Tips for showroom sourcing: Try before you buy
Though unconventional, visiting a showroom to source new products for your business has many advantages. First and foremost is, of course, the opportunity to see the product 'in the flesh' before committing to a hefty payment. Utilizing a showroom also gives you the chance to find goods with a better price point, as well as new and potentially innovative products. Of course, it is important with any purchasing method to undertake sufficient preparation in order to better understand the process and to know what to expect. With this in mind, below are some helpful tips for those wishing to embark on a journey into showroom sourcing.
Make a plan
Doing your homework before visiting a showroom is the key to coming away with the best deal. Ensure that you examine all your business-related figures and sales targets beforehand, and at least carry out a preliminary competitor analysis, so you will know exactly what you need from your chosen suppliers. Have a rough idea in regard to the quantities of supplies that your business requires and the number of suppliers whom you ultimately want to work with. This is all vital homework that, at minimum, you should have thought about beforehand.
If you are seeking to add new products to your store, it is obviously important to conduct thorough market research so that you have a clear grasp of exactly what types of product appeal to your locale, industry, and target market. Whilst it is undeniably important for buyers to assign themselves a fairly strict budget in order to avoid bad 'impulse' buys that could ultimately leave them out-of-pocket, buyers must also keep in mind that a flexible budget-oriented approach can also be beneficial. Providing that they keep their eyes firmly fixed on their core business objectives, it is often acceptable to accommodate alternative pricing arrangements in order to integrate the best deals for their business.
Don't be afraid of lesser-known names
Although it can be tempting for any buyer to stick solely to well-established suppliers, it should also be noted that giving new and/or small businesses a chance can prove very fruitful. These businesses are under much more pressure to sell, and they therefore frequently offer the best deals. Besides these financial benefits, they may also be more willing to maintain optimal supplier-buyer relationships than well-established brand names. What’s more, they may have some exciting 'fresh' products that larger suppliers are unwilling to explore. Smaller suppliers are often well-positioned to spot the potential in a market gap. This could be the tipping point that enables you to distinguish yourself from your competitors and even propel you towards success.
Showroom sourcing offers you the chance to meet a variety of suppliers, thereby presenting excellent opportunities for you to engage in some networking. Make an effort to converse with all sellers within your area of industry expertise - even if they do not have the specific product that you are currently seeking. There is always the chance that you may want to strike a deal with them, in the future. However, hand your business cards out selectively to avoid being driven crazy by cold calls.
If you are unsure about a particular product, always ask the supplier if they have any samples available. You are then able to reflect on the possible purchase at a later time; particularly helpful if you have other members of staff to consult before committing to the order.
Upon finding a product that you like, it is important to ask questions in order to determine the suppliers’ exact terms and conditions before committing to any contract. It should always be assumed that there is room for negotiation; never accept the first offer without a bit of (friendly) haggling. Obtain other quotes from suppliers who offer the same/similar products for comparison. If the seller's minimum order quantity is too high for your commercial needs, it is always worth trying to negotiate these particular terms. Nevertheless, be prepared to walk away if they are unable to accommodate your request; overbuying is a common mistake committed by buyers and one that can prove to be very costly to a business.
You may want to read more about: How to negotiate with your suppliers?
Tradegood recently launched its Trend Boutique, a permanent showroom location that allows buyers to shop for products from a wide range of trusted suppliers from global markets all year round. This service could likely help you save some time by accessing samples and comparing quotes from different suppliers—all with one-stop shop convenience.