Welcome to Buyers’ Pack 101 – a series of posts designed to help you create a smokin’ hot buyers’ pack.
(If you wouldn’t recognise a buyers’ pack if you found it eating your breakfast, step this way.)
As we talked about last week, once you know how to do something the right way, you can start to do it your way.
And that’s when the real selling begins.
So let’s talk line sheets. This is something we’ve looked into before on Indie Retail Academy and it’s a big subject.
But first, clear your mind.
Stop thinking about how much you like fish tacos and whether your car is haunted.
Stop thinking that the disgraced banker on the news is actually kind of hot.
Line sheets are shy creatures who crave order. If your head is full of noise they might be too scared to draw near.
Ah, I think I can hear a couple stirring in the undergrowth. Let’s see if we can make them come closer.
Imagine a clean, white piece of A4 paper.
If you’re picturing it portrait-style, spin it round until it’s landscape. Retailers often file line sheets so a landscape layout is handy.
Now imagine your logo onto your bit of paper. Put it somewhere along the top edge with your contact details underneath – that’s your name, email address, phone number, website address and street address. Your tagline, if you have one, wouldn’t go amiss here either.
Oh, this is excellent. Two line sheets just emerged from the bushes over there.
No, don’t look at them directly!
They see that as a form of aggression.
Don’t let their mild exterior fool you – these guys can give you a paper cut so deep that your grandchildren will ask why you wear that eye patch and walk with a limp.
Let’s just keep going.
Think about your products.
We’re going to put the items you sell onto your page in the cleanest, most ordered way we can.
Let’s say you have eight products in your collection. An easy, organised way to display them is in boxes. Make two rows with four products in each. Group similar types of product together.
Now go ahead and imagine pictures of your products into the boxes.
What we’re looking for here is simplicity.
The retailer needs to be able to identify your products from these pictures. That means they have to be clear and free of distractions. Ideally they should also be in colour.
Don’t use lifestyle shots. Keep those for your catalogue or lookbook.
White box photos are great, but you can also use sketches or digital line drawings. As long as there are high-quality images elsewhere in your buyers’ pack, it’s better to use a crisp sketch on your line sheet than a blurry photo.
Don’t look now, but those two line sheets are edging closer. I think the one on the left is attracted to your keen sense of order.
Hang on, I’m sure I’ve got some staples somewhere. Yep, here they are.
Line sheets love staples with a passion.
Throw a few into the grass and see if you can get their confidence.
But don’t make any sudden moves, okay?
Next, we need to imagine some more information onto your bit of paper.
Underneath each box I want you to put:
- the name of the product
- the item number if there is one
- the wholesale price
- the recommended retail price
- whether it comes in different sizes or colours
These are the essentials, but other information about your product is also important.
That might include the dimensions, what it’s made from and whether it’s eco-friendly.
Retailers want to know these details too, but it’s simpler to put this general information elsewhere. If you try to cram too much onto a single page your line sheet will start to get cluttered.
That’s not good for you or your potential stockist.
There are two more things that need to go underneath each product picture.
The first is the minimum quantity for your items. That’s the minimum number a retailer has to buy if they want to do business with you.
If it’s the same for every item, stick this somewhere near the top instead.
Now we’re going to add a bit of merchandising.
Merchandising is a subtle mix of art and science, but it boils down to making the stuff you have for sale look particularly appealing to buyers.
Pick three or four highlights from your collection.
Maybe they’re brand new products or best-sellers. Maybe you’ve just brought out a product in a new colour or pattern.
Retailers really want to know this stuff so draw their attention to it. Add a banner to some of your boxes which says “New” or “Best-seller,” or emphasise these products in some other way.
This is astonishing. Our pair of line sheets are scarfing down those staples like there’s no tomorrow.
Wait, wait. I want to try something.
Here’s a handful of staples.
See if you can get that one on the left to eat some off your finger.
Go on. It won’t bite. Probably.
Encourage it to come over by adding the final touches to your imaginary line sheet.
In one of top corners, I’d like you to imagine:
- your overall minimum order amount.
- your carriage paid level.
Look out for more on these in the next installment of Buyers’ Pack 101.
For now, though, let’s consider what you’ve done.
You’ve created something that looks like this:
You’ve also got a real, live line sheet eating out of your hand.
If you keep being this clear, simple and organised, you’ll soon have retailers doing the same.
Because here’s the point.
Line sheets that make selling easy are actually line sheets that make buying easy.
Line sheets aren’t about convincing a potential stockist to buy. They’re about making the process of buying as easy as you possibly can.
Hey, just look at those cute little jaws go!
He really likes staples, huh?
Um, I don’t wish to alarm you but I think that was the last one.
Maybe just…put him down now. Gently.
Now let’s back away very quietly.
Nice and easy.
I’m just going to slip these hi-tech running spikes on. No reason.
Don’t make eye contact, okay? Seriously, don’t do ever do this.