How Being on Time Can Help You Clock More Sales

How many times have you used the phrase “fashionably late”? At one point or another, we’ve all had visions of wearing something fabulous and making a grand entrance in a room full of people. And when you’re the one wearing the clothes, swanning in late could be a great way to get noticed. But when you’re the one making the clothes, tardiness is the best way to ensure you’ll be overlooked. “Late” is a dirty word in the wholesale world; however, being on time can help you clock more sales.

Time Is Money

One term I’m sure you’ve heard and said often is “time is money.” And you’ve probably employed this phrase when thinking about how someone else’s inaction is causing you grief if not actually hitting you in the wallet. But what about when it’s your own actions that are stealing money from your pocket? For instance, we’re in the midst of the Fall ‘14 selling season. Where are your samples? If your sales people have had them for a while, then you’re probably making money right now. If your samples are still in production or en route to showrooms, your season might be less than stellar.

The bottom line is: no samples, no sales. I’ve met many nice, professional and successful sales reps but, to my knowledge, none of them are magicians or miracle workers. They can’t sell your line with nothing to show. And the more days you miss, the more sales you’re likely to lose. Oh, but there are so many shows. Miss one, hit the next, right? Sure, except buyers these days are short on time and money for market trips and long on options. Your collection needs to be there when they’re ready to shop — not the other way around.

Time Is on Your Side?

Thanks to the Stones, the words “time is on my side” might sometimes dance through your head. Too bad that when it comes to sales, Mick is leading you astray. Time is not your friend… unless you stay out ahead of it. Then time can actually be your BFF.

Deliver goods to stores on time and you’re setting yourself up for sales success. First, if your competitors are struggling with production, your line might be one of a few on the racks. Faced with fewer options, shoppers are more likely to buy from your line. Second, the earlier you get in, the longer your clothes have to sell before the end-of-season sales start.

Late deliveries, on the other hand, hurt you now and could impact your future sales as well. When your line’s late, you risk stores bouncing your boxes. That’s a hit against this season’s bottom line. And if they do take them in, more of your pieces are likely to hit the sale rack. This means you may not make the cut when the store decides who to buy from next season, since the first thing they’re going to consider is which lines produced the best margins for them in the recent past.

Ultimately, late product — whether samples or production — means missed opportunities. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

About Caletha Crawford

Caletha Crawford operates Caletha Crawford Childrenswear Consulting LLC. Since launching her business and serving as the former editor in chief of Earnshaw’s magazine, she has spent more than 10 years in the industry. Caletha has a unique perspective on the concepts, designs and companies that resonate with retailers and consumers. Her services include branding, marketing and social media. In an effort to usher in the next generation of design talent, she manages special projects for and teaches at Parsons The New School for Design. She also co-founded the Children’s Apparel Consulting Group, a full-service, one-stop network of industry veterans that assists children’s clothing brands with every aspect of their businesses.

Keep up with Caletha’s business, client updates, market insights and trade show observations in her industry newsletter.

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