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Quick Tips for Your Next Buying Trip

Going to market or trade shows to hand-pick the best product selection for your store is one of the most fun parts of owning a retail store.

During a buying trip, you get to see the newest selection from your various brands and vendors. You get to curate the most beautiful collection for your store. You get to search for new and unique items to bring to your community. You get to step outside of the store and take the time to think critically about what will sell and what your customers will load their arms with.

This experience, as awesome as it is, can also be pretty overwhelming.  It’s important to prepare before you’re in the midst of it all and making purchase decisions left and right!

We’ve provided 3 of our top tips to breezing through buying trips and becoming a more effective buyer for your store.

#1 Preparation is Key

In order to arrive at market with the right goals and plan, you need to identify your store’s needs and opportunities first.  This step could look like:

Pulling Inventory Reports

You should be able to identify what your top selling brands, margins, and categories are so that you can allocate much of your time and budget to these high-performing products.

Making Appointments

Many of these markets are only a few days long, which means you have to be super organized in order to maximize the short time you have. If not, you can easily get lost in the rows and floors of various vendors, wander from place-to-place, and not actually accomplish much of anything. Be sure to find out where your vendors are located and plan accordingly. This will not only save you time, but allow you to spend that extra time on finding new and upcoming merchandise or brands.

#2 Take Photos

Buying amnesia is 100% a real thing. It’s too easy to walk from booth to booth, forgetting what you’ve just looked at less than an hour ago!  With the amount of things to see and do, everything starts to become a blur. Also, doesn’t help when they serve us wine, amiright!?! 

Taking photos will…

  • Keep important finds and orders fresh in your mind.
  • Get your staff and customers excited for what’s coming in.
  • Show you how your orders come together visually to make merchandising a heck-of-a-lot easier! 
  • Give you proof of what you ordered from that vendor/brand (because we all know sometimes we get that box delivered and KNOW we never would have purchased anything like the items in the box!). People make mistakes, it happens, but don’t let these errors costs you!
  • Help you avoid buying products that are too similar (or even the same) from multiple vendors.

#3 Get REALLY good at saying “NO”

It’s ok to say “NO”. In fact, it’s great! When you walk by a booth and someone asks if they can show you what they have (and you just KNOW it’s not going to work for your store), politely say, “No, thanks!” Don’t waste time looking at product that you will never carry! Time is valuable for everyone involved, so don’t waste it!  Don’t feel as if you need to hand out your business card to everyone who asks.

Which of these tips and tricks will you use on your next buying trip? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to check out our list of questions you need to be asking your brand reps!

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