Running a supply store is a bit different from running a normal convenience or department store. As a supply store, you focus on special interests, whether the area of specialty is outdoor equipment, church supply, or office supplies. Your customers expect your products to be more high-quality than general retailers who sell the same products. They also expect your employees to be more knowledgeable about whatever special interest supplies you sell than customer service reps at general retailers.
Believe it or not, no matter how high quality your products and accessories are, your company name depends on your ability to offer the best prices and other deliverables. Continue reading to get some tips to help you run a profitable supply store.
Build relationships with key distributors.
One of the hardest parts of running a supply store is that your area of specialty limits what kind of products you sell and who your customers are. Your customers have higher expectations of you than they do of general retailers and department stores. They expect your products to be high-quality and durable. Additionally, consumers will expect you to have the best prices on whatever your supply store offers.
For instance, if you run a bait and tackle store, your customers will expect you to have better and cheaper fishing gear than a department store that sells a little bit of everything. That means you must put extra emphasis on supply chain management so you can establish relationships with the best distributors.
Connecting with a good supplier is like finding your long lost business partner. When you establish a long-term relationship with a distributor, you can get perks like free shipping lightweight orders, lower shipping costs on bulk orders, and other benefits.
Offer freebies to loyal customers.
One thing that everyone loves is free stuff. Giving away inexpensive items is a great way to show your appreciation to customers and generate customer loyalty. If you run an office supply store, you probably get USB drive bulk shipments regularly. Being that they’re so inexpensive, you could give them away with purchases over a certain dollar amount.
Giving out 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB flash drives won’t hurt your bottom line if you give them away as an incentive to spend a certain amount of money. Furthermore, items you give away will more than pay for themselves in the form of loyal customers.
Hire passionate people.
The people you hire are always the most important component of your company’s infrastructure. They’re the ones who provide the expertise and customer service your patrons rely on. Being that supply stores sell special interests, you should hire people with a passion for the type of business you run.
If you run a church supply store, for example, it only makes sense that you would want your employees to be Christian and regular church attendees. When customers come to you for bibles, choir robes, rosaries, or supplies for advent, you want your personnel to be able to give sound, friendly, expert advice. Hiring employees who are passionate about your business is the best thing you can do for your customer service.
With online recruitment tools, you can find employees with the qualifications, experience, and interests your business needs. Also, posing your job openings to online job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor is a great way to attract potential new hires.
You need a social media marketing strategy.
These days, no company is complete without a social media marketing strategy. Social media may be better for supply stores than any other type of business because you serve a special interest, and social media is full of special interest groups. The more visible you are on the social media platforms people use most, the better it is for your business.