Retail sourcing is the process of finding the right products from the right suppliers. “Right,” in this context, is subjective to your company’s specific circumstances. In any case, there are three main factors to consider when sourcing your products.
In order to consistently provide for your customers, you’ll have to find suppliers who are just as reliable.
Take a look at their current customer base. Generally speaking, if a supplier’s list of clientele includes big-name brands (in your industry and overall), it’s a sign that they’re the real deal. Social proof (such as case studies) can provide further information regarding your supplier’s reputation.
Identify companies that not only have experience working with brands like yours, but also show signs of continuous growth over time. Often, this is a good sign for retailers who have their eyes set on scaling sooner than later.
Ideally, you want to work with suppliers who make receiving as simple as possible.
One of the key areas of consideration is geographics. The closer a supplier is to your warehouses and/or retail stores, the better.
Also, consider their transportation methods and capabilities. While a supplier may have the capacity to manufacture your products to different scales of production, they might not be able to reliably deliver merchandise due to issues with transport.
If operating internationally, be wary of any laws or regulations that may hinder your ability to work with a given supplier. Whether it be trade laws, product restrictions, or any other such legislation, know with certainty that you’ll be able to work with a supplier both now and as you expand.
Cost is a major factor when sourcing your products or materials. Look for a supplier that offers the most economical price for their products.
The idea is to find the right balance that allows you to operate at full capacity, while not overextending your capital in doing so. (By “quality,” we mean both product quality and quality of service)
Again, if your business operates internationally — or might do so in the future — you’ll want to factor in the cost of tax, shipping, and the like when working with a given supplier.
The suppliers you choose to work with can often determine the course your retail business takes moving forward.
Your goal, then, is to find suppliers that are always ready to provide for your company — and do so in the most cost-efficient manner possible.