The Boutique Hub and Tundra have communities of thousands of buyers. Our boutique owners are always looking for more ways to confidently grow their business and become smarter buyers. Some of the questions we often hear are around retail best practices. They want to know about tracking metrics, as well as tips for sourcing products. So we’re bringing in industry experts Ashley Alderson and Cheryl Lim Tan. They are sharing 6 ways boutiques can be savvy buyers.
Meet The Experts:
Ashley Alderson is the CEO and founder of The Boutique Hub. She has advised thousands of buyers on their retail strategy over the years. Cheryl Lim Tan is the VP of Brand at Tundra and has over 15 years of retail and eCommerce experience.
Q & A with Ashley and Cheryl
Q: Ashley, what are the top retail basics/retail metrics that buyers should always be tracking? Are there any unique ones that our buyers may not be aware of?
Understanding retail math and reporting is something that many boutique owners put off. They don’t feel confident about reading them. Three of the most important report categories to understand and read regularly are sales reports, inventory reports, and finance reports.
Ashley’s Recommended Reports For Savvy Buyers:
1. Sales Reports:
What is selling the best per category (fashion tops/graphic tees/sweaters + denim/bottoms/dresses + accessories/shoes/jewelry), what vendors are selling through the best, what sizes, sales by day/hour/week/month/team member, and finally sales by channel (social, online, live, in-store, vendor events).
2. Inventory Reports:
Aging (how old is the inventory on hand), BOM and EOM inventory (how much inventory do you have on hand total, and in what categories), Open to Buy (Based on next month’s projected sales less the inventory on hand, what do you have open to buy in each category)
3. Financial Reports:
P+L (profit and loss which is income minus expenses) and balance sheet (assets – liabilities)
While it may seem like a long list, a weekly date with your numbers will keep you up to speed and become a smarter buyer.
Q: Cheryl, buyers would love to know what to look out for when placing an order with a wholesale supplier — what are the most important factors to consider?
There are many best practices that we’ve developed as we’ve worked with many savvy buyers in the Tundra community. Below, I recommend three things buyers should do when considering suppliers.
3 Things Buyers Should Do When Considering Suppliers:
1. Ensure you can see a track record for quality
Everyone always knows product quality is important but it’s not always clear how to evaluate it. You may find it helpful to place a sample order to see if it meets your bar. Or you could just buy into the MOQ, but you’re really only getting information based on one order. It’s also important to establish if a supplier is able to deliver on time consistently. That’s why on Tundra we developed a platform that provides buyers with customer reviews. It includes pictures that show what products look like when they’re received by real buyers. We also provide supplier metrics like actual lead times and percent on-time delivery.
2. Push for clarity and transparency in pricing
Oftentimes wholesale pricing can be complicated and there are many hidden costs. For example, freight charges, sales tax, customs fees and so on. This isn’t an issue on Tundra. We actually calculate everything for you before you check out. If you’re buying directly from a supplier or working through a distributor make sure you know what the fully landed cost is. This way you won’t get hit with extra charges you didn’t expect. And if you’re seeing these additional costs creep in, that’s a red flag.
3. Get to know the brand authentically
Invest some time getting to know the brand beyond what’s in their line sheet. Learn what differentiates them from their competitors, what SKUs have good sell-through. And how best to merchandise their products. This enables you to make smarter buys for your store. It also helps you recommend the right products to your customers. On Tundra, we’ve made it easy to access more information about suppliers with our posts and #tags functionality. Brands can post content that’s helpful to wholesale buyers directly onto our site so you have all the relevant information at your fingertips.
This blog post is the second in our guest series with the Boutique Hub! Tundra and the Boutique Hub are partnering on buyer and supplier education to bring you more business-building tips you can use. See our first post on how to prepare for the holiday season!
Tundra is the modern wholesale marketplace that allows independent businesses to freely transact, scale and thrive. We sell and deliver products directly from US and Canadian brands to savvy businesses around the world. By eliminating transaction fees and markups, we empower our community of buyers and suppliers to keep reinvesting in their growth.
If you hare a new to Tundra, get $50 off your first order here.
THE BOUTIQUE HUB
The Boutique Hub is the central connection point for the global boutique retail industry. Connecting boutiques, wholesale brands, makers and industry service providers to connect collaborate and grow. Packed with 100+ hours of education, exclusive pricing and perks on supplies retailers use daily, plus a daily connection chat group thriving in the value of community over competition.
New to The Boutique Hub and not a member? Join us here.
Want more boutique business tips to your inbox? Get on this list with 10,000+ industry insiders.