Developing a strong supply chain is essential for retail success. Stores must have a reliable source of goods, in order to minimize customer dissatisfaction and ensure smooth functioning of their operations. At the same time, retail is a massive industry, and there is tremendous competition between suppliers for lucrative retail contracts.
There are several ways to distinguish superior bedding suppliers from less ideal partners. The relationship should go beyond simply supplying goods. Knowledge of the industry, attentiveness to retailer pain points, and responsive service are all essential. There are at least five factors that should be considered before starting a relationship with a new supplier.
There has been a recent explosion of e-commerce sites that do not hold physical inventory. Instead, they partner with a supplier who delivers goods directly to customers upon receipt of an order. The dropshipping phenomenon has been embraced by large retailers more and more, as they maintain both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce shops or transition to online-only stores.
Superior bedding suppliers also offer dropshipping capability, to provide retailers with full flexibility as to how they might sell their goods. They support businesses that maintain home textiles in-store and provide additional offerings online for consumers looking for a broad array of choice. Dropshipping maximizes the capacity of retailers to capture a large market of customers without having to invest heavily in stock.
Product availability is a central concern of retailers because stockouts can result in a loss of revenue. When a customer does not find a particular set of linens on the shelf, or the e-commerce site indicates a limited number of units available, that customer may look elsewhere. Stockouts can result in unhappy customers, loss of sale to a competitor, and added expense to the retailer if the product remains back ordered for too long.
Superior bedding suppliers recognize the paramount importance of product availability. As a result, they will ensure that they have three months’ worth of core SKUs on hand at all times. In addition, they will constantly replenish their supply in order to avoid shortages. This prevents the disruption of inventory flow at the retailer level. There should be few backorders because delayed arrival might result in too much in-store stock after demand for the item has diminished.
Knowledge of Trends
As much as core SKUs are essential for retailers, they must stay in step with the changing mood of consumers. The desire of shoppers for home textiles shifts on a regular basis, and largely according to current trends. Those trends involve not only styles, but fabric, brand, and the back story of how the product was produced.
This knowledge is essential for retailers so they can make the right decision about what to sell. Bedding suppliers remain in step with what is happening in the industry, for the purpose of making coveted lines available to retailers. Because their primary focus is home textiles, they have in-depth knowledge of this niche area that retailers may not simply have the time to develop. As a result, they are essential partners in deciding what retailers may want to promote in their stores.
Product Design and Customization
Although there are many standard processes in the retail industry, no two brands are exactly the same. Many retailers offer private label product lines that consumers cannot purchase elsewhere. If customers associate the private label with quality and value, they will return to the same retailer in order to purchase it specifically.
Private label lines have become more prominent in recent years in the retail landscape, and for good reason. Unique product offerings are important for developing brand identification and customer loyalty. Bedding suppliers who offer in-house manufacturing can create custom, short-run products exclusive to an individual retailer. This gives them a competitive advantage, as they do not have to look outside their current supply chain to develop private label sheet sets and linens.
Perhaps one of the most essential elements in the supplier-retailer relationship is customer service, but it may be easy to overlook. The retailer is always accountable to its shoppers and takes responsibility for all elements of product offerings. Behind the scenes, that retailer has to rely on the supply chain to ensure the right goods end up on shelves and in the hands of buyers.
Therefore, it is important to assess the responsiveness of the supplier’s client service teams. A premium partner will receive orders electronically, expedite the shipment of goods, and aim to fill orders within 24 hours. The partner should have detailed processes that streamline delivery. Overall, a superior supplier will maintain strong working relationships with retailers by being efficient and reliable.
Develop a Strong Partnership With Suppliers
To ensure long-term success in retail, businesses should look to the future as well as consider their immediate needs in a textile supplier. The capacity to provide dropshipping allows for expansion of e-commerce. Manufacturing abilities leave open the potential for private label production.
At all stages in the growth of a retail business, it is essential to have an efficient, responsive supplier with a well-run operation. Keeping these things in mind is important for determining the right partner that will help retailers to attract and retain customers.