Home
Business-Wise
Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard


Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


The trends, the issues, and productive business strategies.

Printer Version

Why Independents Aren't More "Loyal" to Small Vendors 

Large vendors: Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. 

By Lisa Kanak The Cropper’s Corner (August 15, 2005)

(Note: In the previous issue, a vendor complained that, while she tried to stay loyal to independents – not selling at consumer shows or online, etc. – independents did not return that same loyalty.)

What this manufacturer says is true, the majority of independents are not building relationships with manufacturers by ordering consistently (or reordering at all). Unfortunately, the feeling out there is that independents have to "product hop" to keep consumers interested. And, to be fair, a little product hopping is necessary – but we independents probably do far too much.

Independents need to be looking for solid performers to keep sales chugging, but many of us don't know what those are. Unfortunately, this often means committing to a large manufacturer for those items, because they offer the depth and variety that stores need to stock.

While the big manufacturers do things that can hurt stores (product dumping, QVC, etc.), this is really more of a communication problem (manufacturers don't tell their stores what's going on) than anything else. When companies sell off product, the appropriate thing to do is let their retailers know that product line X has been sold to Big Lots, and give the stores time to discontinue it BEFORE it's on the shelves (as EK Success recently did).

Big manufacturers are many times the back-bone of an independent's sales; 40% of our store's sales in embellishments and stickers come from EK Success, K&Company, Sandylion, and Making Memories. The other 60% of sales come from a myriad of small-to-medium companies that help round out the business, but none of which could hope to replace those four.

The argument goes, if the "big boxes" have it, independents shouldn't. But the fact is, most scrappers don't head to a box store with their 40% OFF coupons to pick up stickers and embellishments. They usually head there – coupon in hand – for big ticket items. It's a fallacy to think independents cannot compete with the boxes when it comes to these smaller items.

It's these smaller items that keep us in business. In fact, there is a penny difference between Wal-Mart's price on Jolee's and our store – and that holds true for pretty much all of the "big boxes" and pricing on smaller items.

Re-ordering product is just as much a problem for large manufacturers as it is for small manufacturers. Roughly 70% of all retailers don't re-order most products. That's frightening. It means we're gambling way too much, period.

We need to make more decisions based upon sales figures than feelings. Sometimes, the sales figures favor a large manufacturer; sometimes they favor a small- to mid-sized manufacturer. But the real issue is that it is the retailer's job to sell. That means we have to stock what customers purchase.

As a larger independent retailer, I can honestly say that our store could not survive without the core product lines of the larger manufacturers – nor could we survive without the innovative, unique products from the smaller manufacturers. We need them both to create a diverse and interesting product mix in our store.

(Note. The Cropper's Corner is at 1621 Carl D. Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg, VA 22401. To contact Lisa, call her home office at 540-752-1935 or email lisakanak@adelphia.net. To read previous Memory columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To comment on this or any other issue, email CLN at mike@clnonline.com.)

xxx

 

horizontal rule

horizontal rule



   
   

Memory, Paper & Stamps Recent Columns...
SCRAPBOOK ETC, READERS SPEAK OUT; They are sad and angry.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SCRAPBOOKING; Return to preserving memories and other suggestions.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SCRAPBOOKING; Reconnect with its roots: printing photos and preserving family legacies.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING IN MICHIGAN; And probably everywhere else.

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO SCRAPBOOKING; Why it's not what it was.

WHY SCRAPBOOKING NEEDS A NEW WAY TO MARKET OUR PRODUCTS; An invitation to an informative seminar.

BUSINESS TRENDS AT THE CHA SUMMER SHOW; Adjusting to the tight economy.

THE SECOND HALF OF '09: SCRAPBOOKING; Challenges...and opportunities.

RETAILERS COMMENT ON THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Is the demise of Memory Makers a sign of scrapbooking's decline, or a decline in advertising?

PAPER VS. DIGITAL OR...Is there a profitable middle ground?

Q. & A. ABOUT PRESERVATION; Preserving newspaper articles in scrapbooks, and other useful tips.

VENDORS JOIN FORCES TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENTS; A special event to boost sales.

SIXTEEN WAYS TO ATTRACT NEW CUSTOMERS; If each method attracted 20 new customer...

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SCRAPBOOKING? The digital world is changing the category and the consumer.

A PHOTO/SCRAP STORE CHANGES COURSE; Offering digital services rather than scrapbook supplies.

PROBLEMS IN SCRAPBOOKING...Will only be solved by cooperation.

A SCRAPBOOK SHOP HOP: AN INNOVATIVE MARKETING STRATEGRY FOR 2008; The nuts and bolts, and why they produce results.

UNAPPRECIATED LOYALTY; Why many devoted scrapbookers are angry.

CONSUMERS RESPOND; Anger, misunderstanding, and thought-provoking comments...

CHALLENGE #1: INSPIRING CONSUMERS TO PRINT PHOTOS; Interesting advice and comments from CLN readers.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT DIGITAL SCRAPBOOKING...And worry about printing photos instead.

PMA SPEAKS OUT; On trade shows, scrapbooking and more.

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE SMART GROUP'S DENNIS CONFORTO

ME AND MARTHA STEWART

A SCRAPBOOKER'S IMPRESSIONS OF CHA'S WINTER SHOW, 2007; A step in the right direction.

CRAFTER'S HOME: BIG PLANS, NEW PERSONNEL; All designed to help independents and grow the category.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2007; Further consolidation and new opportunities.

WE NEED HOG WILD CRAZY CUSTOMERS; They're our best customers, but they morph into no-so-good customers.

SCRAPBOOKING IN 2010; Sound advice for retailers and vendors to survive and prosper in the next four years.

DIGITAL OR HARD-COPY SCRAPBOOKS? Is one better than the other? Or is there a "best of both worlds" solution?

WILL SCRAPBOOKING FADE LIKE OTHER TRENDS? No! Yes! And maybe it's a moot point, say subscribers.

THE SCRAPBOOK WARS: A REPORT FROM THE TRENCHES; Clearance sales and short-sighted vendors make a tough business tougher.

CHA's DIGITAL IMAGING SEMINARS; Digital and imaging programs for retailers -- and vendors.

TECHNIQUE OR STORYTELLING? Techniques enhance memories by appealing to more senses.

WHO'S TO BLAME WHEN A STORE CLOSES? Outside competition? Or something else?

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Readers react to the thought provoking comments by Crafters Home's Shane Cullimore.

CRAFTERS HOME'S SHANE CULLIMORE SPEAKS OUT; Thought provoking analysis of how scrapbooking is changing.

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SCRAPBOOKING? Readers offer complicated, tough answers.

WHY INDEPENDENTS AREN'T MORE "LOYAL" TO SMALL VENDORS; Large vendors: Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

THOUGHTS FROM AN EX-SCRAPBOOK RETAILER; Who's to blame? Not the chains, but vendors?

THE PAPER CHASE; Too much paper, there are more profitable products to stock.

MERCHANDISING MATTERS; Advise to vendors on packaging and racks.

INCREASING THE SIZE OF THE PIE; Attracting newcomers by creating an identity.

SCRAPBOOKING IS APPEALING TO THE WRONG MARKET; We aren't keeping it inviting to newcomers.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING AND INDEPENDENTS; The new leader of Crafters Home speaks out on what's right -- and what's wrong -- with retailing in 2005.

DO WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DONE; The scrapbook industry is in trouble! Some possible solutions.

MORE WAYS TO TURN A CRAFTER INTO A SCRAPBOOKER; Bring the message to the consumer, use consultants, and don't call it "scrapbooking."

TURNING A CRAFTER INTO A SCRAPBOOKER; Strategies to attract the doubters.

GREAT BRITAIN: GETTING CRAFTIER BY THE DAY! Scrapbooking is growing, but card making is king.

LEARNING FROM ANOTHER MARKET FOR SCRAPBOOKING; Gaining a broader perspective on your business.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Interview with Crafter's Home President Norm Carlson.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A HARDCORE SCRAPPER; And how to keep her coming back for more.

PROBLEMS LOOM FOR SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS...But there are some common sense solutions.

MEMORIES COMMUNITY RELEASES SURVEY DATE, PLANS MAGAZINE; Demographics and media.

AN INTERVIEW WITH SUE DIFRANCO; Candid talk on the state and future of scrapbooking.

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS; Strategies to make 2004 more profitable and enjoyable.

PAPER:THE NEW FOUNDATION; Allows scrapbookers to go beyond scrapbooking.

INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA JOSEPH; Blunt talk about challenges, trends, and the future.

STAMPERS, SCRAPPERS, AND ALTERED BOOKS; Who does what, and why.

SCRAPBOOKING STILL SHOWING STRONG GROWTH; New study pegs market at $1.2 billion.

SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS & CRAFTER'S HOME; How joining forces can help independents survive and prosper

SO, WHO'S AFRAID OF MICHAELS?; It's way, way too early to panic.