Step 5 - Target This Niche : Smaller Retailer

Retailers require quality branded merchandise to help them prosper in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Capitalize on the demand with the help of these insights.

Retailers require quality branded merchandise to help them prosper in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Capitalize on the demand with the help of these insights.

Revved-Up Retail Revenue

Jeff Grippando is pumped.

In 2014, Grippando and his sales team at City Paper Company (asi/162267) powered a 26% rise in annual sales in the firm’s promotional products division. This year, the sales trajectory has continued traveling northward.

Grippando has orchestrated the success, in part, by focusing on a sometimes overlooked niche: Smaller retailers.“We’re talking everything from your mom-and-pop shops to businesses with a handful of locations,”says City’s VP of promotional marketing operations.“They have a need for promotional products, and many have bigger budgets than you may think.”

Case in point: Grippando was calling on Little Miss Muffin, a women’s boutique in New Orleans that also retails children’s items and home decor. City Paper Company was already providing the business with packaging solutions like bags, gift tissue, ribbons and more. But he saw an opportunity to expand the list of solutions.

So, City’s contact at the store was asked about her promotional product needs. “It turned out she had a $50,000 annual budget for customer appreciation gifts,” says Grippando.“We’re putting together a whole bunch of interesting things.”

Similarly, he and his sales team prospected for promo business with other retailers for whom City had already been providing packaging solutions. The results were often the same: New streams of revenue started flowing. For instance, City now delivers branded yoga mats and yoga towels for a women’s boutique in Atlanta tha

For Van Michael, an Atlanta-based salon, City provides everything from totes and towels to high-end pens. Meanwhile, flying discs, shot glasses and can coolers represent a sampling of the items City brands for Flora-Bama, a popular Gulf Coast lounge, oyster bar and package shop.“These accounts continue to grow,”says Grippando.

To score similar success, start simply by recognizing the potential in smaller retailers. Then leverage your network to make connections with prospects. From there, get creative; don’t just look to provide products retailers are already using. Present new promotional solutions that compel your clients’ target audiences to take notice. “Retail can be a great market,” says Grippando,“for selling promotional products.”

Unique pen (BP-805) displays branding and messaging on both sides of its pull-out banner. Item makes an excellent gift-with-purchase product for retailers to give customers. From PromoFlagMaker, asi/80228, 800-353-2468.


By The Numbers

  • 1 in 4 American jobs are supported by the retail industry.
  • $2.6 Trillion Retail’s total impact on gross domestic product.
  • 3.8 Million Number of retail establishments in the United States.
  • 98.6% Percentage of retail businesses that employ less than 50 people.

Biz Tips:

“Retail” is a broad category that encompasses a variety of business types, so it’s essential to treat every retail client uniquely. Take the time to understand each business, its marketing activities and its audience. Supported by this understanding, propose product solutions that will augment current promotional efforts. Present ideas for fresh marketing initiatives that you can bolster with branded merchandise.

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