s Perspective: Should you sell to a home shopping channel (i.e. QVC, HSN, ShopNBC)?

As a retail buyer at Target, I never gave much credence to brands that appeared on QVC, HSN or the like. Why? It wasn’t the same type of shopper that we pursued at Target. Plus, those networks often undercut the pricing in brick and mortars. And if your product requires that much demonstration in order to sell, that doesn’t bode well for […]

From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: Considerations of doing business with a home shopping channel (i.e. QVC, HSN, ShopNBC)

It sounds so glam and fun, right? Who wouldn’t want to go on QVC or one of the other major home shopping networks and sell a ton of product? And earn credibility? And have a “free” advertising/infomercial created? Following are some considerations before you take this plunge: Can you extend to the home shopping network 50-70 pt margins and still […]

From the Buyer’s Perspective: Markdowns. What they are, why you need to consider them, and strategies for minimizing your risk.

Note: “Brands” and “Vendors” are used interchangeably in this post. Markdowns are what happens when inventory goes on discount. You’ll find 4 major types of markdowns in retail: 1) Promotional markdowns These are discounts that derive from any type of promotional sale such as a temporary price reduction, circular promotion, coupons, endcap promotions and more. 2) Clearance markdowns An item goes on […]

From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: Markdowns. What they are, why you need to consider them, and strategies for minimizing your risk

Markdowns are when retailers discount a product to help move the product off the shelf and/or from their DCs. Most big retailers ask the supplier to help support a markdown when/if they discontinue the product from their assortment. Markdowns are one of those necessary evils in the retail sector. Consumers love them (they get merchandise at a fraction of the […]

From the Buyer’s perspective: How do I find a branding/PR/media firm to market my product line?

By Vanessa Ting The momentum of your brand is important, especially for large retailers. Brand awareness does not build overnight, not even with an aggressive marketing budget. Awareness takes time to build. And without it, your product is less likely to sell at shelf. In most cases, a brand less than 2 years old lacks enough brand awareness to support […]

From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: How do I find a branding/PR/media firm to market my product line?

Marketing is a learned science, just like any other discipline. And it’s comprised of many components (social media, direct mail, public relations, advertising, telemarketing, and the list goes on). Each sub category requires a learned set of skills. Just like you would not hire an intellectual patent attorney to defend a bankruptcy, you would not hire a publicist to drive […]


By Vanessa Ting Some retailers give you their purchase orders (POs) with plenty of lead time for you to turn around and place your orders with factories. For those of you who manufacture overseas AND sell to national retailers, you probably do not have the luxury of waiting for retailer POs before placing your production orders. In fact, you probably […]

From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: What to consider when retailers increase/decrease inventory quantities after placing an order

Let’s play out this scenario: You receive word that your product will be launching at Retailer XYZ. You are told by your buyer that you will be going into 1000 stores. Awesome/congrats. And, by the way, your PO has not been officially issued. It won’t be issued until approx. 1 month before you must deliver product to retailer’s DCs, but […]

From the Buyer’s Perspective: Exclusivity – How to Respond When Retailers Ask for It

By Vanessa Ting Exclusives is a tactic retailers use to gain (and defend) market share from their competitors. It’s a distant-relative of channel management. Both concepts endeavor to minimize sales cannibalization, fuel category growth, and grow market share. All retail buyers love exclusives – whether it is in the form of exclusive brands, exclusive SKUs, exclusive designs or exclusive packaging. They’ll take exclusives […]