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Tips On How To Create Effective Line Sheets

There are many roles a store owner has and likewise, there are many roles a designer or wholesaler has. Surprisingly, one of the roles that overlap is their use of line sheets. Though their purposes are different when using them, their desire to have effective line sheets are typically the same.Both retailers and wholesalers benefit when using effective line sheets. Unfortunately, not all line sheets are created equally and as a result, many retailers and wholesalers struggle to review them, often resulting in decreased sales, poor marketing presentation and time wasted.

Based on countless conversations with successful retailers and wholesalers, their top three line sheet must haves are:

1. Line Sheets should be visually appealing, making them easier to read.

2. Line Sheets must offer  detailed information in a concise format.

3. Line Sheets should have great images, preferably floating without lifestyle details getting in the way of product.

Visual Appeal

Line sheets can be a cluttered mess. There is a lot of information to sort through and images to match, so formatting these details can be overwhelming both mentally and visually. But visually, it’s an absolute must to get this format clean and crisp in appearance. Horizontal versus vertical formatting is used less, though both offer the opportunity to be effective. The key is to be consistent in what details you offer per product, how you format these details, and the size / layout of the image included. Make sure to use matching fonts and font sizes, as well. Typically, three items in one row on a horizontal page is good to go. Based on your image size, you can likely get at least nine items on one page. Sometime more, sometimes less. This said, every product has unique circumstances so create a few options to determine what visually looks best for your business. And always remember who your audience is – retail buyers.

Details Matter

Without effective details, the visual layout means nothing. What to incorporate into the visual layout are necessary details that wholesalers and retailers alike need to know. This includes, but it not limited to, your product name, wholesale price, retail price, availability, size options, color options, style options and case pack details. Remember that every product and every business is unique, so your line sheet must represent these unique features for everyone to feel as if they have been communicated with effectively.

Image Impressions

First impressions leave lasting impressions. This isn’t a  surprise to anyone. Yet surprisingly enough, line sheet images aren’t always that great… though they should  be. The images you use in your line sheets are often the first time a buyer has seen the product, so make sure the images look good. No – correction – make sure they look amazing.

Floating images, where the product is the only image and has no background to blend with it, are typically the best received image from a buyer’s perspective. This is because it allows the buyer to really see the image without other things getting in the way. Often a front and back view of your product are necessary in communicating your product details effectively. In addition, make sure they are strong in color. Black font is okay, but your product images should always be in color. If this isn’t your forte, hiring a photographer may be a good idea.

Lifestyle images do wonders in creating an overall image for products and brands. But lifestyle images aren’t best suited for line sheets. Instead, use them on your cover page, throughout other areas of your buyers packet and in various other marketing materials.

An effective line sheet will take time to prepare but if done correctly, will save you time later. Updates and changes from season to season will be easier to insert as you move forward, so really it’s just that first time that can be daunting. The time invested will be rewarded with appreciation from retailers and with the right product, sales as well.

Have other tips on how to create a great line sheet? Let us know! Please leave comments below.

Need help on your line sheet? Retail Minded offers customized creation of line sheets and editing of your own line sheets, as well. Complete Buyer’s Packet creations are available, also. Contact nicole@retailminded.com for more information.

Comments

  • Alison
    April 18, 2011

    Great article Nicole..thank you !

    I’ve formatted mine as 4 across, and it works well for my artwork since I tend to create my images in pairs. Also, I use a bullet point format to make it quick and easy for retailers to read.

    Thanks for all the great info you share on your site.

    Alison
    Burnish & Brush Art Studio

  • Isabelle
    May 9, 2011

    I am working on a line sheet right now!! Hoping my new light tent arrives today so I can start shooting some new photos.

    Just discovered your site through Twitter. Thanks so much for the info!

    Isabelle
    VZWraps Reusable Fabric Gift Bags

    • Nicole Reyhle
      May 16, 2011

      Isabelle,

      Glad you found the site. Wishing you much success!

      Nicole, Retail Minded

  • Lisa
    September 16, 2011

    Timing is everything – and I found your site just in time! Been sending out emails to buyers, but was woefully unaware of how to follow up.

    Thanks for posting current info

  • Susanne
    November 15, 2013

    Hi – what program do you recommend to create a line sheet? I have used Excel and Word (with table). Because of the pictures, it’s been cumbersome to add, delete, change items without having to do lots of reformatting on the Word table. Maybe I’m not proficient enough in Word…maybe I can “lock” the tables? I’m guessing that there is a line sheet program others use. I’m new to the business and appreciate any suggestions.

  • Susanne
    November 15, 2013

    I guess I shouldn’t be doing emails late at night…just reading you sell line sheet templates! I will read more about it tomorrow. thank you!

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