With the ever-increasing competition, today’s gift industry is becoming harder to stand out from the crowd. Keeping the customers happy with ‘New Products’, ‘Something a bit different’ and ‘A reasonably priced, different, beautiful, amazing’ gift, it’s getting harder!
Where would you go to keep finding those products? We tend to go to a few trade shows a year, usually the NEC Spring and Autumn fair and Pulse, this is purely timing and Geography. We love the shows and love meeting up and catching up with favourite suppliers and talking to other retailers but they do cost. We always do 2/3 days at the NEC and stay in a hotel. So as well as both taking 2/3 days out from the business you have the expenses to add on top. Don’t get me wrong we would never not go to the shows but we felt finding really good suppliers outside the show was actually quite hard, trawling through the internet.
The Idea for Gift Shop Wholesalers actually came at one of the shows, we felt we needed a really good online place where you could have it all laid out for you so basically you don’t miss out on potentially exciting products or suppliers.
We are building up our suppliers on GSW and hope you can find some new and exciting suppliers, do let us know if you have any suppliers that you feel would look great on our site!
That’s is the question! We have had our fair share of sales agents over the years, we’ve talked to many of the other retailers over time and they all tend to say the same as us, a good agent is great and a bad agent can be damaging/time wasting and literally cost you money!
The main problem we have found with agents is you pretty much always buy things you didn’t intend to and actually wouldn’t have bought in the first place. For them that is obviously a good thing but sometimes its really actually quite frustrating ( you are annoyed with yourself for being sucked into the sales pitch!)
We came up with some tips for dealing with this:
- ALWAYS have a strict budget before they arrive, you can tell some of them your budget and say ‘I do not want to go over this amount please keep a running total for me’ a good agent will help you with this.
- Only look at the products you have previously agreed, when they pull out a catalogue for a new company, just make sure you only take the catalogue to look at for later, a good agent will not try and make you buy new products straight away but allow you time to look through on your own.
- Try and stick to a time scale, it’s very busy having your own business and those precious hours during shop time allow you to do things you won’t have to spend your evenings doing! So plan maybe an hour and stick to it, check your watch and when it gets near the time, just say sorry but you are out of time!
- Do make them a coffee/tea – they are people too! The amount of agents who I make coffee for say it’s a rarity!
So how would you define a good agent? After talking to many fellow retailers the common theme appeared to be:
One that respects your budget and calculates as you are going along
When they leave new brochures with you and don’t get their pens out expectantly whenever you are looking at anything!
When they don’t sell us things they are trying to shift! Any agent that has sold us dud stock that was apparently ‘an amazing seller’ has not been invited back!
Please do add more to the comments if you have any more ideas! We would be interested to hear from you.