Both Sides of the Retail Table

Advice for Entrepreneurs Pursuing Retail Success

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 […]

FROM THE BUYER’S PERSPECTIVE: WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN RETAILERS INCREASE/DECREASE INVENTORY QUANTITIES AFTER PLACING AN ORDER

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 […]

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

Can’t blame a buyer for asking for an exclusive. Whether you give it to them is a different story. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if this is the right opportunity for you. Is this the only option for landing the deal? Probably not. Explore other options first. When you offer an exclusive, you will need to manage the […]

From the Buyer’s Perspective: Impact of West Coast Port Delays

By Vanessa Ting As of today (Sunday, 2/22) West Coast ports are expected to come back to life. The backlog will reportedly take up to 8 weeks to clear. So the impact to importers and retailers will be felt long after the labor contract dispute ends. While all my clients who import felt the pinch (more like ‘crush’), some felt […]