Challenges, problems, and triumphs
-- from a manufacturer's perspective.
Independents: Support Vendors Who Support You
"Support goes both ways. It is a
relationship of trust and consistency."
by Name Withheld (August 1, 2005)
Excellent dialogue you have going in your newsletter, on a topic
most consumers and very few retailers understand thoroughly.
Don't forget too, to tell the independents NOT TO BUY from those
vendors who continue to use business practices that hurt their
business, including dumping product at consumer shows, undercutting
them with special deals to QVC and other large retailers, and
dumping current product at jobber stores like Big Lots.
Just because a product is cute and "trendy" doesn't
mean that product's manufacturer is supporting independents in their
everyday struggle just to keep the doors open.
Look for vendors who WILL support you. Those whose products are
not available in every store in town, and those who actually still
manufacture their products in the good old USA.
You can't blame the consumer (well, not ALL the time) for looking
for a deal. To some it's a sport; for some it makes the hobby of
scrapbooking more accessible. Instead, independents need to support
manufacturers who are not participating in these practices.
Support is a two-way relationship. Independents are looking for a
little give from manufacturers – lower minimums and other
privileges. Manufacturers are looking for consistency and stability.
If an independent guarantees a certain level of orders over the
course of a year, that's a relationship. If an independent store
operates capriciously, discontinuing existing lines only to
continually bring in the new, untried and trendy, manufacturers will
continue to search for the large retailers in order to stay in
I enjoy your newsletter very much because of the issues you get
into and the discussion you are able to provide by enabling all
sides of the trade relationship to engage. By wording things the way
you do, and sometimes withholding names, you are able to call it as
it plays – a rarity in this day.
It is frustrating to see independent retailers fail to support
companies who adhere to high standards – quality printing and
excellent design, timely shipping of new product, top-notch customer
service, and reasonable prices.
Meanwhile, they continue to order the same brands carried at
lower prices by the chains, and are always chasing the elusive new,
trendy manufacturer (who invariably experiences timely shipping
problems and therefore ties up their money.)
With business practices like that it's no wonder the independents
find it hard to stick around.
Talk lately is that it is becoming rare for a scrapbook product
design to be re-ordered by a retailer. From the retailer's
perspective, there is no need to re-order with so many other designs
available that might fit the bill.
However, manufacturers invest in design time, production costs,
and storage cost. There is a minimum amount that must be
manufactured at once to maintain a reasonable consumer cost. Without
re-orders, manufacturers will actually be forced into doing that
which the independents deplore – dumping product to jobbers or at
consumer shows for a deal. Isn't it ironic that some retailers might
actually in part be the cause of a practice they dislike?
Support goes both ways. It is a relationship of trust and
consistency. Thanks for doing all you can to foster this atmosphere
in what can be an impersonal, cold-hearted, bottom line world.
(Note: To comment on this and other industry issues, email
CLN at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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