A family wholesale business with a long tradition of success is embracing new technology with a completely redesigned website and back-end system. Under the direct guidance of president and owner Brad Siever, Eros Hosiery has rolled out a brand new online interface for its Web customers. "We've had a website for ten years now," says Siever, "and in March we unveiled our new site, eroswholesale.com. It took us a year to develop, and it's really taken off and has given us that extra edge in the marketplace."
The company has been in business for over 50 years. "We started in 1954, and I've been at the helm since 1983," says Siever. "We've become importers and wholesale distributors. We sell to stores all over the country; to retail stores-all different types-mom and pop, supermarkets, really anything that's out there." Siever explains that his business is far-reaching. "We're importers, and we get in on the latest crazes," he says. "But our basic business is importing socks, flip-flops, panty hose and winter items. We're pretty well diversified. We carry a lot of different merchandise, and we constantly add to that."
That variety of merchandise has kept the company safe over the years. "When one item is slow, another picks up. We can offer our customers a wide variety of merchandise, and they don't need to go shopping at a lot of different places," he says. Versatility is the most important part of the company's success, according to Siever. Along with, "Being able to understand the marketplace, changing with the times, giving the customers what they want." One thing that hasn't changed is the company's commitment to service. "That is the key-giving the customers what they want with great customer service. If you ask any one of our customers the reason they continually buy from us, the answer is customer service. We take care of our customers," says Siever.
And one thing that has changed is the Eros Hosiery website. "When it comes to websites and selling to retailers, you have to keep up with the times," says Siever. "Our old website was very one-dimensional. It only had one pricing structure. It didn't offer the tiers, it didn't offer as many products. Now there are a lot of new things on the site and it is simple to operate. It makes ordering easy. It gives our customers so many options."
Getting there was not a simple process, however. Siever had to work very closely with a programmer and a designer to revamp the website, and even then, he tossed out his first efforts and went back to the drawing board halfway through. "This is a 100 percent customized website that I designed myself over a year's time. Six months in I didn't like the way it was turning out, and I scrapped the whole website." His goals for the site were ambitious, and it took a while to hit the mark, but in the end Siever created a site that is easy to use, presents different pricing to different tiers of customers, and is easily updated. Now that it is done, Siever says, "Everything is right in front of you."
Siever coupled the new site rollout with an online marketing campaign. "Advertising is a big deal. My new site has grown 400 percent since I opened it. I'm reaching so many more people because they are seeing it out there. The search engines are noticing it, and they put it higher up." He also markets to established customers through email. "We do a constant contact email campaign to our customer base, and we offer specials. There are different incentives all the time." One of the biggest incentives offered by Eros Hosiery is flexibility in order size. "One of our main mottos is, 'Small quantities at wholesale prices,'" says Siever. "We break the cases so we can give our customers smaller quantities. We don't want our customers to have to order whole cases of everything. In a smaller store, they can't do that."
There is no need for a smaller retailer, a store manager, or a flea market vendor to order a large quantity of a single item. Retailers only have to pay for inventory they intend to sell soon. "They're paying a little more money for it," says Siever, "but it is a good price. We're wholesalers, so we gear toward selling wholesale," he says, "but anyone can come buy. We sell to any type of store that needs this type of merchandise: dollar stores, variety stores, supermarkets, little department chains. And we do a lot of wholesale to other distributors."
Sievers says that he also sells large quantities, even relabeling items. "Since we are importers, people will come to us and say, 'Hey, I need half a container of one of your items.' So we'll import for people, we'll do private labeling for them, and they gain the benefit of our pricing. We do a lot of business that way as well."
With a mix of innovative adaptations to customer needs and a long tradition of customer care, Eros Hosiery has managed to thrive in a competitive wholesale climate. "We've grown slowly, and we're reliable," says Siever. "We take good care of our customers."
Eros Hosiery Co.
6909 Rising Sun Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111
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