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How to set your brand apart this holiday season

October 3, 2022 | Published by Faire

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Image courtesy of Teaspressa

When it comes to standing out as an independent brand, it’s important that retailers not only find value in your products but also feel valued when shopping from your business. This is especially true during the busy time of the holiday season. Thankfully, a little goes a long way, and you can take small but impactful actions to give retailers who come across your brand an experience worth remembering—and one that will inspire them to return long into 2023.

Use gift guides to help retailers see your products’ potential

When it’s wrapped up in the right collection, anything can be positioned as a gift. This is especially true in North America, where 90% of customers are willing to try new brands during the holiday season.

By grouping like-minded or themed items together, you reduce the level of decision-making retailers need to do when choosing products, increasing the likelihood of conversion. For example, try grouping items together like:

  • Gifts under $20
  • Gifts for the beauty guru/foodie/parent/book lover/kids
  • Category-specific (home decor, kitchen, bath)
  • Bestsellers
  • New products
  • Seasonal lines
  • Eco-friendly products

Putting together a gift guide or collection comes down to taking the guesswork out of selling for retailers. They can easily browse, shop, and envision where your products would go on their shelves, and who would purchase them.

Your holiday gift guides don’t have to consist of completely new, holiday-specific products. Instead, they can be curated in a way that best fits your catalog of products. As an added incentive, try offering products grouped together as bundles for a discounted price. Head here for more guidance on collections on Faire.

Communicate with your customers about shipping delays and expected ship times

Considering today’s economic climate and possible shipping delays, it’s essential to set realistic lead times for your retailers now. To reduce the risk for a retailer making a first-time or new purchase, keep your order minimums low—around $150 or below.

Know the details of your shipping windows and methods, and stay communicative about any expected changes or delays. 

“A major key to success during the holiday rush is communication,” said Dan Gutstein, Vice President of Growth & Strategy at drinkware brand Well Told. “Actively engaging with retailers keeps everyone comfortable and informed during the chaos of the holidays. Given the current supply chain issues, we try to go above and beyond to communicate our product availability and turnaround time so our partners feel secure in knowing their orders will arrive within the designated window of time.”

This kind of follow-through can help you achieve positive reviews and increase brand perception, leading to higher conversion rates. Alternatively, if you don’t meet your estimated lead time, retailers will likely be less willing to buy from you again in the future. 

If a retailer uses the chat feature to inquire about something, try your best to respond promptly. This shows you care about their business and dispels any hesitation that you won’t be responsive this holiday season. Small personalization goes a long way, but you can also keep a library of frequently used responses to save yourself time while still providing quality customer service, tweaking details as necessary. 

Run a promotion

Promotions are a valuable way to attract new retailers and reward existing ones. You could do site-wide offers, or incrementally increase promotions based on the amount they spend, like 5% off orders over $300, and/or 10% off orders over $600. 

“The use of marketing promotions and discounts can set purchase incentives for customers that will help brands maximize their sales in the fourth quarter,” said Alena Sternberg, Junior Marketing Manager of toy brand Small Foot.

This tactic also ties in nicely with gift guides, which can be bundled and offered at a discount. You can use Faire’s marketing tools to keep retailers in the loop, and give new visitors incentives by offering an introductory discount. You can also advertise your discount on your marketing channels.

To take it up a notch, consider including unique package inserts with your orders to thank customers for their business: think stickers, enamel pins, or branded cards. This small but thoughtful touch makes customers and retailers alike feel appreciated, and more likely to return.

Reward loyal customers

A loyalty program is another low-effort option that allows retailers to build toward rewards with each purchase. It can be as simple as rewarding retailers after a certain number of purchases, or after a set dollar figure. The quicker they earn rewards, the more likely they’ll come back, so start with some easy wins, like giving retailers welcome points when they make their first purchases.

’Tis the season of giving, and small tokens or gifts can go a long way in showing your appreciation. This could come in the form of a free gift with purchase, small standalone gifts to a few retailers, or even handwritten notes. Free samples are another good idea that allow customers to try one of your products they might not otherwise, and increase their chances of returning for more.

Another impactful way to give back is by donating to social causes with every purchase, or as a bulk donation. You could even poll your community to see which cause they would recommend you contribute to this year and make it an annual event. To encourage even more philanthropy, consider offering a discount or free gift to retailers who show proof of donation to your selected cause. Giving back by paying it forward is a memorable way to show your appreciation for your retailers, your staff, and your community.

Make your products stand out with updated photography and video

Along with shipping information, it’s essential to ensure your product details and photography are up-to-date. 

“A brand stands out to us when packaging, photos, and descriptions are well crafted and completed,” said Morgan Calderini, Co-Founder of brand and retail store Ladyfingers Letterpress. “Buying online can be scary, and it’s important to feel like I’m able to make informed decisions.” 

If you have the resources, photography that’s specific to the holidays and/or your gift guides is especially powerful, helping retailers paint a better picture of how your products could look in their store. What’s more important, however, is ensuring you’re offering retailers a clear idea of what your products look like and allowing them to accurately picture those products on their shelves. For more photography tips, see our guide

Video has also proven to be increasingly effective, with Meta’s holiday marketing guide reporting that 55% of shoppers were inspired to buy gifts based on online videos. Instagram Live can offer potential buyers a more intimate look at your product, giving them the chance to ask questions and avoid buying unwanted items.

At the end of the day, a little bit of thought goes a long way toward ensuring you and your retailers swap the stress of the holidays for a mutually successful season.

Visit our Holiday Hub for more advice on navigating the holiday season.

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