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Is Your Wholesaler up to Scratch? [3] – Diversity

I’ve talked about volume, and I’ve talked about payment options. While both are good metrics of the professionalism of your wholesaler, it is possible for small retailers who do not order in large volumes to be quite happy buying from a supplier who fails both of these checks.

This is where diversity comes in.

How many unique, strong selling lines can your supplier produce? If that number is in the single or double digits, you have a problem. While a small jewellery seller can get along nicely selling one or two of each item a week, that same retailer will never attract customers if their display or shop only has a small number of fashionable lines.

And it is these same small retailers who tend to stick with a single supplier, rather than branching out and spreading their risk through buying from multiple different wholesalers. A good supplier should have a catalogue in the hundreds, and many, if not most, of those styles should be strong or medium sellers. It doesn’t matter if their catalogue contains thousands of items if those items are all old fashioned or tacky lines that you cannot sell.

What you need to be looking for is a solid core of a couple of hundred diverse and good selling lines. This is harder to find that you might think, even from the big wholesalers who have been in the business for decades. If your supplier cannot produce this number, then they cannot adequately fill your shop, and you will not be able to adequately meet your customer’s needs.

Colour doesn’t count!

When you’re looking at your supplier’s range of necklaces and bracelets, ignore colour variations. Colour is never as important to your customers as style, so you should count one style in five different colours as a single style, not five separate styles. This is an old trick used by many jewellery wholesalers to pad their catalogues, allowing them to present themselves as mega-suppliers with a catalogue of thousands, when the plain truth is that they might only have 20 lines that are suitable for  a typical high street shop.

Don’t be fooled by colour. And don’t be fooled by cheap and cheerful lines of plastic jewellery — another method often used to inflate the size of a jewellery catalogue in order to present the appearance of greatness to unsuspecting retailers.

Browse your new supplier’s catalogue, and look for 50-100 lines that you feel your customers might express an interest in. If you can’t find them, you’ve found yourself another small time, amateur supplier, regardless of how they might be presenting themselves.

Rule 3: Does your supplier carry 100+ great selling styles?

14 Jun 2013

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