November 12, 2018
When you are running a retail business of any sort, having the right suppliers is just as important as having the customers to sell to. You do not want to be overcharged, as that will increase the price you have to sell at. You do not want to be concerned about delivery dates, as letting customers down will lose them quicker than anything. You do not want to buy from a supplier where you cannot trust the quality of the goods, as this will not reflect well on your business.
You are the middleman between your supplier and your customer, but all anyone buying will be concerned about is that is you that sold them a defective product, three days later than you told them it would arrive, at an inflated price.
You need to put buying procedure in place to prevent this from happening, and here are a few tips that might help.
You are the customer of your supplier and always remember that it is you giving them business, not the other way round. You have the upper hand, as just like you, with no customers they have no business.
Research other suppliers for the products you sell and make sure your current supplier knows you are looking elsewhere. It can be surprising how the thought of losing a good customer can concentrate the mind, and you may suddenly find that you are offered a better deal.
Do not let make you feel as though they are doing you a favour by selling to you. If you do not buy their goods they good remain unsold for a long time and it is you doing them the favour by buying from them.
Get as close to the makers as you can. Every business your product passes through will be expecting to make a profit on the sale. If there are several of these before it reaches you that could increase the price considerably. In fact, if you are able to buy directly from the maker that would be even better, although they usually only sell to businesses who buy large amounts.
It is really a case of doing the math’s and working out how quickly you could sell a large batch.
Don’t buy in bulk unless you are sure the items will sell. This can be a big mistake and badly affect the cash flow of your business. It is great to get the goods a cheaply as you can, but sometimes you have to pay a little extra to be able to purchase a smaller amount.
What has become more popular in the UK is for several businesses to band together to make a purchase.They take a container delivery straight from the makers, split the goods between them and all benefit from having bought at a lower price. There are some general products this works really well for, but it might not be appropriate if you sell unique items.
Sourcing your products correctly is a vital aspect of your business. It is great if you can build a relationship with your suppliers, as they are then more likely to take care of your prices and orders. You may never be their biggest customer, but a little friendliness can go a long way towards making you their favourite one.
If you have a problem with any goods they supply, deal with it in a professional manner but keep it friendly at the same time. They will remember that and if any special deals come up, you will be one of the first they contact.
They should know all the information you may need about the products they are selling. Ask them a few probing questions and you will soon find out how much or how little they know. If they show a level of expertise you will be able to learn from them and become more knowledgeable about the products yourself. This will look better when your customers ask you any questions.
The advent of online business has made this even more important. Competition is fierce and one way to achieve success is by providing an excellent customer service. Part of that is answering any questions your customers have with confidence.
How would your business cope if your main supplier suddenly went bankrupt and stopped trading at a moments notice? Not being able to get the products you sell could affect your sales, and ultimately your business would suffer as well. It is crucial to have a plan in place so that if your suppliers go bust they do not drag you with them.
Trade shows are a great way to find other suppliers, and they are all there to sell you their wares. The suppliers are all there to sell, and they want to speak to as many potential customers as they can. Have a chat to them and see if they can do you a better deal than you already have. They will have paid quite a lot of money for a stand at a trade show and will not want to leave with no new customers. You could be one of them.
Product Sourcing Has Changed
The Internet has totally changed the way products are sourced. This is not as much as things have changed for consumers though. Suppliers and their customers are still likely to talk to one another, much more so than the end users who order from online stores.
There is software available that can help with sourcing products, but the wholesale trade has tended to resist this. They may have automated their warehouses, but their customers they still like to deal with on a personal basis.
You may find some of these tips useful when you are dealing with your suppliers but you need to realise that one size does not fit all, and you will have to be flexible and adjust your sourcing strategy to suit your business.
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