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Buyers Love Kelli's Gifts

Jan 1, 2009
by Judi Perkins

One of the many reasons Kelli's Gift Shop Suppliers is so successful is because Mike and Lori Cohen spent twenty years buying for their own 100 or so gift shops before they began selling to others. They learned what and where to buy, and what price points are effective for smaller gift shops. Now that they are supplying mom-and-pop gift shops around the country, their customers benefit from the Cohens' experience.

The Cohens still do the buying, and a third partner, President Randy Goldman, handles operations and sales. The Cohen's son, Justin, has also joined the company, and their daughter, Kelli, a senior in college, lends her name to the business.

Kelli's Gifts bill themselves as one stop shopping for gift shops, meaning, said Goldman, "We bring approximately 700 national and international vendors to our customers' doorsteps, and that gives them an incredible advantage." Kelli's buys directly from the vendors, and warehouses the merchandise at their home location in Carrollton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

"We deal with over 5,000 gift shops," said Goldman. "That includes hospital gift shops, mom-and-pop gift shops in local areas, and mom-and-pop pharmacies that have been in their respective towns forever." It also includes gift shops in casinos, hotels and airports. "But it is the independent gift shops that we really target," he said. "Many do not have space for stock or storage. We know that when they call us, they need it, so we typically ship within 24 hours. They do not have to buy a whole lot of anything, because they know we will ship it to them quickly."

Kelli's Gifts also has a very small minimum of $50, and customers are able to buy in single packs from almost the entire catalog. "We will break the case for them," said Goldman. "Although if something comes to us in a display, we may sell it that way, because it is an easier way for them to show it and easier for us to ship."

Buying in small quantities is also a great advantage for the gift shop that is not sure if it will like an item, or if it will sell. Combine that advantage with free freight on orders over $395 and a catalog that features 3,500 items, it becomes very easy to do business with Kelli's Gifts. And they want to make sure their customers succeed. "We tell our customers that if they want to know how well an item in our catalog is doing, we will tell them in two seconds. And we will not lie, because we are looking at these customers for the long haul," said Goldman. Even returns are easy. Goldman gives the example of a customer ordering six figurines and receiving one broken. "All we are going to do is apologize, and ask if we can please credit their account," he said.

Their website is easy to navigate, and done in bright kelly green with 15 category buttons on the left and a few specialty options below that, one of which is for requesting their print catalogs. Those requests go to Jan Hirsch, Web Manager, and she processes them promptly, sending back an email if a critical piece of information has been forgotten, or otherwise letting buyers know which sales rep will be calling. Hirsch said it is done very quickly. "We do not want them to wait. If someone took the time to complete the request form, it shoes that they are really interested, and we want to accommodate them as quickly as we can."

Another way that Kelli's Gifts has accommodated customers is by adding a Favorites option to their website, because customers asked for it. And at the request of customers, they upgraded the option to make it even more convenient to use. "When you see an item that you think you're going to buy again, you click on it, and say 'Add to Favorites.' Then, the next time you come shopping, all of those items are in one place," said Hirsch.

Even more convenient, however, is being able to replicate that first order with one click when you log back on. "It will send everything from that previous order into the cart, and then you can add or remove anything you wish. It is a fantastic time saver," said Hirsch.

On the top of the site is a clear, easy to find customer service button. "A lot of customers who order regularly will call and place their order on the telephone," said Goldman. He speculates this is because Kelli's follows what he calls the 'Business Golden Rule.' "We have always tried to treat our customers as we would like to be treated," he said.

The clearance button, also found at the top of the site, features items that will be discontinued from the catalog. Although their full line catalog comes out at year end, Kelli's introduces two supplements during the year, each of which has 300 to 400 new items. Said Hirsch, "As the supplements come out, we are typically getting rid of things from the full line that haven't done well, or that the manufacturer is getting rid of, so we always have items at 50 percent off."

She is prompt at putting new items on the site to ensure customers have access to everything available. "I have everything updated on the website before the new catalog is even in their hands," she said. "Everyday I run reports to find items that have been discontinued and are now gone. I pull them off so customers are not ordering things that are unavailable." Lest a customer become perplexed and wonder where that item went, a search yields a note saying that it is been discontinued and is no longer carried by Kelli's.

Lately Hirsch has been busy putting policies in place for newly acquired international customers. "We recently joined WholesaleCentral.com, and they are sending so many people to us. Previously, we had always shipped only within the U.S.," said Hirsch. "We love WholesaleCentral!"

She wants the international customers to love doing business with Kelli's as much as their U.S.-based customers do. "We really try to make it a good experience for them," said Hirsch. "I think one reason customers love us is because everything is so personal here." She's been there seven years, and the company is going on its ninth. "We have people who have been here sine the beginning. We have tremendous customer service, so customers love working with us."

Goldman echoes that. "It is amazing how many great relationships we have with these people. They love our customer service. We do not have a receptionist that answers our phone. Anyone who is available will take care of you. That's how we operate, and that's how we have grown."

Most importantly, Goldman wants potential customers to know, "They will love doing business with Kelli's!"

Minimum order: $50. Recommended mark up depends on item, category, and store location.

For more information:

Kelli's Gift Shop Suppliers
2125 Chenault Drive, Suite 101
Carrollton, TX 75006
Toll Free: 888-609-8860
Toll Free Fax: 888-609-8861
Website: www.kellisgifts.com

Topic: Company Profiles

Related Articles: gifts 

Article ID: 879

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