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Keeping Your Shelves Fresh- 3 Ways Independent Retailers Can Source Better Products

Posted on February 23, 2018 by Cassandra Smallman

Keeping Your Shelves Fresh- 3 Ways Independent Retailers Can Source Better Products

The retail industry has never been more competitive. With pressure from big box stores with low margins and online retailers with low overhead, independent retailers need to find a way to stand out and capture a portion of the market. Providing customers access to unique or high-quality products is one of the best ways to capture and retain their share. To purchase and stock those products you first need to source them. There are so many wholesale suppliers out there, knowing your options and making an informed decision based on those options is very important when sourcing products.

Learn more about stay competitive 

Getting To Know Customer Trends Through Better Research

The Internet is where your customers go to find inspiration for their next project. Whether they’re looking for a simple planter or planning to re-landscape their yard, they start online and so should you. The products on your shelves should speak to your customers’ wants and needs. When you begin product sourcing, research is required to establish what those wants and needs are.

When researching trends, retailers should:

  1. Look online. Consider sites like Pinterest and Houzz for what is trending. Customers often begin their purchasing journey online by looking for inspiration.
  2. Review Your Sales. Review your sales from last year and make a note of what products performed better than expected and what products didn’t. There may be an underlying pattern that can reveal new inventory opportunities.
  3. Ask Your Customers. Open up a dialogue with your customers, Whether in person or through a marketing campaign, ask your customers what they love and what they don’t.

Being ahead of trends is essential to staying competitive. You want to make sure the trends you are setting speak to your customers. Once you have a good handle on what new products will get customers into your store, then you can start sourcing those products.

Getting The Most out of Tradeshows

Trade shows are the most popular way to source and buy the product in the world of independent retail. However, sourcing all your products at the same trade shows can limit the variety and quality of products in your inventory. Trade shows are declining because ROI is not there for the wholesalers, which directly impacts the variety of products available to the attendees. It is essential to get the value of attending a tradeshow without wasting time.

When attending a trade show make sure you have already determined:

  1. What your stock is going to look like
  2. Which supplier you need to see for regular stock
  3. What new products you are looking to source and which supplier might carry them

Trade shows are no longer the only place to source product so applying these strategies when attending a trade show will limit the number of unplanned inventory purchases you make. Attending a new trade show once in a while is also another way to find new products. Stepping out of the industry comfort zone is a good strategy.

Finding New Wholesale Suppliers Online

Just like any other business, wholesalers are online. Researching for new wholesale suppliers online is a simple way to review potential options. However, if you don’t know their business name researching can get more difficult. Industry associations offer retailers lists of the wholesaler, but they don’t provide you information concerning the product they sell. Accessing wholesaler product information is difficult, but there are online solutions available.

Networked wholesale marketplaces like OrderEase offer retailers direct access to hundred of wholesaler and their products.  OrderEase's network of hundreds of wholesale suppliers provides retailers with a single place to source and order directly from the all their wholesaler suppliers online.

Browsing your options online may also reveal an entirely new niche of products. Not all suppliers attend trades show, so doing your research can significantly benefit your business. You never know, there could be a great local manufacturer of artisan home decor right in your backyard and these are the opportunities you don’t want to miss out on. So spend a little time online.You might just find that missing piece to next seasons collection.

   
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