I have quite publically stated that I have resolved this year to do all my Xmas shopping with Independent retailers. As a toy wholesaler we sell mostly to Independent retailers (although we also work with the nicer multiples such as John Lewis and Cath Kidston) and I think that if you are good enough to buy my fairtrade knitted and crochet toys then I want to return the favour
I did originally think that I would set myself a target, ie minimum 50% of Xmas gifts from Independent retailers but decided that if I went for 100% then I might slip to 90% whilst if I set a target, even if it was 80%, it was still accepting that I might buy some from multiples.
So why would I buy from Multiple retailers?
The main reason is going to be price. However are they really cheaper? Or do they just offer a product manufactured to hit a certain retail price point? If I wanted to buy a certain branded product, ie an Ipod, then price would be everything. But if I want to buy a T shirt then surely I can find a T Shirt which is more attractive/stylish but not owned by 100,000 other people in an Independent shop.
As a soft toy wholesaler when we design our toys we don't start at a price we start with a concept and a colour. Some of our toys are above £10 trade but when you see how well Humpty Dumpty, our most expensive toy sells, you know that its the design that sells our toys
Which brings me to the next reason why I might buy from Multiples
Its just so easy to go in to a Multiple retailer and fill a basket of goods which are good enough for my legions of nieces and nephews. But as a retailer its easier for you to buy from a larger wholesaler with a larger range of not so nice soft toys where you can combine many product categories in to one order
So this year to make sure that I don't take easy path I am starting early, and not leaving everything to December
Today, 27th October, I bought my first Xmas presents
The reason it happened today was quite easy. I received 2 emails, one from Seasalt and the other from Tate Gallery. Even tho I have dozens of things to do they grabbed my attention. Tate Gallery gave me a voucher with 15% off until 1st Nov and Seasalt had items in a flash sale, again until 1st Nov.
That meant I had to look quickly, and so I was diverted in to browsing their websites. I bought from Tate some quirky jewellery priced from £4.50 to £17.00 and a bag at £15, and from Seasalt I bought 2 skirts, one of which was in the sale and one of which was at full price
So I have a question and a suggestion.
Question - Does the Tate count as an Independent? The items I bought were from UK designers who make the items themselves so I think that counts. Do you agree?
Suggestion - Please send me your emails. I have a large family to buy for but no babies so if you are just aimed at under 5 yrs old then its unlikely I will buy from you. I do have a lot of teenagers to buy from so if thats your market I would love to get your emails. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don't currently do a sales email this Xmas might be a good time to start. It costs very little and given that industry estimates think that under 10% of consumers will not buy online this Xmas, now is a good time to start.
Just as a personal point I was motivated to open the emails and visit the website because of a money off headline. The Tate gave me 15% off everything which I think lost them money as I would have bought some of the items even at full price. Having said that they took the first £40 of my xmas shopping which won't now be spent with someone else. Seasalt had specific items in their flash sale one of which I really wanted, and once I had one thing in my basket it seemed silly not to buy something else to justify the carriage charge.
So thats me started. I'll let you know how it goes from here
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