Ever wanted to get inside the brain of a retailer that visits Life Instyle to see just how the cogs turn when they are sourcing new products for their upcoming season?
Training Wheels SYDNEY played host to a BRAND NEW panel featuring Chris Tourgelis from OPUS Design Co, Bryony Tucker from The Card Shop and Jessie Campbell from Kidstuff. This panel was an interactive look at how they go about their sourcing.
How do you prepare for coming to any trade events?
Bryony: I pre-plan and connect with exhibitors and brands I want to speak with prior to the event so I have a fair idea of what they are offering before I even get to the event.
Jessie: I prefer to be contacted by exhibitors prior to the event with new offers, product launches or lines and be invited to touch, play and feel these new items
Chris: I pre-plan by taking a look at our business and finding where we have some holes that need to be filled and areas of product we can move into and grow
Do you have any insider tips for our exhibitors about how you decide whether to approach a stand or just keep walking?
Jessie: The stands need to be clean, easy to see everything and there is nothing worse than having something at the very front of the stand that closes the space off. I need the ability to move around the stand to be able to get a better scope of what products are offered. With Kidstuff being a kids toy store, I also really love it when exhibitors have samples for me to play with so I knwo exactly how the products work and what their features are. It really helps in my purchasing decision later on.
Bryony: Less is always more and I love when a brand, aesthetically, have nailed their visual representation. It enables me to envision the brand in its entirety and figure out if it will work in The Card Shop stores.
Chris: It only takes visitors 4 seconds to decide if they are going to walk into an exhibitor stand or not. I want to be captivated from the start, from walking past your stand, to the engagement on your stand with yourself and staff and I love to see the passion you have for your product when you talk about it. Engagement is kep and is what will help push our transactional relationship over the line.
What do you love when you visit a new exhibitors stand?
Jessie: When someone greets us with a big smile and has a genuine conversation with us.
Bryony: Agreed. A big happy smile, regardless of how sore your feet are at 2pm on the last day.
Chris: The easier you make it for me to know everything about your product, how to order, how to pay etc and have it all in front of me, the more likely I am to purchase. Simplicity is best!
What is your big no no’s at the event?
Chris: Do not make me pay for 100% of my order on the day. It just won’t happen. OPUS Design Co. is a large company and 99% of the time order must pass through our accounts and finance department first before we can finalise the order. In saying that for that product that we must have and we need to secure now, we will likely pay a deposit to secure the order. This is the same for new suppliers we work with. We understand that some orders can not be manufactured without some sort of a deposit and we will willing oblige.
Bryony: Exhibitors moving into online retail. This is a biggie for us as there has been instances where old suppliers have started an online store and undercut our prices. That just makes it harder for us to sell your product. If you want to start an onilne store, I totally get it however please be mindful of your stockists and set your prices in line with what they do.
Jessie: Don’t ingore us! We understand that sometimes things can be hectic on your stands with lots of peoplehowever a simple “Hey! How are you? Sorry we are a bit busy at the moment can you come back in 10 minutes?” is all we need. To be completely ignored is nto a great way to start our potential relationship.
What are your top tips for making a stockist & supplier relationship last?
Bryony: Collaboration. The Card Shop frequently works with our suppliers to create window displays with their product which is mutually beneficial for both parties as we sell their product and they gain greater exposure.
Jessie: Communication. We understand that sometimes things go wrong with deliveries and expectations so simply just keep us in the loop with a phone call. NO EMAILS!
Chris: I agree with Jessie. I believe the art form of conversation has been lost due to email so a simple call even a week or so after we have received your first order to check in and see how it is going will go a long way in developing our relationship. I have had accounts that have sent me their product and I have never heard from them again.
When and how do you do your buying?
Chris: Post show. The only time I order onsite is with an existing supplier or if there is a product I just have to have in store and I know is perfect and will work.
Bryony: I agree with Chris.
Jessie: I do my ordering both pre & post-show. Pre-show with existing suppliers, post-show with new suppliers but I also agree with Chris that if there is a product that is just perfect I will order at the event.
We want to thank Chris, Jessie & Bryony for their time on the all-new Retailer Point of View panel and we look forward to seeing what will be featuring in your stores very soon.