By Lee Kellogg
Do you strictly sell craft merchandise or have you ventured to sell other types of goods? You may find that you need to shake up your inventory mix to keep your customers interested and shopping frequently.
I own a rubber stamp store in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My store is in the downtown area – a prime place for tourist traffic. I get a ton of walk-in and out foot traffic. Last summer, I noticed a lot of that walk-in traffic wasn’t looking at the majority of my inventory. Customers were looking for gift items, pet products and everything else that I didn’t have available in my store. I was tired of losing those sales, so I focused on diversifying my inventory.
As my business rolls into the 2015 summer season, busy tourist traffic time, I am happy to say that I am batting about 75% sales on my new product lines. In fact, my store sold out of some of the newer items before Memorial Day! I had to re-order to keep inventory up and customers happy! It’s a great problem to have.
My fellow retail craft expert, Roseann Kermes and I, Lee Kellogg, can help you figure out whether you should specialize or diversity your inventory. Register for our two jumpstart sessions on this topic at the Paper Arts + Show in July; the sessions will be held on Wednesday, July 22 and Thursday, July 23 from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m..
For now, I’ll leave you with a hint for successful inventory growth and diversification: listen to your customers. Are they asking for products you don’t have in stock – things you have never heard of? Don’t rush out and get everything that your customers are suggesting; that is not a great way to start diversifying. Do your research, learn about what they want, and then take baby steps with what makes sense for your store.
Okay, here’s another hint: shop your competitors and neighbors. Is there a void in your neighborhood that you can fill? Do you see a gap in what your competitors are stocking? Have you seen something really fun in a store, in another state, that is selling?
Consider these hints and bring your questions about inventory diversification and customer growth to the Paper Arts+ Show. Roseanne and I are craft retailers.
The Paper Arts+ Show is a great venue to meet your fellow retailers, talk about what is going on in your store, and pick the brain of everyone you meet. This Show is an excellent opportunity for you to network without feeling pressured. Plus, you never know when inspiration will strike!