With over 25 years' experience, Kole Imports knows the preferences of today's frugal retailers, and their equally cost-conscious customers. It is Kole Imports' ability to source great products, come up with new ideas, and prepare for a long and successful future with its buyers that has made the company a leader in the wholesale and closeout industry. Credit must also be given to the buyers who have taken the time to learn the "Dos" and "Don'ts" of wholesale merchandise purchasing, and to those who have investigated and invested in the right wholesale suppliers like Kole Imports.
The retailer is the first step in the wholesale merchandise buying process, and is confronted with three major stages during this process: Identify, Research and Sell. A retailer's responsibility is to first identify and understand their target market, and build an inventory that will suit this market's needs best. Being different and offering one-of-a-kind merchandise is a top priority for creating a successful retail market. "If you're selling the exact same thing as the other stores in your area, customers have little incentive to come to your store instead of someone else's," says Jason Kole, VP of Kole's business development. "Stock the staple items all customers need, but also make some effort to find unique and interesting items they won't find anywhere else." Annual occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and the holiday shopping season leave many consumers continually brainstorming for new gift ideas. People love gadgets and gimmicks, and things they have never seen before, so make sure you include some of these items in your product mix.
Offering some unique closeout items each month along with the regular merchandise typically carried can keep customers coming back to see what's new. Closeout merchandise can be good or bad, depending on the desirability of the item and the wholesale price. "Remember, it's about knowing your market," explains Kole. "A closeout is only a great deal if you will be able to easily sell the items to your customers." Closeouts can be made relevant, but still unique and interesting, by including some seasonal items related to the time of year, weather, upcoming holidays, and even local sports team seasons. These factors will help the items to sell themselves. Some examples are Christmas decorations, NFL car air fresheners, and warm gloves in the winter. If it is cheap, useful, and related to what is going on in the customer's life, they will buy it.
Once a retailer knows what buyers are looking for, the logical step is to find out where they can purchase it, taking into consideration not only price and quality, but things like customer service, specials, shipping and more. As Kole would recommend to any buyer, even those who consider working with Kole Imports, "Do a little research before ordering from anyone, no matter how nice their website looks. Search online and look to see if there are any complaints about the company," he says. The Better Business Bureau is a good place to check a company's history and reputation. Companies with a rating of A or A+ are the ones to look for. Interested buyers should also call and talk to an actual person at the company, in order to get a feel for how the business operates, and to assure that they are a legitimate supplier. "So many transactions these days are handled without any conversation between actual people, but it is important to add this to your checklist. If you want to build a good relationship with a wholesale supplier, talk to them," adds Kole.
Finding the right closeout supplier is vital to a retailer's success. Kole Imports receives hundreds of closeouts every week, and always has something new and different at a great price. Many of Kole's closeouts are priced low enough to be retailed in a dollar store, though many would sell well at $1.99 or more. With closeout items in 44 different categories, it is wholesale and closeout suppliers like Kole Imports that can help boost profits.
Just as crucial as identifying a target market and researching a wholesale and closeout supplier, is the step in the wholesale buying process in which a retailer decides on an inventory stocking and selling method. "Consider how you will sell the merchandise," notes Kole. "If you're selling it in person, you'll need enough space to store backstock, and enough floor space to display it. If you are wholesaling it online, you may want to consider drop shipping." Retailers who are receiving inventory and keeping a stock are well advised to understand what the cost of shipping will be for the items ordered, before agreeing to have them directly shipped. Drop shipping may be a better method, allowing retailers to add items to their stores without needing to store the merchandise, as the drop shipping company will blind ship the items to the customer, with the retailer collecting payment. This allows online retailers to increase the number of items available in their stores, without any additional expenses. Kole Imports has such a program, which makes it possible for retailers to sell orders online without ever handling the merchandise. They upload the item information to your website, make the sale, and Kole Imports ships the merchandise to the buyer's customer.
Smart decisions in each stage of the merchandise buying process will save a retailer the heartache of low profits, excess inventory and unhappy customers. Understanding the target customer base and then building a reliable partnership with the right wholesale and closeout suppliers can do nothing but help the bottom line and lead to retail success.
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