Low cost start ups …. Sale and Return?

Excellent guest blog and great advice here from Emma Pattullo, if this doesn’t inspire you to approach shops with your products then I’m a monkey’s uncle!!

When selling through retail outlets there are various ways to approach and everybody does it differently.

The first, which sometimes is better and less risk involved is to sell at trade to the Retail .. you have to consider that they will add on up to and sometimes more than 100% depending on the shop or where the location is.  By general rule the retailer will multiply you trade price by 2.3 as an industry standard.

For Sale or Return the shop will have a general rule for their commission/cut, which tends to be less of a cut to buying out right. There are many pros and cons to sale and return … and you have to keep on the ball!

  • Make sure you and the retailer have a receipt of all the items they have in stock, as well as any returns. Very important to keep track .. its amazing you think you will remember BUT YOU DON’T!! Better to be safe
  • Know your product, and prices … don’t dither. Start high, you can always bring prices down … very hard the other way around!
  • Offer point of sale .. very useful tool to help the customer relate to you, your product and story .. helps to sell you!
  • Decide before hand if you set the RRP, in which case you might get less with the shop commission (which can be anything from 25% to 50% or in some areas like London 100% to 125%
  • VAT … if the shop is VAT registered .. it will effect you even if your not
  • Think about your trade price and how it translates to the customers’ wallet!
  • Don’t under sell yourself, people will take advantage, or not value your work/product
  • Imagine if you have to make the item x100 a day and it becomes a chore .. at what price does it become worthwhile for to you to make day in day out … or employ someone to do it for you?
  • Don’t give up your profit
  • Make an agreement (can be verbal) how long the items stay in the shop, or enquire how you can help manage the supply to keep it fresh and always changing.
  • Think about quantities .. remember retail physiology .. any less than 3 (of the same) items will be slow to sell, so stock the shop well.
  • Be prepared for returns being damaged .. make sure that the outlet take responsibility of breakages/soiling .. or you’ll end up with them.
  • Find out if they want you to be responsible for the display of your products (comon in USA, not so much in UK)
  • Provide packaging for you items .. i.e. Jewellery with boxes and/or bags (make sure you cost this in your price too .. many people forget)
  • Make sure your items are branded .. chance to make further contacts (some shops don’t like this, so be discreet ~ I’m all for scratching each others backs!!!)

business cards
stickers with name, contact details & web site
themed packaging (will make you look more professional)

  • Use Vista Print for FREE business tools (i.e.. cards, labels, broachers, t-shirts etc).. and you can personalise them too at very little cost
  • Think about how the outlet might like to display your goods & can you help? If you want you things back (plate stands, shop dummy, display) label your belongings!
  • Make sure you understand when they pay you .. end of month?
  • How will they pay … BAC payments means less banking charges for you and them.
  • If your work is a huge success … make enquiries as to changing SoR to buying wholesale
  • Judge your stock levels and don’t over sell in one area (town/village/location)… or it will be returned to you and you’ll have to travel further & work harder to sell products.
  • Get a friend to check out how the shop is displaying your work (like a secret shopper) to find out if this is the right shop for you & if they prioritise your goods.
  • If the shop owner says “No thank you” don’t pester, just understand and walk away! By taking their first word it makes it easier to back with another idea and they know they can say no! Shops HATE being cornered!
  • Think about what makes you unique .. do you offer something that nobody else does. What make you stand out from the crowd .. Everybody likes to think they lead a trend!!!

Emma Pattullo
Platform 22 Gallery

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  1. Alison Pinney
    March 4, 2011 / 12:28 pm

    There are some very useful tips here, thank you

  2. Jade
    March 5, 2011 / 10:45 pm

    This is great and very useful for me to take into consideration.

    • Joanne
      March 10, 2011 / 2:44 pm

      Look forward to hearing how the advice works out.