The Value of Variety
by guest columnist Rob Kole, President, Kole Imports Inc.
Variety is the spice of life. William Cowper first shared this profound thought with the world nearly 250 years ago. We believe he was correct then, and is still correct now. Not only can the quality of one's life be measured by its variety, likewise we believe that as suppliers of general merchandise, the job we are doing can often be measured by the variety we offer our customers.
A decade ago in 1997, Kole Imports carried 1,800 items in our product line. It has taken a lot of effort, but we are proud to say that our variety has grown to over 4,000 items, and is still growing. We have become accustomed to stepping over boxes of samples to get to our desks, and having the carpet in the office covered with everything from jump ropes to jumper cables. We review hundreds of new items offered to us each week, and only the top 2 percent make it into our line and onto our website at www.koleimports.com, for sale to our customers.
In addition to looking for items from new suppliers, Kole Imports also offers a wide variety of great closeouts at super low prices, with new closeouts arriving weekly. We're always looking to buy closeouts, if the items fit the criteria of looking good and providing good value to the customer. We used to mix closeout items in with similar merchandise on www.koleimports.com, but with so many now available, we've created a separate closeout category on our site. These are one time deals that sell fast.
The hardest part of adding new items has been staying focused on finding "winners" that will jump off our customers' shelves, rather than simply finding "filler" items. That is why we constantly remind ourselves and our buying team that we want not just great variety, but a, "variety of values," which will result in a quick sell through and fast reorders from our customers. Providing customers with variety is our responsibility, and we take it very seriously. Kole Imports believes that you as a store owner clearly have the same obligation to your customers, and we feel good about helping you fulfill that responsibility. We are delighted whenever customers compliment us concerning our selection of new items.
Most retailers have a number of customers who regularly visit their stores. It is clearly in your best interest to keep new and exciting items regularly arriving into your stores. This accomplishes two things. New items sell well, so you will often see an initial rush of sales when a new item arrives. But maybe more importantly, you will keep your store fresh looking and interesting for your customers, which either consciously or subconsciously will encourage them to visit your store more often. If people come to your store regularly to see what's new, looking for bargains, and they find a great deal of something new, they are more likely to return to shop again.
Please feel free to contact Kole Imports anytime with your questions or suggestions. We welcome your thoughts. We will continue to look for new and exciting ways to continue to be, "Your Profit Source," and we are always looking for new values to offer our customers.
Rob Kole, President
24600 South Main Street
Carson, CA 90745
Tel.: 800-874-7766 or 310-834-0004
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