How to Product Source Like a Big Guy
Marc Joseph, president of Dollar Days International (www.dollardays.com), whose company’s Web site offers wholesale and closeout products to multichannel merchants, outlined several ways that small and midsize merchants can compete against the big-box retailers, particularly when dealing with product vendors, at the recent Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. Here are some of his takeaway tips from the session.
1. On dealing with vendors:
* deal/negotiate with the right people;
* don’t give a bottom-line price right away; give yourself some negotiating room, he said;
* don’t be afraid to say no; and
* be honest and ethical.
2. On buying product:
* “Never leave home without knowing how much you can spend,” he cautioned;
* never buy an item the first day you see it;
* always carry a digital camera with you when you go product sourcing;
* confirm your agreement before signing an order;
* when traveling to product source, don’t make too many appointments and overburden yourself, he warned; take your time;
* buy from your own location, preferably your own office; and
* print your own purchase order — under your terms.
3. Joseph also listed his top questions multichannel merchants should ask vendors when product sourcing. These include the following.
* Which other vendors carry your product line?
* Do they have off-price merchandise?
* How easy is it to reorder?
* When is the delivery date?
* Do vendors have arrangements for affiliate advertising?
* Do they have a catalog? Web site?
* Can you exchange nonselling goods? This agreement needs to made up front, Joseph said. “It won’t work with closeout goods,” he added.
4. There are plenty of sites on the Web that allow you to comparison shop against your vendor, Joseph noted. Sites he recommends include WholesaleCentral.com, CloseoutCentral.com, GetThatWholesale.com, WholesaleHub.com, WholesaleGopher.com and others.