Quickfire marketing – Working with your suppliers

Steve Hasler fires bullets in our new ‘Try This’ column

Most independent retailers are acting as resellers for manufacturers, and depending on your relationship with these manufacturers – even if this relationship is via a distributor – you should be able to call upon their support for marketing. You are, after all, selling their products!

  • Make friends with the marketing departments of your suppliers and call upon them to support your events, with mentions on their social media channels, email newsletters or any other outreach they have to consumers.

  • Make sure you're listed as a stockist on the websites of all brands in your store, and schedule regular meetings or telephone calls to keep a constant flow of support from them.

  • Ask them for samples for testing, product training and even staff to represent the brand at any special event days you plan.

  • Build a local advertising proposal that shares the cost with a supplier.

  • You could work with a different supplier over a period of weeks or months and feature their product heavily within each separate ad, on the basis of splitting the cost with each separate supplier.

  • Remember, your suppliers will be keen to see your marketing plans and if you are reasonable with your requests it will be hard for them to say no.

  • Consider connecting with a supplier with an ongoing commitment to stock a new product and promote it locally.

Having worked for brands trading with independent retailers, I've seen the marketing departments repeatedly working with the same 10 or 20 retailers, despite having hundreds of retailers selling the product. This isn't for any other reason than those select retailers were keenest to work together on campaigns and were vocal about what they wanted.

Steve Hasler is a marketing consultant to independent retailers. independentretailermarketing.co.uk

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