Don’t let your stock give your shop a shock!
As everyone knows to run a retail business you must have stock for your customers to buy, so getting started entails taking enough time and effort in researching your prospects and competitors to find out what is being sold, what is not being sold and what opportunities are there that will ensure a steady stream of customers buying from you.
Once you have found your particular niche product or commodity to sell, finding the right suppliers is another part of the planning.
What are their terms, how much do you have to buy initially and subsequently buy to keep your account open, will they remain faithful to you, or will they sell to a dozen other shops in the area? Do they have agents who will visit you in your shop? How quickly will they deliver each order? What are their payment terms? Will you have to pay pro-forma? (An upfront payment for your first order to build a credit history) Avoid companies that try to make you lock into automatic deliveries that cannot be cancelled or returned.
If you are in a sector where trends are slow to change, then this will be easier than if you are in the clothing or other ‘fashion’ sectors where new looks come and go every season and even within seasons with capsule collections.
This is your sourcing strategy and these and many other questions need to be answered that relate to each supplier you use.
Again stay ahead of the game by researching what is in now, how long will it stay in vogue and what is going to be coming in during the seasons ahead? Your suppliers may be able to help, with some inside information, also consider attending trade shows, they are great places to engage not only with wholesalers, but with manufacturers who are proudly displaying their new products.
Use your suppliers as your stock room
One of the best secrets to managing your stock levels is – “Don’t get carried away!”
This applies especially at trade shows (where drink may be flowing freely and a warm bonhomie settles in), and when you are in the presence of a great sale person.
More shops have got into financial trouble by buying much too much stock. So if you can get quick delivery and fresh new stock regularly then consider that rather than committing all your funds on excessive stock levels.
Keep stock at a healthy level to make your shop look full and interesting, have enough of hot and regular lines but top up when needed.
Remember less can be more, plus this can help you avoid excessive clearance sales!!