If you are looking for a new supplier to help your retail space be the best it can be, here are three ways you can do just that.
Trade shows can be a great way to network with potential suppliers. They are like a one-stop-shop where you get to meet hundreds of vendors at once. And the good news is that by casting a wide net you can gain access to products and producers you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Trade magazines can be another good source for potential partners. Check out the companies that advertise within them or are featured in a story. These have the added benefit of getting as specific as you need. For example, if you have a retail store that sells horse riding equipment, an equestrian magazine will be right up your alley and introduce you, via the pages, to businesses around the nation or globe that share your target market.
Another option is to source locally. This can be a good idea for several reasons including stronger relationships, faster turnover, shipping costs, sustainability, and community engagement. Local producers can make great suppliers for boutiques, general stores, art galleries, and more. You can visit a local farmer’s market, craft show, county fair, or other community function to see the vendor in action. You can also take advantage of this free meeting to ask any questions you might have about their business or product, and see how they interact with customers.
Keep in mind their ability to produce and deliver. Smaller businesses may not be able to meet strict time or quantity requirements. If you have a retail store that is more leisurely, and shopping tends to move with the seasons, this will not be much of an issue. However, if you demand high turnover and weekly restocking, it may be prudent to discuss this honestly with them and see if you will be able to work together or not.
If you are having trouble connecting with suppliers nearby you can always look for a free online marketplace. This is like the virtual version of a trade show, where you can find many producers in one central location.
As you browse the free online marketplace keep in mind the same considerations you would when evaluating a brick and mortar supplier like customer service, product quality and quantity, and cost.