Become a Successful Wholesale Seller - Top Sellers' Secrets part 5: Catering to Independents
Despite the recent downturn in fortunes throughout the retail industry, the independent market is still going strong, and more and more retail customers are supporting their local high-street stores rather than going to the big department stores. It's not only about shopping local (although this clearly plays a part in these more socially conscious times) – independent boutiques are often more attractive to consumers because by buying local they're less likely to end up wearing the same mass-produced style as everyone else on the highstreet.
Every wholesaler wants to bag a major retail client, but it's often the smaller independent retailers that make up the bulk of our potential audience. Around 80% of TradeGala buyers are independent and boutique style stores looking for in-season orders and fast turnaround. But how can your brand appeal to these independent buyers? To understand this it's important to understand how independents plan their purchasing. They're on the front line of the highstreet, often talking directly to their customers and seeing what works and what doesn't. They're willing and able to try new brands and new styles, but they want to be able to respond quickly to trends and minimise risk. What does this mean for you?
Fast lead times
The shorter your lead time from order to delivery the more attractive your products will be to potential buyers. Forward ordering may work with long-established brands, but when looking to reach new clients you will need a fast turnaround, ideally 1-2 working days. The secret to fast lead times is often as simple as streamlining your processes. Having a well-organised system from receipt of order, through picking, packing and shipping can help you reduce shipping times, reduce costs, and increase sales. Your published lead-times should be attractive, but realistic - it's always better to leave your customer pleasantly surprised that you shipped early than to make them wait.
Single pieces or Small pack sizes
Traditionally the wholesale fashion industry only sold products in size-complete packs, often of 10 items or more. But this system can mean too heavy an investment for independent stores, particularly when they are looking to trial new brands or styles. Indeed, according to feedback from TradeGala buyers, they are more likely to buy from a brand if they have the option to buy single pieces to begin with and may later move to buying packs when they have trialled the products with their customers. So perhaps it's time for wholesalers to offer more flexibility in their product offerings? When our sister company, occasion wear wholesale brand, City Goddess made the move to offering the option to buy single pieces at a slightly increased rate (10% over the pack price) they saw a three-fold increase in sales over the following year alone, and have since never looked back.
The TradeGala platform is set up so that you can automatically allocate all or part of your stock to sell in single pieces (adding a 10% mark-up to these if sold alongside packs). It may mean you need to reorganise your stock allocation and does involve a little more manual picking, however the 10% mark-up should help to cover any extra costs. If you're new to selling single pieces, why not test a few products to begin with? You can then make an educated decision based on the buyer response and the benefits or cost to your business.
To entice customers into their store on a regular basis, independents know that they need to be offering new and interesting items to attract the crowds. In the same way, regular stock updates from your brand will keep your buyers coming back for more. Why not try pacing your stock releases over a couple of months, with a selection of items each time? Keeping your store fresh and relevant is what keeps buyers coming back for more.
Reach more international buyers and increase your wholesale prospects- register to sell on TradeGala for free today!
Read the rest of our Seller Success blogs:
Written by: Amber Domenech Patey