Your business depends on your retail supplies. This correlation must be at the forefront of your mind when making a decision as to who to work with. Your reputation depends on their reputation, so they have to deserve — and earn — your absolute confidence. Retail supplies are the lifeblood of all stores, on the corner or multinational, and may well be the difference between your venture thriving or just surviving.
Consider some of the following:
Inventory and Interaction
Demand a huge retail supplies catalog; variety will keep your customers coming back. A typical, 500-plus-page retail supplies catalog contains upwards of 30,000 products. Knowledgeable customer service representatives are another must. 24/7/365, they must be available to assist you by phone, fax or online.
Not only must you get what you need, it must materialize when you need it. Those 30,000 products should all should be ready to ship instantly they’re ordered (although it’s not unreasonable 6 PM cutoffs be specified). If two potential retail supplies guys seem like-for-like, pick the one who’ll ship at the lowest cost.
Suppliers must be able to accurately estimate product delivery times, and constantly meet or beat those estimates. Multiple supply-chain locations are often the key to speedy response, as well as minimized freight costs.
What you buy, your customers buy. The quality of your retail supplies must meet or exceed that upon which you would wish to build a reputation in your community. But, you have to make a profit, and you have local competition. If two retailer supplies providers tie for your affections, chose the one who offers the finest products at the most competitive price.
A guarantee of satisfaction tells you two things: (a) our own exposure — your risk of financial loss — is minimal, because (b) the retail supplies provider believes in the product. Goods should be guaranteed for a full 30 days. If two retailers offer the same deal, chose the one who offers no-hassle refunds rather than purchase credits.
Most of the massive chain store operations that appeared in the twentieth century had one thing in common: convenience. Time really is money when you’re setting up a trading venture. ‘Little and often’ usually makes more money than selling a few high-ticket items per week or per year. The more customers you satisfy, the better your bottom line, and your reputation.
Can your prospective retail supplies guys answer different trading requirements at different times of the year, without locking you into unprofitable year-round contracts that suck up space, drain enthusiasm and minimize profit made from better sellers? Will they provide wine, for instance, and specialty fixtures for floral displays, or chocolates, around Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, then promptly remove them, replacing the lines with gift wrap and packaging supplies for Easter and Christmas?
Your retail supplier must believe in your business the way you do, and act accordingly. They should be able to answer the requirements of every aspect of your business, from setting up your space to helping your customers walk out the door without dropping their purchases. A retailer who subscribes to this philosophy will offer:
• Closeout offers you can’t pass on
• Display equipment (easels, risers, platforms, pedestals, showcases, mannequins)
• Gift baskets, boxes and bags, seasonal wrap, ribbon and bows
• Fixtures (tables, shelving, grid and peg fixtures to make the most of your wall space, head-turning accessories)
• Label guns and labels
• Literature (including fixtures and holders)
• Loss prevention equipment
• Product bins and baskets
• Signage and sign holders (shelf edge, countertop, outdoor, offer boards)
Author’s Bio: This guest post is written by Kevin Dunnsfield, who specializes in writing about Retail Businesses. Readers can find more information at WR Display and Packaging, which is a trusted and credible provider of retail supplies.