The Age of Short Supply?
Since the pandemic, we experienced the difficulties surrounding procuring and distribution, which became a hot topic for many. At this point, if you want to secure an extra supply of goods in shortage, you need to employ various approaches including the traditional method.
You need information and up-to-date knowledge about supply sources.
When an associate from a wholesale company visit your store for the first time, even if you find the company’s offering unattractive at the moment, you should keep the contacts and the list of their products for a later time.
You should take a note about the items carried by a company and expand the database to include each and every wholesale. Even if you do not deal with a certain wholesale, you should certainly have a contact with the company and the list of goods offered. This will become a great resource when your suppliers’ inventory runs low. You should have a back-up and even a back-up for the back-up.
Nowadays, the trend shifts more quickly and more diversely. Accordingly, you should be receptive to new items and information, and product catalogues and beauty magazines should be thoroughly viewed and scrapped in order to respond quickly to an emergency. No matter how busy you are, you should spare a time to review the catalogues distributed regularly by the wholesales and make it a habit.
A great salesperson can sell an out-of-stock item.
When the supply does not catch up with the demand, it will leave a gap. When people look for items you don’t have, you have only one option. You have to make sales by recommending a substitute. For this to happen, you have to have a wide range of product knowledge. When a customer looks for a certain item, you should be able to come up with similar products available at the store. For example, if a customer wants AG brand Apple Cider Shampoo ($13) that you don’t have, you should pitch to sell “Crème of Nature Apple Cider” ($6) instead. To add, you will more likely be successful if you suggest a substitute with a smaller price tag because one would be more willing to buy a similar but cheaper item.
Dedicated display focused on features is needed.
As mentioned, you want to sell a substitute. Then, product display should be in assistance. Although some retail stores prefer to have products organized by brand, you will certainly have a better outcome if you place similar items in a place. This would encourage customers to compare, judge, select, and purchase items from brands other than preferred brands. It is not just great for sales but for staff education. For example, a certain group of products such as dandruff products, dry shampoo, foam wrap lotion, mousse, loc and twist, braid sheen, and wig care products are often found in one place. Many retail stores are already putting together relaxers, hair colors, hair gels, skin care products, and waxes in a similar manner. If you can divide each group into subgroups and display items that are hard to find in other stores, you could be seen as a specialty shop for the feature, resulting in a success reaching far beyond selling substitutes.
There are items discontinued by the manufacture despite being a great product. You should never send a loyal customer home empty-handed. You should find an alternative for the discontinued product or an even better product and study the product features. When the item is looked for, you should be ready to explain professionally why a product in hand is better.
For example, Wild Growth Oil once disappeared from the market due to short supply. While many looked for the item very hard, the effort was futile. At that time, you had great substitutes: KaleidoScope and DooGro Hair Serum. Especially, Kaleidoscope started to go popular on YouTube and Instagram, but many consumers have not heard of it. YouTube reviews and feedbacks were used to introduce it to customers, which smoothly led to sales. These items became steady sellers even after the Wild Growth Oil became widely available later. This is an exemplary story where a store found a replacement for items in short supply. You can make similar efforts for other products than hair care products. For this, you should expand your expertise and knowledge.
Price hikes in the near future are certain due to the minimum wage increase, the higher cost of raw materials and logistics, excessive tariffs, and so on. A sales associate shared a story where a company specialized in manufacturing shampoo could not produce any because they could not find suppliers of shampoo bottles in China. As the price of a shampoo bottle increases, you need to increase the price of the shampoo. Otherwise, the manufacturer’s operation could be affected, and the damages will be simultaneously divided between the retailer and the consumer.
Now is the time to strengthen relationship with sales associates and expand the list of suppliers even if you procure some at not-the-best price. You need to build up knowledge on a wide range of products to react with replacements in case of backorders and keep your business competitive and your customers happy.