Some of you Gift Shop owners or traders may have been going to Trade shows for years, if so then please add your own tips in the comments! We have complied some tips for Buyers attending their first or one of their first shows.
1. Wear or at lease take comfortable shoes! – You will literally walk for miles at a trade show and although heals give you a nice professional look we would recommend at least taking comfy shoes to change into.
2. Have a look at the attendees before hand – Before you go, its a really good idea to have a look thorough the list of attendees and see if any catch your eye. Check out their web sites and seek out the good ones, its really worth doing a bit of research to make the most of your visit.
Look through trade journals/magazines, they are fantastic for inspiration. They will often have lots of adverts in with photos of the stock and they include the stand number you can flick through the magazines and note down all the interesting looking suppliers.
3. Take a good backpack/bag – this is to carry any catalogues you pick up, I would recommend not taking any you really aren’t interested in, many stands will try to hand out catalogues to anyone that will take them while others want you email address/details before you part with them, they will usually follow up with a phone call or an email so try not to waste yours and their time.
4. Do not get caught up! – By this I mean some suppliers can be very persuasive, you simply do not want to get caught listening to a sales pitch of something you will not be interested in, be polite and just move on.
5. Keep track of orders placed – This sounds obvious but when I go to a trade show I place orders with 10+ suppliers, you easily forget what you have ordered, I take a small notepad and list supplier name, date I’ve asked for it to be delivered and the amount – I always ask for the amount before agreeing to the order. It’s very easy to carried away on a stand, you can ask for a tot up during the order if you don’t want to overspend.
6. Order at the show! – as much as you can, place orders at the show, even for the future, its so much better to place orders when you can see and touch what you are ordering and you will get genuine advice from the stand. Many stands will have very worthwhile deals at the show so it’s well worth trying to place an order there and then.There have been many orders I wish I had planned at the show, so I tend to just do it if I really like what I see. If you want to be a bit more cautious, make a not of their stand number and go back later on.
When you have worked in retail for many years, you forget how it was when you first began, remembering back when wholesalers asked us to pay ‘pro forma’ we nodded while thinking ‘what actually is pro forma…?‘ we had been in completely different industries so why would we know! (it means pay up front by the way!)
When you are thinking about taking the plunge and buying wholesale, basically it means you are spending more money on a larger volume of goods to then resell on. You will benefit from large discounts, the larger the quantities you buy, the bigger discounts you get.
Some wholesalers start with a minimum spend of just £50 others ask you to spend £1000. It varies depending on the supplier (wholesaler). Quantities per item is another consideration, some suppliers let you buy just 1 of each item, others sell in 4’s 6’s 24’s or more. It’s not unreasonable to ask what quantity of each item do you have to buy.
When you first show interest in a supplier its very important to get clear on their terms, what are their likely delivery times, what is the carriage charge? Many suppliers will have a level of spend that is ‘carriage free’ this can be anything from £100 to £1000. Many of the smaller suppliers are happy to ship goods for a £300 order, (this would be called a ‘carriage free’ order. If you look at the suppliers on this Giftshop Wholesalers site we have the free shipping/carriage free amount. This becomes important as when buying for gift shops its much more financially viable to not pay ANY carriage. Note: Many companies will still send carriage free if they for example have out of stock items in your order but CHECK as you don’t want to drop below the amount and have to pay £10 extra.
Here are some points (and a recap) to consider when looking for wholesale suppliers:
- What are the individual product product quantities? (how many of each item do you have to buy). Some wholesalers sell in packs where you get a set number of each colour, make sure you like all the colours! They will not usually split packs.
- What are their delivery times? – How long do you have to wait until the products are shipped to you.
- When do you need to pay? – It is normal to place your order then the invoice will be sent to you via email or post and you will then pay. Some companies will ask you to pay over the phone. I would expect the delivery imminently once the payment has been made, reputable companies will not keep you waiting too long for goods unless previously agreed.
- What if items are missing or damaged? – This doesn’t happen too often but is unfortunate for both parties, most companies will give you a timescale to report missing or damaged items, make sure you report this as soon as possible and keep any damaged or faulty items, some companies like them back, others will tell you to dispose of them. Note : To keep up good relations we don’t report every single tiny item, if its just £1/£2 we just take the hit as we feel its not worth anyones time, but that is just how we work!
- What is the minimum spend/Carriage free amount? Most suppliers will have a ‘Minimum spend’ this is the minimum amount you have to spend to benefit from the wholesale prices, they also have the ‘carriage free’ amount. The minimum spend can be anything from £50 upwards, always check the carriage costs on the lower amounts as this becomes a cost you have to absorb.
I hope you have found this article useful, if you have any further questions please pop over to Twitter and give us a tweet!