How to Time Product Releases?
Creating new products and tinkering with new design ideas is why many of you went into business. It’s the draw of the creative process. You love to brainstorm, create and then create some more. And it keeps your business exciting and alive—for you and for your bank account.
Releasing these new products is your ticket to business growth. It sets you apart from the competition and shows retailers that you’re serious about your business and your product line. But it’s important to realize that timing is a major factor with new releases, particularly when you’re selling wholesale.
At Paper Camp, we talk a lot about scheduling and timing, but we’ll give you the quick and dirty version here.
It’s important to recognize that the wholesale buying cycle is very different than retail buying schedules. Retailers are buying product months in advance of the season.
For example, holiday cards should be ready by May; love and Valentine’s Day cards should be ready by October. And calendars and planners need to be ready for market a whole year in advance. Buyers are currently looking at 2018 calendars and planners and we’re not even a month into 2017!
If you’re late to market, you’ll miss out on sales. So know your production timelines and work backward from your intended release date to make sure your products are ready. Knowing and abiding by these wholesale buying cycles will enable you to maximize your sales and ensure you’re not leaving money on the table.
In an ideal world, we’d like you to release new products three to four times a year. Most companies new to wholesale release products once a year, commonly in May to coincide with the National Stationery Show. If this is you, don’t stress. You’re not alone! But make it a priority to add more frequent releases throughout the year. It will be worth it, we promise.
Buyers want to see that you’re serious about developing your product line. Paying attention to buying cycles and releasing new cards are two positive ways to get their attention.
Samantha Finigan of Gus & Ruby has told us, “We love longstanding partnerships and are committed to developing strong relationships with our vendors, but we do expect commitment from them to continuing to develop their line and keep us interested.”
We’ve heard repeatedly from retailers that they’re more likely to place reorders with manufacturers that release new products regularly.
So know the buying cycles, build out your production schedule and work your way up to three to four release schedules per year. You can also keep our handy sample release schedule guide nearby to keep you on track.