One of the basic tenets of retailing is that you can’t sell from an empty cart. In order to be successful, we need merchandise. And we need merchandise that is the right goods at the right price, delivered at the right time.   Here are ten ways that a vendor can earn the “Best of the Best” designation in our store, or with any independent retailer:

  1. Make sure your merchandise is of consistently high quality, and tested for safety.  Country of origin and worker conditions matter to us, so American-made and/or fair trade is a plus.
  2. Price your goods in such a way that we can sell them profitably. Don’t set a wholesale price at $10.50, for example, which pushes the retail price point over $20.  We love items that are $4.50 or $4.75, since we can take more than keystone markup and still be under $10.
  3. Sell your merchandise to independents at the same price that you sell it to larger stores.  Know that if you sell the same goods to our store and to discounters, we will give preference to other sources.
  4. Deliver on time and complete — and if you can’t, stay in touch about when back orders are expected to arrive.
  5. Watch out for freight costs if we’re paying the bill, especially high freight charges on small backorders. Free freight is always a welcome perk.
  6. Refresh your line constantly.  We are speaking on behalf of our customers when we ask “What’s new?”
  7. Hire, train and maintain a sales force that includes reps who will call on us regularly with printed literatures and a few samples of the latest merchandise.  And if we place a reorder at a show, or directly to you, make sure our rep gets credit.
  8. Provide images and stories we can share in social media in order to promote your products. A photo showing an entire range doesn’t work, since we may not have ordered all the items in the photo. A “beauty shot” with the product shown in use is great.
  9. If staff training will help your line sell better, offer to come do a seminar for our employees, and send along a small gift/sample for everyone who attends.
  10. Ask our opinion about your line! We are constantly hearing customer comments about your products, and your competitors’, and we’re happy to share our thoughts.

A successful vendor makes for a successful retailer, and vice versa. Please feel free to share this with your suppliers so that we can all experience greater success.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder