Most of this stuff usually goes in a terms and conditions page at the back of your catalogue, but it can be smart to let some of it pop up earlier. As always, I recommend you take advice from a qualified legal professional about your specific situation when necessary.
Here’s the information retailers are looking for.
1. Your minimum order
The minimum amount a retailer has to spend to qualify as a trade customer.
2. Your free shipping level
This is the minimum amount a retailer has to spend to qualify for free shipping – another term for it is your carriage paid level. This is usually significantly higher than your minimum order.
3. Delivery costs below your free shipping level
Depending on what you make, you may be able to set a flat shipping rate for domestic orders below your carriage paid level. So you might say “Delivery is free for orders over £200. For orders under £200, shipping within the UK is £7.50.”
This isn’t a must-do, however. If there’s a lot of variation in the weight or size of your items, making it hard to settle on a flat rate, you can skip this and simply say that shipping will be calculated at the time of the order. Similarly, you can ask any retailer interested in making an international order to contact you for a bespoke quote.
4. Your lead time
This is how long it usually takes for you to dispatch a store’s order. Being upfront about this helps set retailers’ expectations while allowing you flexbility.
5. Your payment terms
Does the retailer have to pay when they place the order, or when it’s ready to dispatch? Once the store has ordered a certain number of times, do you offer 30 days’ credit? Let the buyer know exactly how things work.
6. Damages and returns policies
This is where you let the retailer know what happens if they receive faulty goods, or if their delivery is damaged in transit.(Side note – if you could do with a done-for-you script for this situation and many more, go right here.)
This sets out how you handle the retailer’s private information.
8. Other terms and conditions, which may include:
– A note on back orders. If a store orders an item which isn’t currently in stock, you can put it on back-order and say you’ll get in touch when it’s available.
– A note on colour discrepancies. If there’s likely to be a natural variation in colour or design from item to item, meaning that items received by a store may differ slightly from your photographs, let them know.
– Whether retailers can sell your work on their website, or on a third-party marketplace like Trouva or Not On The High Street, as well as in their bricks and mortar store.
– A copyright disclaimer.
– If you accept international orders, a clause which states the retailer is responsible for any import duty or taxes.
– A note on VAT or any other types of sales tax or charge which may be applicable.
– Your exclusivity policy. If you offer your stockists exclusivity within a certain neighbourhood or area, tell them what to expect.
– A note which sets out the buyer’s responsibility to ensure your goods aren’t sold through discount houses, or in a manner which may bring your company into disrepute.
– Your right to refuse an order.
Your terms and conditions tell a retailer a lot about what working with you might be like. Put some thought and time into it now so they feel safe with you from the start.
Next time, we’ll take a look at what retailers flicking through your catalogue want to know about you.
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