PLH Seasonal Inventory Planning for Retail | Seasonal Inventory Planning

If you want to head into mass market retail, there are a whole lot of things you’ve got to think about. Timothy Bush joins Tracy as they give you some prep about retail. Timothy Bush is the resident Product Launch Hazzards expert in all things on the shelf of retail. Tim says one of the hardest things about retail in general is you’re never in the month you’re in. You’re never thinking about talking and dealing with and wondering about the month that you’re in. In fact, people that are just entering into Big Box retail, they don’t think in those terms. They think if the buyer says yes right now, that means you need to be shipping product now and it’s all going to happen now, but it’s not. Tracy and Tim talk about seasonal inventory planning and strategies and all the things that you need to know about retail.

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We are talking holiday in July, but this way, we’re going to talk about the big Christmas push. We’re going to be talking about what this looks like for you at the mass market. If you are preparing or thinking about this as where you want to go and you want to head into mass market retail, there’s a whole lot of things you’ve got to think about. If it is your first year doing your product at mass market retail, you will have had your orders in and all of that stuff should have been done by now in this point of the year. It might be happening for you for next year and so we want to give you some prep because the timing is completely different.

Also, you do have to listen sometimes to the buyer and also listen to yourself because sometimes they don’t always advise you the right way as to what they want, what they should do and what’s best for your brand. Sometimes you have to push back, so we’re going to talk about that. I’m so excited to have Timothy Bush because he is our resident Product Launch Hazzards expert in all things On The Shelf of retail. We’re talking about it in our short sleeves and the fan on. It’s a little warm to be talking Christmas but it’s the best time of the year at retail, so why not talk about it and plan for it now?

One of the hardest things about retail, in general, is you’re never in the month you’re in. You’re never thinking about talking about dealing with and wondering about the month that you’re in. In fact, people that are just entering into Big Box retail, they don’t think in those terms. They think if the buyer says yes right now, that means I need to be shipping product now and it’s all going to happen now but it’s not.

You’re maybe talking nine months to a year, sometimes even eighteen months depending on where you are, right?

Yeah, I finished three-line reviews and they’re all for 2019. You do your line review and then probably in September or October, we’ll start getting orders that will be shipped in the first quarter of next year. Some retailers even work further out than that.

I’ve had more of them, especially when we work on the furniture side when your large items tend to be a minimum of a year out. You never know.

The one thing’s for sure is like you’re never in the month that you’re in and that is a new concept. Back in the day, the only way that I was able to start figuring things out was I would start setting these alerts ahead of time in my calendar because it’s not natural when March rolls around and you start thinking, “We’ve got to start thinking about the holiday.” They can go past and then the next thing you know you’re talking to a buyer and they say, “Let’s start talking about that in about eight months.” You’re like, “Eight months.”

You’re like, “I just missed the window talking about it this year.”

You’ve got to set those alerts and figure out when your buyers are talking about certain things. Set those alerts in your calendar so that you cannot miss it because it’s easy to do.

[Tweet “Be careful what you wish for because sometimes you could get it all at the same time.”]

I go back even further from that. Usually, when I’m working on a new category or a new project with someone, I will go to the sales team or to the reps like you and go, “Give me the buyer’s timing. Give me your line review timings. Give me your in-store dates and we’ll work backward from there.” We then work out and plan our pre-development or our color palette research, and whatever we might be doing for whatever the biggest season of whatever that item is. Sometimes summer is your season.

You can take the same advice we’re giving you for Q4 for Christmas time. You can use that, just move the dates and plan it for summer as the big time of the year or back to school. It’s the same thing. Seasonal strategies work, either way, it’s just their date shift, but we would have to work back. I gave my color palette to the members here and it was developed in October.

In October, I had to figure out before holiday 2017 what the colors are going to be for holiday 2018. When you see the presentation, there is my prediction crystal ball right there because you have to see what’s going on. I refine it through as we see what’s selling and what’s not. Then we finalized it in January because of Chinese New Year, orders have to go in for certain types of products before Chinese New Year to get made immediately after, to make Q4 sales especially if we’re doing new tooling or something like that. We have to work for the whole year to make that happen. We have to be predicting ahead of time and that’s a crazy thing to be thinking about. You’re going to decide what next year sales are going to be before you even know what this year’s sales were. Let’s talk a little bit about what it’s like when you have a new product.

Brand new never hit the market yet before. There are a couple of things that you have to keep in mind when you’re trying to sell a product. One of those is when are you going to pitch it to the retailer unless we’re assuming that you’re already in the retailer. Are we assuming that or no?

You might be but you might not be in that category or it might be a whole new product.

Let’s assume that we’re not in the retailer yet. They haven’t said yes yet, which will lead to our inventory build if they want. When you have a new product and you’re pitching it, you have to look at the timing because you’re going to miss your window. The windows are short. They’re like 30 days. The buyers build up to their line review. They review everything over 30 days and make their decisions. Everybody’s a little bit different and it’s important that you find out what their timelines are if you don’t know. If you can’t get a hold of the buyer to ask him that question, assume that for holiday you want to start talking to them in the holiday of the year prior. For holiday 2018, you’re probably too late right now we’re talking in July. You’re too late. If it were me, I would have started talking October, November. Buyers slow down a bit right then because everything’s locked and loaded for their holiday. They’re also starting to plan for other things at that time too.

PLH Seasonal Inventory Planning for Retail | Seasonal Inventory Planning

Seasonal Inventory Planning: You can’t be too early, but you can definitely be too late.

For me, there are two different aspects of getting the product sold for the holiday. One is getting it on their radar. Nobody is making decisions on the holiday before that but it’s important to get that into their lineup, to get it on their radar. Once you have made that contact with them, that’s when you’ll find out, “Thank you for sending me this. I’m going to be looking at these in March.” I had a buyer tell me that two days ago. I sent it to them. I sent it early. They let me know when they’re going to be reviewing that, come back and we’ll talk about it in September. You can’t be too early, but you can definitely be too late. If you don’t know when their timing is, I would start in October, November of the previous year for next year. This coming October, November is when I would start looking at, trying to reach out to the buyer and find out what their timing is. I don’t think that you’ll be too late unless you’re in hardware.

If you’re talking to Lowe’s or Home Depot, understand they’re two years out. I’m like, “How do you guys even know what’s going to be hot? You’re missing out on so many things.” Home Depot has made some changes and they’re bringing down their lead time. They’re trying to work now like a year to a year and a half out, so that’s a little bit better but for safe bets, October for the following year. Let’s say you’ll get in touch with the buyer. You’re going to understand for holiday, your product is probably going to ship right around July, August their area because it’s going to need to start landing in September, October for a holiday set.

Two things I want you to keep in mind. Don’t build any product that nobody’s given you a PO for. Please don’t do that. I know that you might be listening to this thing. I wouldn’t make any product that nobody’s giving me a feel for it, but it’s probably one of the most asked questions I get, which is, “Do I have to have a product made in here in the US to approach retailers?” I say, “Please don’t do that. Our buyers are going to expect me to have a product ASAP.

They’re going to expect you to have absolutely finished manufactured product that you’re showing them unless you are already a vendor. You can show them prototypes when you’re already a vendor of them. If you’re not a vendor yet, you can’t show them that early development. It’s got to be like they know that this is it. It’s got all the features. It’s everything that it’s going to be. It will be made in mass volume and you’ll have inventory and time.

The caveat is you can show them a prototype, but they’re not going to cut you a PO until they see the production model, the finished product. You can’t go to them at decision time with the prototype. You could show them a prototype back last November and October and then been working all season and now have a finished product so that they can help make their decision. We simplify that, if you start a year out, you can show them a prototype or even digital renderings but in order to get the PO in hand, not a projection but an actual purchase order, you have to show them a production model, something that’s come off the line and you’re just handing them one of it.

One of the things that I found over sitting in a lot of buyer meetings over the years is that when you do this early stuff, they already start to see indicators. Even in October, November timeframe, they’re already starting to see indicators of the things they’ve put in place that you don’t even know about yet that might be working, that got picked up well. The ad team loved them and they put them into all these editorial photographs. They’re starting to see some indicators of things that they’ve done well this year. When you start showing them things earlier that taps into, “That’s like this, but for next year.” Like you’re clicking in their head early and that can be a good thing.

Get it on their radar. You’ve got to get in the queue, get in the lineup. It’s sad to say but we all do it. We all mentally close the gates on what we’re looking at. At some point, buyers have to stop looking at stuff and start making some decisions. You have to get in there before the gates close.

Decision means to cut away. That’s what they do. They’re like, “That’s it. It’s done. It’s cut off.”

It reminds me that this is a total tangent. When entrepreneurs just keep tinkering with their product and at some point I’m like, “At some point, we have to produce it.” This is something that probably the people have had those issues were, “If I just do one more thing.” At some point, you have to stop and produce your product. They have to close the gates and take a look at what they have. You want to make sure you’re inside the gate when that happens. In inventory, we can’t say it enough, but don’t build it until they give you a PO. Buyers will send you an email that says, “I think that we’ll probably be purchasing about this much.” That’s not a PO. They’re not accountable for it or responsible to buy what they said to you in there. The small caveat to that is Costco sometimes sends out projections, but they’re official. They are an official projection that comes out and the buyers will tell you that you can order product based on that. I still would rather wait for a PO, but Costco’s pretty good about following that guideline. If somebody told you that their 150,000 units in an email.

I’ve never seen them do that with anyone that they didn’t have a relationship with though. If you have a relationship with Costco and you happen to be selling in other categories and it’s a brand-new product, I’ve seen them do that and I’ve always seen them follow through.

Probably not projections with the new person.

Let’s tie it back in inventory strategy. If you’re now in front of the buyer and you do have a finalized product, it’s not in early stages of rendering or a rough prototype in any way, shape or form, but you’ve got your product, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for you to be selling it in that holiday online. When you go back to meet up with them in January, you can be saying, “I presented this to you before and look how well it did this holiday.” You also have a little sales traction to share with them.

PLH Seasonal Inventory Planning for Retail | Seasonal Inventory Planning

Seasonal Inventory Planning: Have some confidence in your product. Get it up online. Sales are always good.

Always sales traction is better than no sales traction. If you can get it up on Amazon, on your own website or on Walmart.com, sales traction are always sales. In sales, it tells the buyer two things. One, people liked the product and they’re purchasing it from people other than your family. Then two, they’re keeping it. If they’ve purchased the product and they’re not returning it, they’re giving good feedback. They’re creating good reviews, then that gives the buyer confidence in your product, so don’t wait. Don’t wait and wait for the big PO. I’m arguing with a current client about this right now. They want the container order and so we’re going from person to person and they’re not getting that. I’m like, “Let’s bring over a half container and get it up on Amazon” but they’re looking at that like, “I’m on the hook for that inventory.” Let me tell you something. If you want to be in business in the US, you’re going to have to be on the hook for something. Don’t be of that mind. Have some confidence in your product. Bring it over here. Get it up online. Sales are always good.

It’s the easiest way to get a purchase order following a quicker one. That’s so important to be thinking about. Let’s talk a little bit about what that inventory level looks like. Does it all drop at once? Does it go over a few months? Are there reorders? What does that usually look like for most of your clients and most of what you see at retail for the holiday season when it’s something that’s coming in that’s seasonal?

If it’s seasonal, it’s generally going to be one and done. The caveat to that, for instance, if you were selling a furniture item in Costco, their furniture set starts in January, so you might be able to sell through the holiday and go into the first quarter. Generally, if it’s a holiday item, it’s one and done. It’s going to be one drop and it has to be on time. I’ll tell you a quick story. I had a client who had a $500,000 order. It’s the biggest order they’ve ever had from BJ’s Wholesale. They told me the entire time that everything was fine. Understanding that if it’s supposed to get there on August 13th, they didn’t have to break it out and send it out to the stores. The stores are very slow at getting their program set. They know this. They backed these times up and it really flows very specifically.

Have you ever seen like going into the holiday time in a Lowe’s parking lot or a Target parking lot and you see a container set up in the parking lot and knocked over? Some of them have to do that because they’re not close enough to a distribution center to do it at one time, so when there are remote ones that happen. This requires a ton of planning for them and not one little piece can go wrong.

In the end, when a product finally got on the water, our delivery date was two weeks passed. It was going to get there two weeks past the actual date. In my whole career, I’ve always seen buyers, “I’m pissed off but let’s figure out how we’re going to work with this. Maybe we can send it directly to some stores, break it out at the port and do whatever it takes,” but that didn’t happen at this one. The buyer canceled the order and this client had $500,000 worth of product on the water. It didn’t have any place to go. I could do nothing for them except say, “What are you guys thinking? I asked you a million times, is it on en route? Is it on time?”

Their feeling was they were getting pushed back from the factory and their feeling was, “Maybe we can make it a little time on the water. Maybe we can get it down to like eleven days. They were thinking that the buyer would work with them. Most of the time, I’ve seen the buyer work with them, but this time, the buyer said no. It was devastating. They had taken out a loan to get that product. Here’s the reason why I was telling you that story. You’re sitting in front of the buyer. The buyer’s going to ask you what your lead time is. You have to be honest. Don’t be thinking that they want to hear this or hear that, they don’t. They want to hear what it is. If your lead time is 60 days, 60 days, if it’s 90 days, 90 days, if it’s over 90 days, you’ve got to get your lead time down.

That’s why I’m a fan of what I mentioned before, the soft launch on Amazon or the soft launch on your own store, Shopify or whatever you’re going to do. That soft launch the previous year helps you because you get your tooling done. You get some of these things that you might not have an order, you get the factory who have made that first run and you get your lead time dialed in through that. It’s a lot of learning and the hiccups happen. The only person who has to suffer if it doesn’t make it on time is you but then you’ve got a little bit of inventory at least for next year.

Dry run, testing your products. Have you ever bought your own product online to see how it shows up? That’s all part of the process of making sure that what you’re doing is working and what the end result is going to be.

It’s such a big risk in a Q4 purchase.

[Tweet “Once you’re partnered with a retailer, they’re on your side now.”]

I’ve had clients who want to tell the buyer what they want to hear and I say, “What they want to hear is honesty. Once you’re partnered with a retailer, they’re on your side now. They’re no longer ignoring your phone calls. They’re no longer putting you at bay or putting your paperwork at the bottom of the stack.” It’s tied to your success as you are. They’re not saying, “If it’s not 30 days, we’re going to kill it.” What they’re saying is, “I need to know when your product will be here so I can back it up. I’ll give you a PO and time so that you can make it and produce it in time.” That’s important. Know your lead time and add two weeks to it just in case there’s a storm or it gets held up in the port. If it’s food, maybe there’s an inspection. Who knows? You never know. Add a little bit of caution to that.

We had the announcement about the tariff changes that are going to be happening. That means that there’s going to be a lot of paperwork hassle because there’s going to be this whole craziness of like, “Is this subject to one?” They’ve got to look it up on a list. They don’t know. There’s going to be a lot of extra time needed to prep your shipments. It’s going to be in the beginning. It’s going to be a hassle, so plan for it.

Don’t be afraid. Whatever port you’re bringing your product into, find out what brokers are who work exclusively with that port and call them. They’ll be super honest with you and say, “What are the issues that you’re seeing with product coming in right now? What’s the actual time from the time it hits the port to the time that it gets on a rail and heads out?” They’re going to be super honest with you but do that homework. It also is a great way to vet brokers as to which ones give you the information that you’re looking for because you may need a broker.

You need communication with them and that is so true. There are so many things that happen and if you don’t have a good communicator there, that’s probably the biggest detriment.

Here’s your last concern I would think because this is also a question I get asked a lot which is, “How am I going to pay for it? How much inventory are they going to want and how much is that going to cost? Should I leverage my house to pay for this inventory?” The answer is I can’t tell you financially what to do or what to risk. I will tell you that the buyer’s job is to order the product that they need to set the space. They’re not trying to gouge. They’re just doing their job. If it’s 100,000 units, that’s what it is. If it’s 200,000 units, that’s what it is. Depending on how much you read your contract, you’re going to know, am I going to have to take the product back at the end of the season? This is where I think Tracy put this on online is, what do you do when you think the buyer wants too much inventory? Are you thinking like telling the doctor that they’re wrong about your prognosis?

That happened before. I’m like, “They have too much product. They’re not going to move that much.” I’ve worked in the industry long enough or in certain categories that I feel like it’s too much.

PLH Seasonal Inventory Planning for Retail | Seasonal Inventory Planning

Seasonal Inventory Planning; Do a little bit of due diligence and research.

Understanding that their job is to make sure they don’t run out. They don’t care if they have to send some back to you. That’s not their big concern, but it is yours. Do a little bit of due diligence and research. You can ask the buyer, “Do you have the like product last year? What did it sell and why are you asking for this much when you’re set? How much is in reserve? What is your sell-through rate per day? Do you think that you’ll move through this product?” Let’s say if they asking for 150,000 units, I’m more comfortable. I know that it’s only going to take 80,000 units to set the stores. I’m more comfortable with 110,000 units or 100,000 units simply because I don’t know that we’ll move through that many. Have that conversation. Most buyers are going to say, “Why do you think that?” Don’t be afraid to answer that question.

As long as you’re not rude about it or pushy about it, there’s no reason not to question. A few years ago, we were doing a gaming Ottoman. It was like this Ottoman that had speakers and it flipped up and you sat in it. It was at Target. The first year they bought 12,000 pieces or something like that and they sold out of it in two and a half weeks after Black Friday. It was fast because there still should have been some around for two more weeks because it’s longer that year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They should have had a little more.

The next year they go and they reorder the same amount. I was like, “You guys ran out of that.” Not only that, I questioned this because there’s a new PlayStation or something launching. Whenever you have a new PlayStation launching or a new unit of some kind, you have residual sales that happen within that department. You’re going to leave money on the table if you don’t order a few more thousand. The buyer said, “I hear you but we think sales overall are going to be down this year because it is a slow year. We think sales are going to be down, so we think you’re wrong. We think that 12,000 is the inflated number accounting for that.” We said, “You’re the buyer, you’re the expert.”

They were out in a week. I did my job and questioned it on behalf of my clients because I had the industry information and you have to remind them of that because they don’t always know. This was a new buyer to the gaming category, so they weren’t up on what the gaming manufacturers were doing. It’s your job to be up on what’s happening in your industry. If you see something that’s going to happen and then going to roll out or a movie that’s going to come out, that’s going to tie into something that you’re doing. You got to mention it to them because they may not be in the know, don’t assume that they are. Then, let them sit back and consider it. Don’t push that on them. Just offer up that information and let them consider it. She turned us down and she was wrong.

You’re coming at it from a different perspective of their buying too little and you think that they need more. Both of those situations will exist. Remember the conversation you’re having, it’s not with the doctor, it’s not about surgery. This is about getting the most sales you can and eliminating your risk as much as possible all at the same time.

I did have the more example happened to us at Costco. It was a TV stand and it was going in for Black Friday and they very typically do a TV stand on Black Friday because they sell Black Friday TVs and they go hand in hand and so we were like, “That’s a lot of inventory.” I don’t think they’ve ever done this much before.” They had big plans for a very early January promo that was going to go out at the start of the furniture rollout. They didn’t want to have the delay or have to reset. They just wanted to shift the inventory within the store. When we pushed back and asked them about that, that’s the answer they gave. That was a perfectly reasonable and a great answer. It means you don’t have to follow up with extra shipments so it works out for you too, but you got to ask.

[Tweet “Nothing happens overnight. Stuff that happens overnight can go away overnight.”]

You do have to ask. Buyers typically know their business unless they’re brand new. Costco buyers especially know their business. Don’t be afraid to be a partner and ask the question. Don’t be afraid to say why that much? Why not that much? Don’t you want to think about this?

Like what’s going on in your industry or in your business that I don’t know about?

Don’t be afraid to ask that question. If you’re a member of Product Launch Hazzards, if you’re in our system, whatever the buyer tells you, you can come on the platform and ask us and say, “Does this sound reasonable?” You can bounce it off.

There are six of us in there with retail experience. There’s Joe, you and me. There’s a lot in GeneMax. They’ve had a lot of experience in that area. You’re talking about a lot of people with some experience, great experience in that. If it doesn’t sound right to you and you’re worried, come ask us.

That’s what we’re here for. I have clients that keep me on retainer to sit in on buyer meetings on the phone and I don’t say anything. I listen and then they call me afterward and say, “What did all that mean?”

You’re a translator because buyers speak its own world.

It’s helpful for them. You guys have that times six. All you have to do is just bring back the info. Anyway, back to affording it, don’t be afraid and don’t think that it looks bad if you factor your PO. That’s not uncommon, especially for new suppliers. Even if you have the money to buy their product, should you lay out all your money for 5%? You could factor it and save your cash reserve for something else. Don’t be afraid to do that. You can factor in. For those of you who don’t know what factoring is, that’s where a company will step in and fund the PO for you for a percentage. They are listed as the person that will get the receivable for that PO with the retailer. The retailer doesn’t cut you a check when it’s time to pay the bill. They cut the factoring company a check. They take their money back that they loaned you, plus their percentage and they send you the rest. It’s a great first way if you don’t have that money. I use it as a don’t-be-afraid thing.

Also, a lot of factoring companies can help you with that vendor approval process. They don’t submit the money until the vendor’s done everything. If you don’t feel comfortable, you’ve never done that before, you don’t understand and don’t want to release the money too soon, sometimes just using them because they have the capability in that. They’re providing that service because they’re not about to release our money unless they’re absolutely sure the product is what it’s supposed to be. That’s a great way to go about it your first time too. You’ve got that as a little cushion.

The factoring company that I use that I recommend for my clients also does invoice financing. Once the PO is done and produced and delivered, they’ll pay your invoice for you for another 5% and then they wait for 90 days or 60 days for the retailer to pay them. Not only did you get financing to produce it, you’ve got paid immediately and it only costs you overall, maybe 10% total. It’s a great way to get through your first big PO without being so scary.

Let’s have that factoring company come on the platform and do a single episode. We were bringing on some special guests so that they can answer some questions but also so that they can have a recording of it there for other people who just joined the platform and want to know what is factoring all about, what does that mean, what does the company do? We can do a little exploratory interview with them and get a sense for that. Let’s invite them on and we’ll do that. Any parting thoughts or something crazy stories about things that have gone wrong at holidays?

PLH Seasonal Inventory Planning for Retail | Seasonal Inventory Planning

Seasonal Inventory Planning: As far as things that have gone wrong, never anything is catastrophic as that.

Other than $500,000, that was my first order ever in 23 years ever being canceled. I’ve never had a PO. Buyers have always said, “You might get a thousand lashes,” but in the end, they’re like, “I committed to that product. They needed to be here. Let’s figure this out.” Also, understand that buyers have been around a long time too. They’ve been through it all and they can help at those times. As far as things that have gone wrong, never anything is catastrophic as that. I’ve always had things that are a couple days late or stuff that gets held up at the border. It’s always for buyers. They slowed down at the holiday time but for suppliers, it’s a nail-biting situation making sure your products show up on time.

My parting thoughts is that you can’t prepare enough. You can’t do enough homework. Dry run, not even a dry run but soft launches of your product. Even in smaller retailers, specialty retailers. Mom-and-pop retailers are still going through the process of bringing the product in, taking in a PO, shipping product and receiving payment. It’s still all part of leading you up to this big retailer. I know you all want the big Costco order and it’s going to come or the Target or whatever. Those orders are going to come but you have to move through the processes to get there. Be careful what you wish for because sometimes you could get it all at the same time.

One of my favorite people, Brian from UGG‘s boots says, “When you’re birthing a brand, you can’t skip straight to adulthood. You’ve got to go through toddlers. You’ve got to go through the preteens. You’ve got to go through the teens. You’ve got to go through the pre-adult. You’ve got to go through all of that because systems get put in place, processes get put in place, team gets put in place, and those things need to happen in order for you to get where you want to go as a mature brand who sell in and cranking it out and getting those Costco’s orders day in and day out and hitting to be 300 billion, 500 million companies. That’s where you’ve got to go. That’s the brand you’re building. These soft launches, these smaller retailers, they are the way to go. I know it’s hard to be patient. You just want to be that multimillion dollar brand overnight but it never happens overnight.” UGG boots did not happen overnight. Dozen years later, he was still getting banks which are turning them down saying he was a fad.

Nothing happens overnight. Remember, stuff that happens overnight can go away overnight. It’s the brands that build all the way up and that doesn’t mean that you could get a call from a buyer at Bed Bath & Beyond saying, “I saw your product at this Mom-and-Pop shop next to my house. I dig it, I want to get into that.” Then all of a sudden, you’re ramping up faster but it was because you did some of the small things first. The last thing I would say is there’s nothing like vetting your product, selling it on Amazon and getting hundreds of customers to use it. There may be a glitch in it that you don’t even know about because not enough people have purchased it. You definitely don’t want to sell 100,000 units to Walmart and find out that there’s a glitch and they send them all back.

You want to get that out of the way early. That’s what a soft launch is also for. Parting thoughts, do your homework, do the soft launch, take the time to get it done right. Don’t be afraid if you get the big order. Don’t commit to things that you can’t follow through on. Don’t tell the buyers just something they want to hear because you think that’s what they want to hear. Always be honest and walk away if it doesn’t sound right or if it puts you at too much risk. There will always be another opportunity somewhere else. Most of all, have fun. Be passionate about your product.

[Tweet “More eyes on your product are going to be more sales bottom line.”]

Because you want to get that big wins in the fourth quarter. That’s your big year. Brenda Crimi, who is talking about our Amazon planning, she was saying that for products that you sell year-round, she sees a 40% boost in the holiday. Unless it’s a seasonal holiday item, which is totally different, but if it’s a regular item all year round, 40% boost. What do you see at retail?

Retail is anywhere from 25% to 40% depending on what the product is.

It’s not quite as extreme as people think it is.

There are more people in the stores. More eyes on your product are going to be more sales bottom line. It can be anywhere from 20% to 40% and then it could also be 100%. It depends on what their product is and where it’s at.

Planning. I don’t think anyone of us can stress that enough on this platform. Every single one of us says this every single episode. It all comes down to good planning and communication. Tim, they can’t have a better communicator and planner than you and I know that. That’s why they should not only be tuning into your Office Hours and asking great questions, they should also be tuning into your podcast On The Shelf, which they love because you talk a lot about these things. You get out of a buyer meeting and you discuss what it was like. It’s a good real-world example of what it can be like. We’ll be hearing maybe later in the year or some of those holiday conversations you’re having.

OnTheShelfNow.com, go there and check that out. Submit some questions. I’m happy to talk about anything that you need. Thank you so much, Tracy, for having me on. It was fun as always.

Seasonal inventory strategies, seasonal planning strategies, all the things that you need to know about retail. Thank you.

Tune in to Timothy Bush next Office Hours. Connect with and find out more about Timothy Bush in our Experts Directory.

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