Are you in a healthy relationship?
In the past there have been studies which identified that, less than half of all trade marketing solutions fail to increase demand; resulting in many businesses scrapping their strategies altogether. However, avoiding trade marketing can be causing more harm than expected. In this article we will cover how a stronger integration with suppliers, like us, can result in increased sales.
Why is it Important?
Whilst setting up your business, it is vital to recognize how suppliers can impact your business. Too many companies rely on a trade strategy that involves hiring salespeople to run around attempting to sell a product/service to any customer that is willing to listen. Often, problems with suppliers are caused by an inability to maintain a strong working relationship – a necessity for all companies; whether product or service orientated. This is why we assign specific account handlers to all of our trade customers.
Here are some reasons as to how an efficient relationship can benefit your business:
Reliable Finance & Reduced Costs
Once recognized as a loyal customer, the likeliness of your supplier providing additional financing is higher; which can be vital in certain situations, for example hitting growth mode over the busy Christmas period, meaning you hit any credit limit before you expected to – preventing you from operating as normal.
For practically all businesses, the initial start-up costs are marginal. This is especially the case with selling personalized books online, once you have your website up and running you’re off! By beginning with concentrating on establishing a strong relationship with suppliers from the beginning, both parties will actively look to avoid unnecessary expenditures which could arise. Increased interaction will lead to less incidences of poor performance and therefore a reduction in the need to invest in fixing any possible errors.
Better quality increases customer satisfaction and therefore returns, saving finance in the long-run. Creating and maintaining a close relationship means people are often more willing to go the extra mile. Additionally, enhanced quality could result in repeat purchase and even customer loyalty.
For example – prompt deliveries are crucial for measuring a business’ reliability – customers won’t purchase if their orders are constantly delayed. Suppliers can help prevent the risk stock obsolescence and therefore less disappointed customers. With our drop-ship delivery direct to the end-customer, this is not an issue (and we never run out of paper stock for making the books).
Suppliers are constantly working on their products; meaning they have stronger understanding – remember, they are at the heart of the product. Respectable suppliers will appreciate your industry’s needs and will assist in developing your new idea. Signature Books brings out new titles every quarter, and has recently invested in a state-of-the-art printer to fulfill all orders; making us the perfect supplier of personalized book gifts.
Well maintained communication can lead to developments in products, new processes and procedures; we always welcome new ideas if you think they’ll sell! Also, an active approach ensures contractual performance is met; meaning buyers can ensure suppliers continue to improve methods which provide the most considerable enhancements, and the best products to your customers.
Stronger Efficiency to Beat Competitors
All businesses have competitors, and having reliable suppliers can provide an edge over competitors in terms of price, quality and reliability. They can also assist with technological breakthroughs and stronger knowledge of industry trends, allowing your business to adapt before competitors do. We can add you to our mailing list to keep you informed of new and innovative products. The longer a supplier provides a customer, the better understanding of the customer’s market and the business’ process i.e. when you sign up with us, we’re a long-term-relationship sort of business.
Although the development of an efficient relationship is key, it doesn’t mean you have to roll over and give in to demands – it’s fine to be a demanding customer, but remember to be fair. State your quality and time needs clearly, ensuring you’re holding your suppliers to their agreements. We will always do our best to be flexible and understanding to your needs. You’ll also have to play your part too; it’s not a one-way street.
Below are some tips for becoming a valued customer:
After your payment terms have been negotiated, do not attempt to alter the rules once an order has been made under any circumstances. Wholesale distributors work on very thin margins, so playing games may just decrease their trust in you and increase the likelihood of the relationship not working out. As each order is bespoke, we have different methods of payment which range to 30-day invoices, pro-forma, and even pay-as-you-go.
Set Clear, Achievable Goals
Most wholesalers have a minimum order quantity (MOQ), but with us this is not an issue. Each product is printed to order and so the minimum order is 1, a rare way of dealing in the trade market, but we find this works well; meaning we supply to businesses of all sizes. When you first sign up to us all we ask is that you spend £500 on our orders portal before we give you invoicing terms; a very achievable goal for a new business if you’re dedicated.
Understand They Have Other Customers
A common mistake is assuming suppliers work solely for you, when in actuality they could be serving your business and your competitors, for small to medium retailers have a lot of competitors. Patience is key – make them favorable towards your business by understanding they’ll be busy from time-to-time, especially at peak times of the year such as Christmas.
Providing suppliers with unrealistic lead times for orders will instantly tarnish your relationship, offer an honest projection of your requirements and keep them updated with any significant changes. All of our lead and dispatch timescales are openly given, but if there are any issues with these, make sure to contact us.
Play by the Rules
Since suppliers often have multiple customers, it his helpful to learn what they require from you. All that we require at Signature Books, if you want to become a business we supply to, is that you’re open and honest and you fill in this form.
What Do You Need?
If you’re doing all of the above – great! You’re bound to be developing quite the relationship. However, how can the supplier get the most out of their retail partners? Here’s how:
We encourage retailers not to stray too far from the recommended retail price unless the product is exclusive. If you do want to lower a price, this will be taken from your own margin, which we don’t really encourage.
Store Staff / Customer Service Team
These are the people within your business that will interact with us the most. If your customers have questions about orders, our team are here and ready to talk to your customer service staff. Developing the employee’s knowledge of your product will inevitably increase sales, as they will assist the end-customer more efficiently. We don’t expect everyone to know everything and so our dedicated Key Accounts team is here to help.
New products often require samples to be sent out, as we make no margins on these there may be a small charge for us to post these out to you.
There are inevitably end-customers who wish to return products, whether this be a fault of Signature, yourself, or even the customer themselves; mistakes do happen. It can be difficult to protect your business from these requests, but making sure that you’re up to date with any returns policies will reduce any issues when sorting these out.
In case you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us!