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5 Questions Your Trade Advertising Should Answer

“I love finding new products to offer my customers.”

This is one of the most common statements I hear from independent retailers. These spirited entrepreneurs are constantly seeking out new ways to stand out from the competition, and one of the biggest opportunities to do that is through their product assortments.

Retailers tell us they search for new products in a variety of ways, but the two most common methods are live dealer markets and trade magazines. Being hands-on by nature, they enjoy trade shows for the ability to touch products and ask questions. They look to trade publications for new product ideas, category trends and how other retailers are finding success in popular categories.

Here we’ll dive into the data driving product decisions for retailers and give you some tips on how you can stand out without the benefit of being at a live market. 


Where Do Retailers Look for New Products?

Before starting a compelling advertising campaign, it’s important to understand where independent retailers are looking for new product ideas. A recent Hardware Retailing study shared the top three places retailers get information from manufacturers about new products and line launches are through their wholesale partners, trade media articles and ads (such as magazines and newsletters).

On the other hand, when we asked vendors in a recent study how they send information to retailers, the results were different. Manufacturers said they send new product information through their wholesale partners, followed by direct email communication and social media. 

This tells us that retailers prefer to rely on trusted sources when gathering information and insights on what to bring into their operations. It also shows that while email and social media are must-do’s in today’s digital world, manufacturers could be missing an opportunity to focus more attention on trade media. 


5 Questions Your Trade Advertising Should Answer

When you are crafting an ad campaign, it is important to align your content with the audience. So consider your audience with trade media—retail owners and store and department managers. Unlike consumer advertising where you are trying to convince people to buy and use your product, this audience wants to understand why they should sell your product. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are crafting your trade media message.

  1. Who are you talking to? Sometimes it can be hard to remember the difference between consumer and trade advertising. With trade advertising, you are speaking directly to the people who will be selling your product, so your messaging should reflect that.
  2. How does your product or line benefit the retailer? Because you’re trying to convince retailers to buy—and then sell—your products, don’t be shy about mentioning key benefits like how easy your company is to work with, opening order discounts, buyback opportunities and simple selling tips.
  3. What does your packaging look like? In the hunt for new products, retailers look for items that are well packaged and merchandised. If you offer descriptive packaging, unique or easy set-up displays and helpful signage, make sure you mention it.
  4. Do you offer training? If you offer training on how to use and sell your products, this will give you major bonus points.
  5. Are you supporting the channel? These small business owners are pouring their blood, sweat and tears into owning and operating successful businesses. A simple, supportive message can go a long way.

Despite the pandemic, 72 percent of manufacturers surveyed told us they plan to launch the same or more products this year. Nearly 90 percent of independent retailers are also experiencing record sales right now. And they will use this momentum to invest in their operations by adding new products, exploring new niches and extending product lines. 

Author avatar

Whitney Daulton

Whitney has spent more than a decade at NHPA, beginning as a graphic designer fresh out of college, then moved into art and creative direction before landing her current role as Executive Director of Marketing and Communications. She is passionate about building content and tools to help independent retailers succeed. She is instrumental in helping the association build strategies and brand awareness behind its products and services.

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