Line Sheets: the Essential Tool for the Wholesale Market
For any e-commerce owner planning to venture into wholesale, one of the first steps is to create a line sheet.
And this for any product because, although line sheets may have become identified with the fashion industry, they have proven useful for virtually any product whether shoes, jewelry, sports equipment or children’s toys.
Well planned, these line sheets become the ultimate weapon, making store owners and wholesalers’ jobs so effortless that they may make their selection as soon as they receive them.
CREATING A POWERFUL TOOL
To make line sheets effective, an e-commerce owner must set aside some standard approaches used with shoppers: Magazine- style catalogs and any non-essential visual or written feature are out.
In fact, they are not called “line sheets” for nothing: They consist of rows of small photos on two or three pages with a few lines of information under each of them.
Unlike retail catalogs or sales-pitch emails for wholesale, line sheets strictly list essential data on each product such as sizes and colors for shoes or age range for toys, this information appearing under the high-quality, color photo of each product offered.
“Think of a line sheet as a shorthand catalog,” said Elizabeth Scolari of Handshake Corporation. “It is a document that should provide buyers with the necessary information to make a purchase….it’s all about
practical information, without room for long descriptions or lifestyle imagery.” “There is a lot of information out there, and you may have received conflicting advice. There is no real, true right or wrong method. You need to consider your brand and your audience, which in this case is the buyers.” (2)
At times, the most effective way may be to put the product against a neutral background so that its shape and colors appear the more striking. At others, showing the product in its natural environment so to speak—a plate on a table set for dinner or a model wearing a coat—might work best as long as the product can clearly be seen in the mini-photo format.
Finally, one’s logo and full contact information should appear at the top of each line-sheet page—a wholesaler’s time is far too precious to have it squandered on a search for contact data. So information
listed should include one’s website address, e-mail address and physical address, phone numbers along with one’s tagline if it can nicely fit.
This said, line sheets are marketing tools and there is room for special features as wholesale consultant Clare Yuille said. “Merchandising is a subtle mix of art and science, but it boils down to making the
stuff you have for sale look even more appealing to buyers,” she said. “Retailers really want to know this inside information because it helps us make an informed choice…So let’s draw attention to it. Add a banner or badge to some of your boxes which says ‘New’ or ‘Best-seller.’ And don’t be too tasteful about it.
“Sure, we want your banners to look like they belong on your line sheet, but their job is to leap out and grab the retailer by the eyeballs,” Ms. Yuille said. “If you make them too small or subtle, they’ll just blend
into the background.” (1)
With merchandising in mind, line sheets can be organized in product categories or seasons depending on the product.
As to the tools to produce line sheets, applications such as those developed by ZINation (2) will help make this happen quickly and efficiently.
2 See the article “How to create a wholesale line sheet in 5 easy steps” at https://about.zination.com/ecommerce-magazine/how-to-create-a-wholesale-linesheet-in-5-easy-steps/