Inventory. For some the word is spoken with dread. Having a meeting with a retail buyer to discuss how you are going to move stock or come up with a solution to promote and clear your stock is not always high on your agenda. Unfortunately, there will always be slow moving products in your range. Some products will naturally sell better than others, however for the purpose of offering a complete regime of products you may need to consider retaining these products in your range. You need to think about how you are going to manage your stock levels.
Put yourself in the retailer’s shoes and remember that a buyer’s success is measured on financial results, so don’t take this personally. And think about your brand and your success and how you are going to drive sales. This then becomes a win-win conversation where both parties’ needs are met.
Come to a meeting with solutions, the conversation is going to centre around moving stock at an agreeable price. It is a collaborative conversation where the end objective is to deliver sales and margins. So, work on how this can be achieved. Monitor your sales and see where you have slow moving lines and think of solutions as to how you can help to clear these products. Remember if you are not coming up with solutions, why would a retailer continue to buy from you?
Whilst some products sell very well in certain retailers, due to differing customer demographics these same products won’t perform equally well in other retail stores. Whatever you do, don’t wait until it’s too late to act. Being proactive demonstrates that you are invested in the retailer relationship. By looking at your sales results each week, you should understand when you’re executing below your targets and be prepared to intervene before you reach this point.
Retail has been challenging over the past few years with online retail and direct-to-consumer business models changing the retail landscape. Buyers are risk-averse, and to avoid poor results they rely on suppliers to provide opportunities and examples to mitigate risks. If you think discussing stock is a once-a-year thing, you’ve already lost the picture. Successful brands treat meetings with buyers as an opportunity to build an on-going relationship. They take advantage of buyer meetings to demonstrate value and to bring challenges to the table proactively.
The best suppliers can be critical and concise on how targets were met or missed and transparent on the performance of their brand. They communicate well before supplier meetings and keep buyers posted on opportunities. Their recommendations are supported with point-of-sale and market data whenever possible.
Buyers want to believe in your pricing strategy and promotional ideas, but they need to trust that your insights are supported by data. Your retailers want you to come prepared with data – after all they’re sharing sell-through data in the first place – and buyers expect you to bring forth new ideas on how to grow sales and improve margins. So, the easier you make decisions and the more data backed they are, the better your conversations will proceed.
Successful brands are proactive and look at the long-term results treating reviews as an ongoing process. Being proactive and invested in commercial results shows commitment to the partnership, this is after all a relationship that serves both parties interests.
Do you need support with managing your inventory and planning your product strategy? Get in touch to discuss how we can work with you.
‘Through Janet’s management skills, expertise and proven track record on the job she successfully managed the purchasing of our retail operations and ensured the integrity of our brands in-stores. Her enthusiasm and total dedication, delivered results in any project she was involved in.’
‘Janet is one of the best people I have ever worked with in my career. She fully understands the whole process of product development, supply chain and marketing. Janet has in-depth experience of toiletries and international retailing. I would recommend her to any company or client.’
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‘Janet has a wealth of experience across retail, buying and marketing. She conducted a full strategic review of our cross functional business and the travel retail market to develop a comprehensive buying and quality control strategy that was signed off at board level. I highly recommend her as an asset to any business.’
‘Janet is extremely professional, knowledgeable and thorough, an expert of her field. This shone through from our first conversation, which instinctively led me to want to work with Bespoke Advantage. As a new skincare brand the expertise of Bespoke Advantage has been invaluable.’
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‘It’s been inspirational working with Janet. We are in the process of launching a skincare brand however have received conflicting opinions from so many people we were really confused. I am so impressed by Janet’s knowledge and experience in product development, marketing and retail and the way she explains everything so clearly. She is very motivating and positive, and so much fun to work with. I have much more clarity and confidence in how to move things forward.’
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