How do you keep in touch with the brands you source your merchandise from? Do you use software in addition to your personal contacts?
Sourcing new products, getting in touch with the brands and keeping the relationship alive and stable has been at the heart of every team. This core of relationship building will never change but we at FashionTrade.com believe that it can be aided. As a representative or owner of your retail store how do you best like to spend your day? What are those activities that take 20% of your time but bring the highest gains? We believe that with the increasing availability of technological solutions it becomes more and more easy to figure out the best ways to spend our time and to leverage that time smartly.
There are many apps that make sourcing easier
One of the biggest issues we all face is time, better said the lack thereof. The morning starts out well, full of plans and enthusiasm for things to do but before you know it it’s already 4pm and besides keeping up with your day to day activity you have had little time to find new promising labels. We believe that technology can help you spot interesting brands and make the process of purchasing from them much easier and quicker.
Smarter sourcing with online technology
The old way of sourcing was attending fashion shows throughout the world or knowing the right people in different places. Today however, the internet makes brands much more visible and approachable. Tools like mention, Google alerts or socialmention help you scout the web for the next big trends. What are people talking about? What hashtags are used where and in what context? Which labels are increasing their reach tremendously? On top of looking for others you can use mention or Google Alerts for your own business as well: What are people saying about you? Monitor your own reputation online and keep track of competitors, special keywords and hashtags.
Start the conversation
Ones you have detected new brands that you would like to get in touch with the next challenge awaits: How to approach the brand? Shall I just call the general hotline for customers? Shall I jump in the car and head to their offices? Online platforms like Xing and Linkedin let you look up the brand and if they have updated their information find the right person to speak to. You might be looking for the sales manager or sales representative and looking through the brand’s employees online you will be sure to find him or her with most likely advice on how to get in touch. Keep your own profile up to date, choose a nice profile picture and an adequate description and you’ll be more likely to get a positive response.
Some CRM tools like nimble do this job for you and create a holistic overview of all social accounts and activities of your prospect directly in your CRM or inbox. In addition to Linkedin or Xing your prospect might be active on Facebook or Twitter and you can thus already discover some more about this person before reaching out.
Set up a meeting and following up
The next step after reaching out to your prospect is getting in touch via phone or in person in a meeting. If your prospect has already given you a clear indication about the time availability it’s easy but most of the time it’s a back and forth with different calendar invites until you find a slot that suits you both. With tools like calendly or needtomeet you can send your prospect a simple calendar where he or she gets to pick the time slot that best fits based on your availability. This way you can be sure that you will be available and you can give your prospect the choice. An easy and sleek experience that most people remember. Both calendly and needtomeet then automatically update your calendar, be it Gmail, iCloud, Outlook or another, and send you a reminder a bit before the meeting is supposed to start.
You shake hands, talk and end the meeting hopefully on a good note. Maybe you want to follow up to have more information, speak to another person or to directly place your order. A follow-up is just as important as an introduction most believe. And so it comes that everybody has their own speciality and technique and some very clever tools like your CRM will make your life easier helping you remember.
Do a part of this with us at FashionTrade.com
With FashionTrade.com you can automate some of these steps to improve your sourcing process and save time and money all the while. What is FashionTrade? An online platform where brands and retailers can discover each other, connect and do business. That is the core of it and it means that the barrier to access a brand has been lifted, that you can source all your merchandise in one place thus saving time and that you can make better business decisions since all your information is aggregated in one place.
You haven’t heard enough yet? See our sections dedicated to retailers who are looking to source the hottest brands here.