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  • Welcome To The Grommet Wholesale Showroom!

    While browsing wholesale.thegrommet.com in the comfort of your home is nice, sometimes you want to see, touch, and feel products before you buy. That’s why The Grommet Wholesale has opened showrooms at AmericasMart, Las Vegas Market, and Dallas Market Center.

    In our showrooms you will be able to find new-to-market products and products that have proven to be best sellers in gift boutiques across the country. Every show cycle we feature new Makers to help you find those unique and innovative products that your customers have ever seen. Our Boston-based team will be in our showrooms to help answer any questions you may have and show you products that may be a good fit for your store.

    If you haven’t been to one of our showrooms yet, click on the video below to get an overview of our space at AmericasMart.

     

    The next Trade Show cycle is quickly approaching. Start planning your trip now and make sure you put The Grommet Wholesale on your list, we would love to see you! If you would like to schedule an appointment with someone for our team click here or email [email protected] 

    Upcoming Shows Dates:

    Dallas Total Home & Gift Market, June 19-25, 2019, TradeMart-1303

     

    Atlanta Summer Gift & Home Furnishings Market, July 9-15, 2019, Building 2, Floor 6, Showroom #612B

     

    Las Vegas Market, July 28-August 1, 2019, Building C, Showroom 1094

     

    NY NOW*, August 10 - 13, 2019, Level 2 across from Hudson News by the Roadway Entrance

     

    *NY NOW is a temporary booth

  • 5 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Gift Shop's In-Store Experience on a Budget

    As with most aspects of life, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big impression. When designing your retail store layout, it’s more important to be efficient both in terms of cost and space than it is to blow your budget on unnecessary displays and products. Here are five simple ways to easily improve your in-store experience without breaking the bank.

    Less is more

    If working with limited square footage, it may sound counterintuitive, but decluttering your space will actually help eliminate overstimulation. Shoppers’ eyes are drawn toward cleaner displays that allow artisan gifts to shine, cutting down on the need to fill empty shelf space. This principle can be applied throughout the store, including at the register and in the window display.

     

    Light it up

    Drawing attention to you displays can be as simple as adjusting the lighting throughout the store. In addition to making sure all bulbs are working, the use of uplighting, spotlighting, and track lighting can all guide the customer visually to promotions and displays of featured products.

     

    Engage the senses

    Visual appeal is naturally at the top of any shop owner’s list, but don’t discount the other four senses that encourage customers to engage with the products, down to the music that pipes throughout the store. Free samples that you can touch and even taste are a small investment that go a long way, and you don’t have to be a parfumerie for your store to smell like anything other than cleaning products.

     

    Use resources you already have

    Chances are, you have accumulated a lot of creative packaging while stocking your store with wholesale artisan gifts. Rather than purchasing expensive shelving or display cases, put those empty crates and boxes to use by setting up a display or end cap, or even use old picture frames, corkboards, or hooks to display products in an eye-catching way.

     

    Think signage

    Printing and reprinting new signs for every promotion or sale can be an unexpected cost, so instead invest in chalkboards or even an electronic lightbox to display your rotating messages. What’s more, use QR codes for customers to scan to learn more about a product on your website rather than printing out bios for every new artisan.

  • 5 Ways to Train New Retail Staff

    Proper staff training is really a win-win-win for the employees, management, and customers alike. Training staff doesn’t have to follow an outline for a set period of onboarding time, but rather should be ongoing with the goals of ensuring consistent messaging, improving employee morale, and reducing employee turnover— all while increasing sales. Here are five effortless ways to train new staff beyond the book.

    Image provided by Getty Images

    Consider personalities

    Beyond the interview process, getting to know your employees will not only create a comfortable and supportive working environment, but it will also help to understand the best way to train to their personalities, whether that’s by reading a manual or by doing.

    It’s easy to forget that everyone learns differently, and feedback is best received when it is personalized rather than prescriptive.

    Reward good behavior

    Strong employees aren’t necessarily top sellers (although they could be). Good employees engage with both customers and other employees, while looking for opportunities to improve and offering suggestions.

    Measures for success shouldn’t go unnoticed but can be as simple as relaying a positive customer experience or even online review during a staff meeting.

    Pop quiz

    It doesn’t have to be anything formal, but asking new employees throughout the day to look up pricing or whether a product comes in a different color will help keep them on their toes for when those questions arise from customers throughout the day.

    Also be sure to ask employees for feedback on new products, or procedures, to empower them and make them feel invested.

    Continued education

    Training doesn’t end after the first week. In fact, employees should be briefed on new products and procedures as they are rolled out, perhaps in a weekly staff meeting, so that everyone is on the same page.

    Create a community of learners who are excited to tell customers what’s new on shelves to position your employees and, in turn, the store as experts in your field.

    Lead by example

    Setting expectations while modeling good behavior both internally and with customers sets everyone up for success. Set clear guidelines for what you expect from them, and give them the tools with which to succeed.

    Treat employees as equals, and look for ways to motivate them individually and as a team.

  • Loyalty Program Ideas

    Profitability aside, the underlying goal of any retail business should be to establish a loyal customer base. To show your thanks, those who choose your store above others on a regular basis should be rewarded in the form of some exclusive offering, monetary or otherwise. Here are some suggestions to keep your loyal following happy and, above all, engaged.

    Image from Getty Images

    Buy one, get one

    Don’t discount the traditional route of buying a specific number of products and getting one free. Take it a step further by upgrading the cumbersome loyalty business cards by having customers enter their email addresses at the point-of-sale to, in turn, gather that oh-so-valuable contact information, while also eliminating the need to carry around a stack of punch cards.

     

    Points system

    Less cut and dry, enlist a points system for customers to earn certain rewards based on different levels of engagement, such as taking a survey or referring a friend. What’s more, reward user-generated content, such as writing an online review or sharing your posts on their social media pages, which costs your company nothing but provides priceless promotion.

     

    Get social

    Chances are, your social media followers and email subscribers are your loyal customers. Put those channels to use by starting a campaign — perhaps using a unique hashtag, offering a discount code, or even posing industry-specific trivia—to engage followers to promote your brand and its products on their own pages.

     

    Members-only events

    Social media followers and email newsletter subscribers can gain exclusive access to events held at your store (think after-hours calligraphy lessons, flower arranging, and yoga practices) simply by liking your business, automatically inviting customers back to your store and hopefully bringing a friend or two.

     

    VIP club

    Depending on the nature of your business, having customers pay a service fee upfront to gain exclusive access and discounts or priority purchasing could be a win-win, guaranteeing an investment on both ends with a fail-safe return visit. Better yet, let customers choose their level of engagement and empower them to personalize their experience with anything from offering an expedited checkout process to free product previews.

     

    Question for you

    How do you keep your customers engaged? Describe the loyalty program you use in your store in the comments below for a chance to win Grommet Swag!

  • Top 10 Email Marketing Tools

    Not all email marketing tools are created equal. In fact, when it comes to selecting the platform that is right for your business and level of expertise, features, cost versus value, ease of use, and integrations, among other things, are at the top of the consideration list. But with seemingly endless options available, how do you know which is right for you? Here’s a primer to get you started in the right direction.

     

    Mailchimp

    For: Bloggers, small/local businesses

    Features: This free email marketing service plan with upgraded paid tools lets you send 12,000 emails for up to 2,000 subscribers with the hopes of turning them into customers and visitors if they aren’t already. An email builder, autoresponders, and simple tracking for analytics allow you to set up delivery times based on a user’s timezone, segment based on geolocation, and assign contacts into groups. The platform integrates with WordPress, Magento, Shopify and social media platforms to send out surveys, import lists, and create campaigns. A tracking option lets you know who has opened the email message and which campaign links receive the most clicks, and drip emails can be sent to follow up based on website activity, abandoned carts, and activity or inactivity. What’s more, a subject line researcher allows you to plug in keywords or phrases you’re considering to see how well they performed for other users.

     

    Constant Contact

    For: E-marketing novices, small businesses

    Features: This tiered marketing platform lets you manage your email lists, contacts, email templates, and marketing calendar with the option to integrate with hundreds of other apps you are already using. Choose from pre-designed templates or customize content and promotion ideas with a built-in social media sharing tools, free image library, and the ability to insert documents, polls, links to surveys, and videos. An event management tool lets you create coupons and download to share on social media, as well as easily track and report list segmentation. A dashboard shows you the number of opt-outs, complaints, bounces, forwards, and click-throughs.

     

    HubSpot

    For: All-in-one marketing gurus

    Features: This customer-relationship-management platform with ties to sales tools features email marketing automation, a content management system, and landing page builder with analytics all in one place. A simple workflow even allows you to manage event invitations, registrations, and tickets using prebuilt automated workflows that streamline email marketing. If the platform isn’t intuitive enough, HubSpot offers customer support, in addition to online tutorials and courses that will up your inbound marketing game.

     

    Drip

    For: The e-commerce merchant

    Features: This aptly named app is designed for streamlining the drip email process to convert visitors into subscribers and customers thanks to marketing automation. Form a deep understanding of customer intent and purchasing behavior with the ability to track metrics with integrations for WordPress, WooCommerce, Shopify, and Facebook ad integration, to name a few. The image-driven marketing can be simply created using email-gathering technology, pre-made templates, and drag-and-drop elements. Personalized follow-up emails can then be sent based on behaviors like cart abandonment, first-time users, returning website visitors, people who clicked a link on your site.

     

    Campaign Monitor

    For: The do-it-yourself-er

    Features: This clutter-free, straight-forward interface is a one-stop provider for everything from a drag-and-drop email builder to autoresponders to create, send, and optimize hyper-targeted email marketing campaigns. No coding skills are required; however, HTML templates can be imported to personalize content using Excel or by copying and pasting content directly. The Template Builder tool also ensures that all emails are mobile responsive and shows you what your email will look like using Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and more. From there, the visual design tool maps out the customer’s journey thanks to responses to your email campaigns.

     

    GetResponse

    For: Eager medium-sized retailers new to email campaigns

    Features: Easily create and deploy professional automated email campaigns with the added bonus of tracking purchasing behavior. Know how many subscribers view emails, unsubscribe, or click on links, as well as predict the best time of day to send out emails to increase open rates. In addition to the typical responsive forms, landing pages, A/B testing, third-party integration and autoresponders, GetResponse displays your data in easy-to-digest pie charts and bar graphs so you can view a summary of results after sending out surveys. GetResponse also has a platform for creating landing pages and even webinars, as well as a drag-and-drop builder to create campaigns, segment contacts, and send content designed for specific groups.

     

    SendinBlue

    For: The budget conscious

    Features: This marketing software combines email and SMS campaigns into one platform complete with list management, campaign reporting, email layout optimization, and third-party integration. The transactional email service allows you to send more emails to a smaller database based on customer interaction and with the ability to segment your email list to send highly personalized emails to your customers at the right time thanks to a drag-and-drop builder. Add to that a wealth of autoresponders and automated workflows to engage your customers.

     

    ConvertKit

    For: Publishers and online creators

    Features: Bloggers, podcasters, and social media influencers are a unique set and deserve and equally unique platform on which to create. Send attractive forms and custom-tailored emails to individual subscribers using a visual builder that allows you to actually see how your email sequences will play out thanks to automated email funnels that help guide a visitor through the buying process. Use the built-in landing page editor for your email marketing that only requires a source of traffic, like a YouTube channel or social media account. Create targeted autoresponder sequences and segment email based on on-site behavior, then run ultra-targeted campaigns to increase conversions with automated emails that feel personal.

     

    ActiveCampaign

    For: Sales and marketing experts

    Features: Combine email marketing with a customer relationship management platform and sales automation to send behaviorally driven marketing and personalized sales campaigns tailored to individual users’ behaviors. What’s more, reach subscribers on the go by sending SMS messages and creating mobile-friendly sign-up forms to embed on your site. Use the ability to track on-site events to create actionable follow-ups, and create funnels using in/then logic that corresponds to subscriber actions, behavior, location, and social data. Lead and contact scoring lets you know who to prioritize when using the template editor for creating email campaigns.

     

    Infusionsoft

    For: The taskmaster

    Features: A flowchart-style campaign leads to a higher return on investment with this lead-scoring customer relationship management platform. Highly customizable dashboards and autoresponders come alongside helpful task management features that show you daily appointments and which contacts need following up with. Build complete customer profiles to help create more targeted marketing campaigns and a dashboard that shows data and analytics based on sales information and customer financial history, on top of subscriber tagging tools.

  • Meet Grommet's Ace Field Team

    The Grommet Wholesale is excited to announce that we have expanded our Ace Field Team to better assist Ace Stores. Grace Wilson manages multi-chain stores, Alex Ferrero manages Mid-West & West Coast stores, and Zack Williamson manages East Coast stores. To learn more about the team check out their bios below.

    From left to right: Zack Williamson, Alex Ferrero and Grace Wilson

     

    Grace Wilson joined The Grommet in 2016 and worked with Ace retailers from the beginning of The Grommet and Ace Hardware’s partnership. She helped develop the Grommet display program, partnered with Ace Corporate Innovation buyers on selecting products for the RSCs, and worked with Makers on getting their products into the RSCs. Over the past year, Grace focused on working with Ace stores as the Key Account Manager. She is excited that Alex and Zack joined the team this year and she will now work with Ace multi-store chains that have five or more stores. Grace grew up outside of Boston, and played lacrosse at William’s College. In her free time, she likes visiting craft breweries, skiing, and traveling to new places.

     

    Alex Ferrero started at The Grommet in 2014 where he helped structure the wholesale customer support experience and define the position’s responsibilities. Last year, he took on the promotional product industry where companies could buy Grommet products with their logos printed on them. This year, Alex will focus on midwest and west coast stores to ensure the continued growth and success of The Grommet and Ace partnership. Alex grew up in New Hampshire but went to college in Durango, CO. He graduated from Fort Lewis College and was a part of the collegiate cycling program. He loves riding bicycles and you can usually find him on the road or on local mountain bike trails every weekend. Alex enjoys working hard, but playing hard too – Orlando here we come.

     

    Zack Williamson joined The Grommet in 2016 as a member of The Discovery Team. During this time, he focused on the Electronics, Technology, Outdoor, Hardware, Toys, Games, Men’s Accessories, Fitness, and Pet categories. After 2.5 years of finding products for The Grommet’s retail site, he’s taking on a new challenge with The Grommet Wholesale Team overseeing the Eastern Division. A Massachusetts native, Zack is a graduate of Northeastern University, where he spent four years as a coxswain on the Varsity Men’s Rowing Team. An avid skier, he tries to spend as much time as possible on the slopes during the winter. He also enjoys cooking, cocktails, traveling, and building things in his garage.

  • How To Find Unique Products Your Customers Don't Yet Know They Want

    Attending trade shows and browsing thousands of wholesale maker websites are seemingly daunting tasks when it comes to finding new and unique products quickly and consistently.

     

     

    With a proverbial bottomless pit of options, it’s hard to know where to start and when to stop, especially when it comes to find those must-have who-knows-whats that will make you stand out above your competition. Here are a few suggestions to get you started finding unique products your customers don’t even know they want yet:

     

    Form relationships

    Even if your customers don’t know exactly what they want or know they want it, asking the right questions and taking note of which items sell and even which don’t can lead you down the right path. From there, having conversations with your vendors can open doors to new products you haven’t even thought of yet based on customer and national trends.

     

    Know your audience

    Most online retailers have a “Best Sellers” category on their product pages that are updated as frequently as every hour, so bookmark a few with products that sell well in your store or in your competitors, then check back early and often for more targeted suggestions.

     

    Take suggestions

    Similarly, websites you frequent might also have “Customers who bought this item also bought” suggestions. Go down the rabbit hole of clicking various products to figure out how other retailers and consumers are navigating the same website. The same method can be used for “Related searches” on your preferred search engine.

     

    Read between the lines

    Chances are, you’re using the same computer to search for products as you are to check your social media accounts. Put all those targeted advertisements and sponsored posts to use, and start clicking on suggested products that pop up in your feed. Your searches will only become more refined from there.

     

    Trust the experts

    For better or worse, social media influencers have sway with their audiences. Find accounts worth following that align with your business’s values and products, and use them as a starting point to figure out which new products are coming out and what is getting the most response. Social media influencers are literally paid to stay on top of and ahead of product trends, so don’t discount their sponsored suggestions.

  • What Campaigns Should You Be Running To Get People In The Door?

    Retail stores should not rely on inventory alone to get customers in the door. Think outside the proverbial packaging box, and start a campaign that is low cost but high payoff. Whether getting customers in the door for the first or hundredth time, there’s a method to match your store’s financial and time budgets. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

    Social media

    Sure, you post new product photos and share in-store promotions, but if you aren’t truly engaging with your customers on your social media accounts, you’re missing an opportunity to take your relationship to the next level. Aside from replying to questions and comments, even in the form of a direct message, run contests featuring unique hashtags that require followers to share on their own pages. The prize can be something as simple as a seasonal item that will get them in the door wanting more.

     

    Email campaigns

    Without being obtrusive, email campaigns can give those who choose to sign up extra incentive to visit your store. A monthly email to subscribers can quickly include any special events, new product highlights, a coupon, and links to social media handles without clogging inboxes. Signing up for the newsletter can easily be done on your store’s website, at the cash register, and promoted via social media.

     

    Loyalty program

    Discounts work to draw customers in, but repeat visitors will come back time and time again if they are members of a loyalty program. Money off future purchases or even access to an exclusive event in store or online can often entice customers to return for a repeat visit. Make the reward worthwhile and easy to obtain to motivate customers to reach it, such as free lifetime shipping.


    Giveaways

    Everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s from their favorite retail store. Give customers incentive not only to set foot in the store, but also to sign up for your email newsletters or follow your social media accounts by entering them to win even the smallest of trinkets. Even if they didn’t need to be present to win, they’ll have to stop by to claim their prize, and regular contests will only help to identify both loyal followers and product trends.

     

    In-store events

    Partnering with a local yoga studio or restaurant for an in-store event can be hosted after business hours without interrupting regular business operations. The same can be said for special ladies nights that bring in a local maker to teach calligraphy or even a craft beer or wine tasting. It’s a win-win-win for you, your customers, and the business with whom you’ve partnered. Engaging your customers with your products while offering expertise and advice will only make them want to come back to learn (and buy) more.

     

    Charity drives

    Take advantage of organizations that already exist and align with your store’s mission by sponsoring a local event or donating to a worthy cause that will get your company name in front of current and potential customers. Host an annual food or clothing drive, then offer a discount to customers who bring items to donate. Not only will it get traffic in the door, but it will also start a conversation worth engaging in.

  • The Risk Of Bringing In A New Product, And Why It's Important To Take That Risk

    It can be equally exciting and overwhelming when looking to update your inventory with new products. The desire to support local makers can often be overrun with seemingly endless options that may fly off the shelves or fall flat.

    AfterShokz— Bone Conduction Headphones

     

    So when and why is it important to take that risk, and better yet, how? Here are some sample scenarios and suggestions worth considering when weighing the pros and cons of ordering new products:

     

    Stay ahead of competition

    Don’t wait until you see a new product in a competitor’s store to decide whether or not to carry it. Rather, be the store worthy of emulating. By regularly freshening up your inventory with what’s new, customers will begin to think of your store as the go-to spot for unique gifts, whether browsing for themselves or for others, even if they don’t know what they want before visiting.

     

    Keep displays fresh

    The point of sale begins with foot traffic, starting with your window and sidewalk displays. Giving new products prime real estate will draw the attention of both current and potential customers alike while also making regular passersby feel like there’s always something new and exciting happening in your store, which there is and will be.

     

    Attract new customers

    Don’t think of introducing new products as replacing old ones. Fill shelving and product line gaps with a small batch of trial-runs that could diversify your inventory and, in turn, your customer base. Then, put those social media channels to good use promoting any new attention-grabbing products and lines.

     

    Increase customer loyalty

    Just like customers have brand loyalty, they will come to develop maker loyalty, so adding new products from makers you already carry will attract the eyes of your not-to-be-overlooked existing customer base. Likewise, a trusted partnership can also pay off for the retailer, maker, and distributor when it comes to learning about new products.

     

    Fill in the blanks

    Even tried-and-true products can feel stale to regular customers if not supplemented with complementary merchandise. Don’t even hesitate to pick the brains of those who are buying the staples from your merchandise to figure out what else they are buying or looking for at your store and others.

     

    Create demand

    Sites like The Grommet add new products every week, making it exciting to check back to see what makers are adding to the line. Similarly, the more often you update your inventory, the more often customers will be drawn back to see what’s new so they don’t feel like they’re missing out.

  • How Do You Become A Brand, Not Just A Retail Store?

    These days, people don’t just buy products; they buy brands. But don’t mistake brand identity for brand loyalty. Brand loyalty has become much more than just a tag or logo; it’s a lifestyle.

     

    So how do you take your retail store to the next level? By getting your customers involved every step of the way, of course. Here’s how:

    Tell your story

    If you started a camping store because you once hiked the Appalachian Trail solo, then make that your brand’s narrative. You’ll create the impression that you’re much more committed and devoted than your competition, while also instilling trust in the brands you carry (as long as your employees are experts on these products, too).

     

    Focus on in-store experience

    Customers should want to come to your store, not dread it. In other words, it should be a destination worthy of emulating. A fashion boutique that mimics a luxurious walk-in closet or a home goods store that oozes abode envy only makes your customers want to re-create that experience at home (using all your products, of course).

     

    Create curb appeal

    Don’t underestimate the power of seasonal window displays with an unavoidable sandwich board for passersby. And even if it’s not an actual sidewalk sale, moving merchandise outside will make pedestrians slow down at the very least. What’s more, a bike shop with a tire pump out front and a pet store with water dishes for dogs will all but force potential customers to stop and stay a while.

     

    Host events

    Bringing potential and existing customers into your store on a regular basis can be as easy as hosting a running or yoga group at your athleisure store every week or as extensive as a monthly calligraphy course at your stationery store. Even go a step further and create your own or piggyback on an annual holiday (National Grilled Cheese Day, anyone?). Engaging your customers with your products while offering expertise and advice will only make them want to come back to learn (and buy) more.

     

    Give back

    A win-win for customers to learn more about your background and mission is to partner with a local charity. Host an annual food or clothing drive, then offer a discount to customers who bring items to donate. Not only will it get traffic in the door, but it will also start a conversation worth engaging in.

     

    Social media presence

    While there is something to be said about connecting with your customers offline, crafting a social media presence online can’t go unnoticed. Start a blog that doesn’t pitch your products but rather tells a story, then use your social media accounts to make followers feel like they are getting insight into new products and events. Also be sure to respond to comments and questions, good and bad alike.

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