Personal products rely on two of our strongest emotion and memory-producing sense: smell and touch. Vendors of high quality personal products do very well in face to face sales but online is tricky, especially if the buyer doesn't already have experience with the quality of your work. How to get around this?
Samples. Samples. Samples.
I'm not talking about samples for sale, every wholesaler needs samples for sale. I'm talking about free samples. Well, not free. You should expect an email address and address in exchange. This is a great way to build a mailing list in the process of getting your samples out to buyers.
3 strategies to overcome this barrier:
Cold Mailing: Identify stores you think your product would sell well at and send them a sample of the product you think would do well at their store. Benefit: You make the first move and make it easy for buyers to test out your product before committing to anything. Disadvantages: Expensive and possible low ROI. Keys to success: timing, selecting appropriate stores, and follow up are key here.
Pop-up Shop: Identify stores you think your product would sell well at and suggest some products to sell on consignment terms. Negotiate this rate based on your social media following and the increased volume of customers due to your advertising. Benefit: Retail exposure; build relationships with buyers; nail down your social media strategy and put those analytics to use! Disadvantages: You're losing a % of your profits AND have to do a lot of the work to set up the pop-up. Keys to success: Have your social media strategy and work out the metrics you want to track in advance; choose stores you have a good idea on the staff enthusiasm, layout, customer base.
- Free Samples as Opt-In: Set up your online wholesale store to feed email addresses into your mailing list. Use the 'free samples' as your gated content, with the buyer's email address as the key just as many websites do for visual and written content. Benefits: This is the least hands-on option. All you have to do is wait for buyers to sign up for their risk-free, no obligation sample. Disadvantage: You're going to get buyers who just want the samples for their own personal use; You're going to lose buyers who are already overburdened with vendors trying desperately to get into their stores by bombarding them with mail, email, phone calls. Keys to success: your follow up email/newsletter complete analytics to follow who opens and follows the links to your website are absolutely necessary to make sure your free samples campaigns are successful.