In retail, it can be tough being the little guy. You’re up against big and recognisable brands with considerably larger marketing budgets, and a fickle – and increasingly impatient – consumer. You grapple with demanding landlords, mounting costs, and thin budgets.
Inventory management, from products to pricing, and the logistics of delivery, replenishments and returns have you running ragged.
Time and money are rarely, if ever, on your side.
Outsourcing seems like a good idea, but sometimes, traditional fixed costs pricing mechanisms can be staggering and the solutions simply don’t match up to what you actually need.
Here are five things you should look out for when looking for someone to lean on.
- Use solutions that are scalable. If you’re going to be outsourcing portions of your day-to-day logistics, you want a vendor that can accommodate both the peaks and troughs, and shape their solutions accordingly;
- Look for vendors that do not charge fixed costs and, instead, allow you to pay for what you use. That way, you’re not simply wasting money on resources that you won’t use, or investing in solutions that won’t grow with you;
- Pick a vendor with the capacity and skill set to understand your products and how to best manage them. Whether they are big or small, or fragile items, your vendor should be able to customise a solution to suit, allowing you to maximise both storage and retail merchandising space;
- There may be no such thing as cheap, fast and good, but quality doesn’t need to cost the earth. Pick a vendor with a track record for high inventory and order accuracy, and can guarantee a short fulfilment time between order and despatch;
- Choose an integrated inventory management and logistics system that helps iron out the kinks from the time your stock comes in to the time it reaches your customer, and provides information to you at a glance and in real-time. Having a clear picture of your inventory movement means you’re more nimble and make better business decisions;
Ultimately, find a partner who understands that your size matters, and helps you deal with the unique challenges – and opportunities – that it presents.