If you’re in the home decor or FF&E industry, you know how important it is to establish relationships with industry professionals. One way to do this is by creating a trade program for your brand.
A trade program is a special program that offers exclusive benefits and discounts to industry professionals, such as interior designers, architects, and contractors.
As a growth consultant to brands and professionals in the design, lifestyle, and wellness industries, I often design trade and ambassador programs for design brands that want to reach new audiences, and oftentimes: go international. In this article, I lay out:
- what a trade program is
- why do you need one
- how to set it up
- how to get designers to join
Let’s dive in!
Understanding Trade Programs
By offering a trade program, you can attract and retain loyal customers who will recommend and purchase your brand to their clients. This can help increase your brand awareness and ultimately lead to more sales.
Additionally, a trade program can help you establish important cooperation with industry professionals, which can lead to new business opportunities and partnerships. Overall, creating a trade program is a smart business move that can benefit your brand in many ways.
What is a Trade Program?
A trade program is a membership program that allows industry professionals such as interior designers, architects, and contractors to purchase your products at a discounted price.
These programs are typically only available to professionals who can provide proof of their industry credentials, and they are designed to establish important cooperation between your brand and industry professionals.
Benefits of a Trade Program
There are several benefits to creating a trade program for your home decor or FF&E brand. Here are a few of the most important:
- Increased Sales: By offering a discount to industry professionals, you can increase your sales and revenue. This is because professionals are more likely to purchase your products if they can get them at a discounted price.
- Exposure: When industry professionals use your products, they may recommend them to their clients or colleagues. This can lead to increased exposure for your brand and more potential customers.
- Feedback: When professionals use your products, they can provide valuable feedback on how they perform in real-world settings. This can help you improve your products and make them more appealing to a wider audience.
- Establish Important Cooperations: By establishing relationships with industry professionals, you can create important cooperations that can help you grow your business. For example, you may be able to collaborate on projects or receive referrals from professionals who trust your brand.
By offering a discount to industry professionals, you can establish important relationships with key players in your industry and create valuable opportunities for your brand.
Setting Up a Trade Program
When you’re looking to establish a trade program for your home decor or FF&E brand, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Setting up a successful trade program requires careful planning and execution. Here are some key steps to follow:
Identifying Your Target Audience
The first step in setting up a trade program is identifying your target audience. Who are the professionals you want to attract to your program? This could include interior designers, architects, contractors, and others in the industry. Understanding your target audience will help you tailor your program to their needs and interests.
Determining Program Requirements
Once you know your target audience, you’ll need to determine the requirements for your trade program. This could include minimum purchase requirements, discounts or pricing structures, and other program benefits. You’ll also need to decide on the types of products or services that will be eligible for the program.
Establishing Membership Criteria
To ensure that your trade program is successful, you’ll need to establish membership criteria. This could include requiring a business license or resale certificate, as well as other qualifications that demonstrate that a professional is a member of the industry.
Minimum Purchase Requirements
Minimum purchase requirements are an essential part of any trade program. These requirements help ensure that professionals are purchasing a certain amount of your products in order to qualify for the program. You can set a minimum quantity, such as a 4-pack of a certain item that you’d sell to retail too, or a minimum order value, in case you have a possibility to sell individual pieces of your products.
Rule of thumb – how you structure your program depends on the type of products you sell. If you sell home decor, then you might want the trade discounted purchases to have a certain MOQ, while if you sell custom-made furniture, then often it’s just one or a few pieces the designer is purchasing at the time.
You’ll need to determine what your minimum purchase requirements will be and communicate them clearly to potential members.
The application process for your trade program should be straightforward and easy to understand. You’ll need to provide clear instructions on how professionals can apply for the program, as well as any documentation or information they’ll need to provide.
Resale Certificates / Business Licenses / Tax Considerations
In addition to the application process, you’ll also need to consider the documentation that professionals will need to provide in order to qualify for the program.
This could include a resale certificate, business license, EIN, VAT number, and other tax-related documentation. Make sure you’re familiar with the requirements in your country or state and communicate them clearly to potential members.
By following these steps, you can set up a successful trade program for your home decor or FF&E brand. Remember to tailor your program to the needs of your target audience, establish clear requirements and criteria, and communicate the application process clearly to potential members.
Building Industry Relationships
Building industry relationships is crucial for any home decor or FF&E brand looking to establish itself in the market. By identifying, approaching, and establishing partnerships with interior industry professionals, you can gain exclusive access to new markets, increase brand awareness, and ultimately boost sales.
Identifying Industry Professionals
The first step in building industry relationships is identifying the professionals you want to target. This can include architects, interior designers, decorators, and suppliers. Look for professionals who are well-established and have a strong presence in the market. But, if you are a new brand, you might also want to establish connections with new designers, and grow together!
Approaching Industry Professionals
Once you have identified the professionals you want to target, the next step is to approach them. This can be done through networking events, trade shows, or even social media. When approaching industry professionals, it is important to be professional and respectful. Introduce yourself and your brand, and explain how you can benefit them.
Exclusive Access and News
Offering exclusive access and professional discounts is a great way to entice industry professionals to partner with your brand. This can include access to new products before they hit the market, as well as discounts on inventory. By offering these benefits, you can establish yourself as a valuable partner in the industry.
In conclusion, building industry relationships is essential for any home decor or FF&E brand looking to succeed in the market. By identifying, approaching, and establishing partnerships with industry professionals, you can gain exclusive access to new markets, increase brand awareness, and ultimately boost sales.
Marketing Your Trade Program
Once you have created a trade program for your home decor or FF&E brand, it’s important to market it effectively to attract industry professionals. Here are some effective marketing strategies to promote your trade program:
Creating an Application Process On Your Website
Creating a simple application process for your trade program is a great way to showcase your brand and attract potential clients. Your website should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provide all the necessary information about your trade program. You can also include testimonials from satisfied clients to build credibility and trust.
Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach out to potential clients and keep them informed about your trade program. You can send out regular newsletters to your email list, highlighting new products, special promotions, and upcoming events. Make sure your emails are visually appealing and provide valuable information to keep your subscribers engaged.
Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be powerful tools for promoting your trade program. You can use these platforms to showcase your products, share industry news and trends, and engage with potential clients. Make sure to post regularly and use relevant hashtags to increase your reach.
You can use tags such as #TradeProgram to increase your reach!
Networking is an essential part of promoting your trade program. Attend industry events, conferences, and trade shows to connect with potential clients and industry professionals. Make sure to have a clear invitation and relevant materials ready.
Hosting your own industry events can be a great way to promote your trade program and attract potential clients. You can host product launches, workshops, and networking events to showcase your brand and build relationships with industry professionals.
By implementing these marketing strategies, you can effectively promote your trade program and attract industry professionals to your brand. Remember to stay consistent and provide value to your clients to build long-lasting relationships.
What’s the Difference Between an Ambassador Program and Trade Program?
An ambassador program and a trade program are both marketing strategies used by interior design companies to promote their brand and products. However, there are some key differences between the two.
An ambassador program is a marketing strategy where a company selects individuals who are passionate about their brand and products to represent them.
These individuals, known as brand ambassadors, promote the company’s products and services through social media, word-of-mouth, and other marketing channels. They are often given exclusive discounts, free products, and other perks in exchange for their support.
On the other hand, a trade program is a marketing strategy where a company partners with other businesses or organizations to promote their products.
This can involve offering discounts or other incentives to these partners in exchange for promoting the company’s products to their customers. Trade programs are often used in B2B (business-to-business) marketing, where companies are targeting other businesses rather than individual consumers.
While both ambassador programs and trade programs are used to promote a company’s products and services, ambassador programs focus on individual brand advocates, while trade programs focus on partnerships with other businesses.
Create A Trade Program For Your Home Decor or FF&E Brand
Creating a trade program for your home decor or FF&E brand can be a great way to establish important cooperation with industry professionals. By offering members-only access to exclusive benefits, you can create a loyal following of professionals who will be more likely to recommend your products to their clients.
One of the key benefits of a trade program is the professional discount that you can offer to members. This discount can be a powerful incentive for industry professionals to choose your products over those of your competitors. You can also offer other benefits such as free shipping, early access to new products, and personalized customer service.
If you own a home decor business, a trade program can be a great way to expand your reach and attract new customers. By partnering with industry professionals such as interior designers and architects, you can gain valuable exposure to potential customers who might not have otherwise discovered your brand.
Research has shown that offering a trade program can also be a great way to increase sales and revenue. By offering a professional discount, you can encourage industry professionals to purchase more of your products, which can help to boost your bottom line.
Finally, offering a trade program can also help you to build relationships with other businesses in the industry. By partnering with restaurants, credit card companies, and other relevant entities, you can create a network of businesses that can help to support and promote your brand.
Overall, creating a trade program for your home decor or FF&E brand can be a smart business move that can help you to establish important cooperation with industry professionals, increase sales and revenue, and build relationships with other businesses in the industry.