As a retailer, the secret to returning customers is selecting products and brands that will resonate with your customers and sell at full price. The GenZ audience is especially tricky to please, as they are constantly inundated with new products and brands. How does one select unique items that will stand out and keep customers coming back for more?
There are a couple of things to keep in mind during the merchandise planning process. First, choose unique brands that offer something different from the competition. GenZ shoppers are looking for experiences, so brands that can provide an innovative twist on a familiar product will be more successful. Second, focus on quality over quantity. Consumers are willing to pay for high-quality items with a story to tell, so it’s important to select products that are well-made and built to last.
Leading retailers follow this 7 point sourcing checklist to be sure they are picking products and brands that GenZ shoppers will love.
1. Social media
An increasing number of retailers are turning to social media to find new products. Gemma, a women’s fashion boutique owner in Melbourne, told us
“I thought social media was just for entertainment but when I started following emerging fashion brands I suddenly realised the opportunities available for sourcing.”
Look for products with a unique story or point of view. Start curating the right brands into your feed and you will get inspired every time you open up Instagram or TikTok. Brands have never been producing more content, and thanks to social media stats you’ll get a real time view of how things are landing with customers. It is a bit of a hassle to set up wholesale terms with individual D2C brands, but most of them are willing to give it a go. Or, you can save time by using platforms like Andisor that help you aggregate your buying from diverse sources.
2. Trade shows
THEY’RE BACK! Face-to-face events are back with a bang in 2022. Melbourne and Sydney get the lion’s share including the NRXpo on 11th May. Trade shows cater to different categories and are being organised all over the country. You get the advantage of seeing the actual products and meeting the founders rather than relying on online-only browsing. Plus you can bounce ideas around with other retailers and hear the latest industry trends.
As Bec Goulter, Director of Marketing and Events at the National Retail Association puts it, “Whether you’re a bricks-and-mortar, e-commerce retailer or a bit of both, trade expos like NRXpo will offer something for you. We have industry experts across a raft of verticals providing their insights on issues that matter to you. You may not be the only one facing a specific challenge in your business – dive deep in the community and find solutions.”
3. Scan your inbounds
We get it – your inbox is bursting at the seams with hundreds of emails from brands and reps asking you to stock their products. Screening these is time consuming and you’ll need to do your background research on the brands to make sure you’re de-risking your investment, but when you put in the hours, you will find the gems in there.
“It takes me ages to review all brands that reach out. Often, if there’s a quiet morning in the shop or a low-effort Netflix show in the background, I’ll work my way through the emails for the week and offer my calendar link to any brands I want to learn more from”
– Lynda, kids & baby boutique owner in Melbourne.
4. B2B marketplaces
There are plenty of Australian and global B2B marketplaces springing up, and they can provide you with a fantastic way to see hundreds of potential brands and products for your store. Make sure you understand the marketplace curation and selection process, and if there are humans you can speak with – the process becomes more personable. Australia based marketplaces, like Andisor, help you before you buy (including a free buying agent service), make personalised recommendations for brands and products, and support you with reselling any end-of-line stock.
“Sorting from emails and catalogues in the post is so time consuming. I was browsing on Andisor and came across these super cute Easter themed earrings for little girls. It was easy to buy and my customers are loving the newness.”
5. Find products that reflect your brand’s values
As a business owner, it’s important to make sure that your products reflect your brand’s values. This is especially true if you’re targeting the GenZ audience, who are known for being highly discerning consumers. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to find products that align with your brand. For example, you can look for women-led businesses or ones that source their materials ethically and organically. You can also look for products that support local businesses or communities. Not only will this help you attract new customers, but it will also encourage returning customers and build brand loyalty.
6. Point of Sales (POS) data
“I switched to using a cloud-based PoS and now it’s really easy for me to view detailed sales data”
David, a men’s boutique owner in Sydney.
Dive into your PoS data – it’s yours, so use it! It’ll give you a great insight into what’s truly selling well, confirming your intuition in some areas and giving you a fresh perspective on others. You need to be a little careful in using past data to predict the future, but sell-through trends split by brand, category and variants such as size will help you hone your sourcing.
In today’s competitive retail landscape, it’s more important than ever for shops to use all the data at their disposal to make strategic decisions. POS data can provide valuable insights into consumer behaviour and can help shops anticipate trends. For example, if a shop notices that its Gen Z audience is purchasing more organic and ethically sourced products, it can adjust its purchasing accordingly. Similarly, if a shop notices that returning customers are overwhelmingly supportive of local brands, it can focus on stocking items that appeal to this demographic. By using POS data to plan purchases, shops can ensure that they are always meeting the needs of their customers.
7. Follow the trends
The fashion industry relies on timely and up-to-date research to create products that meet the demands of today’s shoppers. Agencies like WGSN monitor trends around the world, tracking global shifts in social media and consumer preferences in order to identify emerging design concepts and styles. They analyse those trends to predict how they will influence the buying cycle, outlining key features, materials, colours, and silhouettes that are likely to be popular for the coming season.
By staying informed about current fashion trends, buyers can ensure that their products are always up-to-date and in line with what consumers are looking for. Whether you work in a brick-and-mortar store or own an online boutique, following the latest trends is key to keeping your business competitive in this fast-paced industry. Whether you’re planning a new collection or refreshing your existing inventory, it’s essential to stay attuned to these global trends so that you can make informed purchasing decisions based on their influence. After all, if you want your products to sell successfully, they must resonate with today’s shoppers! Andisor’s quarterly fashion trend updates bring meaningful insights to their buyers for free, so they can make the right choices.
If you’re looking to add some unique products and brands to your store that will resonate with your customers, digital buying is a great option. With digital buying, you can research and find unique brands that fit your customer base and that you can sell at full price. You can also use digital buying to get a better understanding of what products are selling well and which ones are not, and select products and brands that your customers will love.
How do you source products in 2022? Let us know in the comments! To know more about how digital platforms can help you get better prices and better terms, reach out to the Andisor team here.
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