Our Retail Supply Chain Group recently had the pleasure to address attendees of the ASD Las Vegas Show. As you may know, the ASD Show brings merchandise and buying experts together for one of the top consumer-goods trade shows. We were able to speak with buyers from a variety of retail and distribution channels that came to the show to find suppliers and product, as well as to improve and innovate the way they source their goods.
The latter point was the subject of our talk yesterday, “What You Need to Know about Sourcing Returned, Overstock, and Refurbished Items Online.” If you were able to attend, we certainly hope it was an educational session and we appreciate your interest. For those who aren’t at ASD Las Vegas, I’d like to share some of the takeaways from our Liquidity Services seminar with you.
Many wholesale buyers have historically relied on local outlets for their goods, but can often source more affordably and efficiently by tapping into online outlets. Historically, challenges faced by buyers have included challenges such as inconsistent flow of product, an inability to obtain the right product categories and amounts, competition with other buyers, and lack of reliability in online or offline sources.
In contrast, there are numerous benefits to sourcing product online — including greater product range, detailed product information at your fingertips, flexible quantities and shipping options, and the quick sales cycle, which shortens the traditional buy-to-ship timeframe.
Here are some tips to help you form a strategy to source product online:
- What Type of Buyer Are You? — Your needs may be different if you are a boutique shop owner or a flea market seller. Based on what type of buyer you are, you can determine your product needs.
- Know Your Competition — Depending on how crowded your market is, you might be better off selling accessories for main items as opposed to the hot items themselves.
- Know Your Product — What’s in demand right now? By looking at the various product categories, you can plan to develop an expertise.
- Know Your Condition Codes — Products can range from new, light use, heavy use, refurbished, shelf pulls and salvage – know what you are buying before you purchase to help you determine how to sell the goods.
- Select the Right Online Vendor — Vendors can range greatly. You will want to look at factors such as detailed product information, flexibility in quantities, shipping options, and more, to determine your best online source.
- Set Your Profit Goal — Start at your resale value and work backwards to determine your budget.
- Manage Your Costs — Remember to factor shipping and miscellaneous costs into your overall budget.
- Determine the Right Quantity — Depending on your vendor, you may be able to purchase various sizes from single SKU lots to full truckloads; don’t purchase more than you can sell.
- Avoid Impulse Purchases — It’s always best to purchase based on your strategy.
Ultimately, if you select the right online vendor, understand what you are purchasing, and calculate your costs with your profit goal in mind; you will find yourself on the path to being a savvy online buyer. If you haven’t yet considered sourcing your product from Liquidity Services, I’d encourage you to try us out at Liquidation.com. It’s free to register, and you can enjoy the benefits that our broad base of individual and small and mid-sized business buyers from more than 200 countries and territories already know and depend upon.