• Why the Customer is Much More Important than the Retailer

    working with retailers and retail buyers

To attract more retailers to your brand, focus on impressing their customers.

How Can I Attract Retailers?

Dear Lilian,

We’ve been sending emails to our retail customers showcasing our press coverage, but only about 25% are ever opened and even less are clicked through. What are we doing wrong? How can we attract retailers to open our newsletters?


Why Am I Being Ignored?

Well, hello again readers! I hope you’ve all been able to keep cool this summer! I’ve spent most of it working with clients in Montreal and have fortunately missed the worst of this steaming weather. Enjoy the last of the sunrays now as holiday season is around the corner, and a broken air conditioner will be a more welcomed problem than UPS and FedEx’s eventual holiday delivery delays!

Now, dear readers, please, have a seat. I’m about to say something shocking and I don’t want you to bump your head should you swoon when I tell you that you really don’t want to attract retailers.

Are you ready?

Dear Ms. Ignored, your retail customers don’t matter.

Wait, everyone! Please don’t cancel your National Jeweler subscription! Hear me out.

Who is buying your jewelry?

Don’t tell me the store buyer! Let’s try again!

Who is wearing your jewelry? Who are you thinking about when you design your jewelry?

Let’s name the answer to these questions Elizabeth Taylor. Because, why not?

You’re making your jewelry for Elizabeth Taylor because she’s the one stockpiling your latest masterpieces. And while you’re doing your utmost best to impress the retail store buyer, the retail store buyer is going gaga for Elizabeth Taylor. All Mr. Buyer cares about is what Elizabeth Taylor wants.

It’s good that you want Mr. Buyer to see your press coverage, but it makes no difference to him. If time is money, how much money is he earning by looking at your emails?

Your only value to Mr. Buyer is what Elizabeth Taylor wants. As long as she continues wanting your pieces, your relationship with the store continues. If she and her friends, however, stop wanting you, so does Mr. Buyer.

When I first started in PR, back when fax machines were more important than emails, I, too, thought it was important to show retailers press coverage. I remember dutifully compiling press clips for my jewelry and watch clients and doing monthly mailings to their retailers, thinking they’d get excited about all the press my clients’ products were receiving.

Yeah, no.

They appreciated knowing we were out there creating excitement about their inventory. But unless Elizabeth Taylor barreled into their store, clutching a Vogue magazine page showcasing my clients’ jewelry as she throws her JP Morgan Palladium card at the nearest sales person to buy that one piece, they didn’t give a flying fig.


Don’t stop getting press coverage for your collection. How else is Elizabeth Taylor going to know about your jewelry?

As I continue working with business owners one-on-one, especially business owners whose end customer is not the person the business owner is interacting with directly, it’s clear to me, Ms. Ignored, you don’t realize who has the most power.

The person taking your jewelry home is the most powerful. This is who you need to impress.

Absolutely take care of your retailer relationships! Make sure Mr. Buyer and his team burst into song and dance when they hear your name, as that’s how you will ensure you attract retailers.

But remember, just as you are beholden to Mr. Buyer to order your jewelry, Mr. Buyer is beholden to Elizabeth Taylor to buy your jewelry.

My close friend is a senior sales rep for a very well-known jewelry company. While everyone reading this understands just how rare it is for Saks to offer anything other than memo for their orders, my friend told me that this particular company’s deals with Saks were mostly cash and very little memo.

Why? Because this very well-known company had millions of Elizabeth Taylors, and if Saks wanted to continue swiping those Palladium cards, they needed to play ball.

And, to make sure they kept acquiring more Elizabeth Taylors, this very well-known company would happily treat editors at the major magazines to their very own baubles during the holiday season. When I say “baubles,” I mean the finest quality VVS diamond-somethings the real Elizabeth Taylor would salivate to possess.

So, to answer your question more directly, what you’re doing wrong, how you need to attract retailers, Ms. Ignored, is focusing your energy on Mr. Store Buyer instead of the most powerful person in the store – the customer.

Use your press and marketing strategy to acquire more Elizabeth Taylors, then I guarantee you, Mr. Store Buyer will program his Outlook to emit a special ring exclusively for when your emails come through.

You’re probably now wondering how to acquire more Elizabeth Taylors.

Well, my friend, that’s what I’m here for! Email me your pressing PR and marketing questions to answer in my next column, or better yet, invite me to your office!

Until next time, dear friends, stay cool!

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