What is a Line Sheet? (And How to Make One for Your Wholesale Business)
For newcomers to wholesale, learning the lingo can be hard. You may have heard of something called a “line sheet,” and been told that you need one. But what is a line sheet, exactly? In certain industries like fashion, line sheets are necessary when interacting with current and potential buyers. While we can’t create a wholesale line sheet for you, we can provide some great tips on how to make one, and shed some light on why they may be important for your business.
What is a line sheet?
Let’s start with the basics. Think of a line sheet as a shorthand catalog. It is a document that should provide buyers with the necessary information to make a purchase. The difference between a catalog and line sheet is that the line sheet is a more bare bones document––it’s all about practical information, without room for long descriptions or lifestyle imagery. You want simple, professional, color photos of your products with a neutral background. Limit your text to details pertinent to the ordering process. The line sheet should only be a page or two long (which is why they only make sense for certain industries, like gift and fashion). Keep in mind that you will be placing product photos next to each other on the sheet, (hence the term “line sheet”) so be consistent in angle, size, and lighting when taking photos to ensure your line sheet looks professional.
How do I make an effective wholesale line sheet?
Luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are lots of online tools that can help you create a variety of line sheets that you can individualize for your business. Check out Trunkt and Linesheet Maker. Once you have a good-looking line sheet, it’s smart to have it available on your website. Depending on your layout, you want to put relevant information below or beside your photo. This isn’t the place for marketing jargon; keep the text purely informational. This should include:
- Name of the product
- SKU or Item number
- The wholesale price (expressed as “each”)
- The suggested retail price
- Order minimums and any variants (size, color etc.).
How to make line sheets that work for your wholesale business.
There is a little room for creativity when creating a line sheet. If you have a best-selling product or a new product that you want to promote, showcase those products at the top. This is a great way to lead your buyers by the hand, particularly if they are already are familiar with your brand. You can customize your wholesale line sheet to each customer. This doesn’t mean starting from scratch, but rather including additional information or repositioning your products in a way that caters to the client. For example, if you have seasonal products, place the most relevant items at the top, or point to your in-season products with banners. You can create line sheets with products that are relevant to some customers, while leaving off products that aren’t. A detailed approach like this may take some extra effort, but it keeps your line sheets clean, concise, easily readable and relevant for each customer. When you are creating the layout, have a logical plan for organizing your products. Don’t just jam them on the sheet in alphabetical order (you could if that makes sense for your product) but think a few steps further. Can you divide your product into categories? If you are selling clothing, does it make sense to differentiate between men’s and women’s lines? Or should you categorize your products by make and model? Look at sample line sheets and get an idea of the kind of categories that are used in your industry.
What details are important on a wholesale line sheet?
Now that you have the layout and basics down, you want to move onto equally important details. Make sure your line sheet includes details about your payment terms. Does your customer have to pay upfront before you dispatch the goods? Do you give them 30 days to pay? Do you offer Net 60 terms? (This can be a good incentive. We’ll get to more of those below). You also want to be sure to include shipping information. What shipping method do you use, and what is the timeline? What is your carriage-paid level? (This means if a shop orders over a certain number of your choosing, you will cover the shipping cost.) If the order is below that number, what are the estimated shipping costs? What is your refund, return or cancellation policy? What happens if your customer cancels their order within a certain window? Or if the order arrives damaged? You want to outline terms for each scenario.
What else can I do to stand out?
Offer incentives to your customers that mitigate their risk and encourage them to buy from you. We don’t mean “buy one get one,” but you could offer things like exclusivity. Meaning, you will agree not to sell to competitors within a certain geographical area. Or if something doesn’t sell within a designated window, you could offer to take it back or exchange it for something else. If you’ve reached the point where you have a polished and professional line sheet, first off, congratulations! You are one step closer to selling your products wholesale. Before you head out the door to approach potential customers, take a moment to consult our checklist to ensure your line sheet contains the necessary details to make a stellar first impression.
Line Sheet Checklist:
- Logo is clearly visible
- Text is minimal; font is consistent
- Contact information is accurate and easy to find
- You’ve included payment terms and shipping details
- If you have tweaked your line sheet to your customer, double check that the products you’re presenting are relevant to them. Nothing makes you look more unprofessional or out of touch with your customer’s business than presenting irrelevant products.
Do you have tips for creating a killer line sheet? Or perhaps you’ve created a checklist of your own. We’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments!