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Video

MSNBC Interview with Vanessa Ting: The Importance of a Retail Buyer to Retailers

31 Mar

Aired March 30, 2014 on MSNBC’s Your Business with JJ Ramberg.

A good buyer can be the first line of defense in any retail business. If that person understands your brand and your customers, your sales will soar. Vanessa Ting, the chief retail buyer for Buyerly; leadership and marketing strategist David Meerman Scott; and Christiane Lemieux, the founder of Dwell Studio and the  executive creative director at Wayfair, talk about the qualities of a good buyer.

Featured Buyer Profile: “With so much focus moving to online shopping, you have to think beyond how your product will look ‘on shelf’.”

25 Nov

Buyerly Babble will regularly feature one of the retail buyers in the Buyerly network to give an inside peek into the mind of a buyer.  We think you’ll enjoy getting to know their personalities and what makes them tick…as well as their impressive retail experience!

male buyer

Buyer ID: 116

Retail experience (years): 3.5

Retailer experience (stores): Mass Merch, e-Commerce

Primary decision-making authority: Yes.

Product Category experience: Food, Baby & Kids, Natural & Organic, Pet

Favorite color: Red

Favorite print/pattern: Plaid

Who would you give the Product of the Year award to?

I am a huge fan of the AquaFarm, by Bay Area startup Back to the Roots. It’s a closed loop, self-cleaning fish tank and at home aquaponics system. As an urban dweller with limited outdoor space, this has been a great way to have my very own sustainable garden.

Why did you join the Buyerly Buyer Panel?

My role as a buyer in a fast growing online startup is to stay ahead of the trends in the natural, organic and eco-friendly space. Being a part of Buyerly allows me to see what is exciting and new in that space, while at the same time providing meaningful feedback to emerging brands.

What is your favorite store to shop at?  

I’ve been spending too much time (and money) on Jackthreads.com, but from a brick and mortar stand point, I am always impressed with Whole Foods Market. They do an incredible job from assortment selection to in store presentation to superior customer service – it’s a fantastic shopping experience! Not to mention that my local Whole Foods has a bar where I can grab a drink before I really get into checking off my shopping list.

What advice do you have for the consumer companies on Buyerly?

With so much focus moving to online shopping, you have to think beyond how your product will look “on shelf” in a traditional brick and mortar retailer, but how it will look to a customer surfing their favorite shopping site. Invest in high quality, high resolution images that support ecommerce platforms – clean white backgrounds, images that match your product description, and multiple shots including the product outside of the package, are all ways to help satisfy the needs of ecommerce retailers. And if you’re selling food items, definitely images of your ingredient deck.

Favorite holiday season: Thanksgiving – nothing beats family, feasting, and leftovers

Featured Buyer Profile: “A differentiated product with a clear consumer need is more likely to win shelf space.”

28 Sep

Buyerly Babble will regularly feature one of the retail buyers in the Buyerly network to give an inside peek into the mind of a buyer.  We think you’ll enjoy getting to know their personalities and what makes them tick…as well as their impressive retail experience!

We’ll also feature Retailer (Store) Profiles in future postings!

Female Retail Buyer

Buyer ID:  819

Retail experience: Eight years

Retailer experience: Mass Merch Stores and Apparel Chains

Primary decision-making authority:  Yes

Product Category experience: Apparel, Accessories, Toys

Favorite color: Kelly Green

Favorite print/pattern: I like a classic stripe.

Who would you give the Product of the Year award to? 

2nd Street Creamery’s Can’t Tell Me No! Cookie Dough Ice Cream.  I’ll admit it – I’m an ice cream addict.  The geniuses at 2nd Street Creamery have loaded this flavor with tons of chunks of chocolate chip and double chocolate cookie dough pieces.  But the best part is the ribbon of sugar cookie dough swirled throughout the entire pint.  Yum!

Why did you join the Buyerly Buyer Panel?  

Buyerly helps me find out about new product innovations.  I also love being a Buyer, so it’s genuinely fun to share my thoughts and insights with vendors that are just starting out.

What is your favorite store to shop at?

Whole Foods.  Even though they often take my ‘whole paycheck, I think Whole Foods is merchandised incredibly well and their take-out options are delicious.

What advice do you have for the consumer companies on Buyerly?

Ensure you provide as much product and packaging information as possible in your Buyerly product write-up.  This makes it easier for me to evaluate the concept and provide more helpful commentary.  Most importantly, tell me what truly differentiates your product or idea from what’s already out there in the market.  Brick-and-mortar retailers have limited space to work with.  As a Buyer, I will most likely have to exit another item in order to set your new product.  A differentiated product with a clear consumer need is more likely to win shelf space.

Favorite holiday season: Valentine’s Day.  I know – it’s a cheesy holiday ,but who doesn’t love a holiday that’s all about love?

Featured Buyer Profile: “Convince me you’re not just a great design…but that you also have a solid grasp of business”

22 Sep

Buyerly Babble will regularly feature one of the retail buyers in the Buyerly network to give an inside peek into the mind of a buyer.  We think you’ll enjoy getting to know their personalities and what makes them tick…as well as their impressive retail experience!

We’ll also feature Retailer (Store) Profiles in future postings!

Male Retail Buyer

Buyer ID:  805

Retail experience (years): 10

Retailer experience: Target, May Department Stores, eCommerce

Primary decision-making authority:  Yes.

Product Category experience:  Domestic goods, fashion accessories, consumer electronics and entertainment.

Favorite color:   crimson

Favorite print/pattern: horizontal stripes

Who would you give the Product of the Year award to?

WaveJet.  Propulsion on a surfboard?  Yes that’s what it does!  Combining a great innovation, performance (this thing churns out almost 20 pounds of thrust) and pretty neat marketing campaign, it gets my vote for Product of the Year.  For WaveJet’s target audience, it literally blows them out of the water.

Why did you join the Buyerly Buyer Panel?

It is exciting to see firsthand and early on the many new products being introduced to the market.  You also never know when you’d stumble upon the next big thing first!

What is your favorite store to shop at? Target, since I’ve had an opportunity to work at that company and had really gotten to know the store and products well.  I also love unique little boutiques that sell hard-to-find products elsewhere.

What advice do you have for the consumer companies on Buyerly?

The three main questions I’d want answers to are:

1) Why is your product’s differentiation meaningful?

2) Why do you think your product is ready for the level of retail distribution that you’re targeting (e.g. small chains, mass, etc.)?

3) Convince me that you’re not just great at design, product development, and technology, but that you also have a solid grasp of business, finances and how to work with retailers.

Favorite holiday season: 

Christmas / New Years, because it is the longest one!  Also because it is a great time to reflex, relax and to refocus for the next year.

Featured Buyer Profile: “Buyers want to see products that are new and different”

22 Aug

Buyerly Babble will regularly feature one of the retail buyers in the Buyerly network to give an inside peek into the mind of a buyer.  We think you’ll enjoy getting to know their personalities and what makes them tick…as well as their impressive retail experience!

We’ll also feature Retailer (Store) Profiles in future postings!

Retail Buyer Profile

Buyer ID: 833

Industry experience: 14 years

Retailer experience: Mass Merch Stores, Dollar Stores

Primary decision-making authority:  Yes.

Product Category experience:  Personal Care, Beauty, Home, Holiday, Baby.

Favorite color:  Orange

Favorite print/pattern:  I love chevron.  I know, it’s so trendy.

Who would you give the Product of the Year award to?  It’s not a consumable product in the traditional sense, but I recently had Blockheads Snow Cream in LA and I can’t get it off my mind.  http://www.blockheadsla.com/  Package this stuff up in a box for the freezer aisle, and I’ll make sure it gets into stores!

Why did you join the Buyerly Buyer Panel?  To get the first glimpse at new product launches.  And I enjoy helping small companies.

What is your favorite store to shop at?  I love Anthropologie. It’s such a treasure hunt – and full of surprises.  Their merchandise displays are gorgeous and the products so unique but not to far out there.  Fred Segal is fun for similar reasons. I enjoy wandering through their different boutiques-within-a-boutique.

What advice do you have for the consumer companies on Buyerly?  We [retail buyers] want to see products that are new and different.  It doesn’t have to be completely groundbreaking. It can be as simple as a reinvention of something already ubiquitous. It just has to offer features or benefits you can’t get elsewhere. And you must MUST provide an explanation for how your company can deliver those unique features and benefits better than anyone else.  And your plans to prevent copycats from introducing something similar.

Favorite holiday season:  Halloween!  I love dressing up…my dog!