With 15 years in the gift basket industry, I have seen companies come and go, but in the past several months, during these difficult economic times, I have seen an undeniable increase in companies which are either for sale, or closing. Consumers still require baskets for a variety of reasons. How do you continue to survive and get consumers to spend their much coveted dollars with you during this downturn?
The gift industry is in a category all by itself. Many do not realize the amount of inventory necessary to offer the variety of gift baskets desired by consumers, as well as the many extra items like wrap, ribbon, packaging, boxes, etc. that all go into the design and shipping of a gift basket. It is easy to go overboard on purchasing these items. We must resist purchasing too much in order to keep our expenses in check. Things to keep in mind when purchasing inventory:
-Remember, when purchasing food product you will want to monitor your inventory carefully. Do not carry more than you can realistically sell over a short period of time. You want to be able to offer the freshest product possible to your customer. Old and out dated stock can be the end of your business, and having to discard over buys on a regular basis can put you in the red very quickly.
-Keep track of where your suppliers are. Are they located within a one day ship time? If so, you do not need to stockpile these items. If you know that you are able to re-supply low inventory within a day, there is no need to carry a large overhead. Although, it might seem responsible to order in larger quantities to save on shipping, it is more important to have a sustainable level of inventory, than save a few dollars on shipping costs.
-Are the items you stock available from several suppliers? Ask them to price match.
-Keep a detailed and categorized inventory list so that when it is time to re-order, you can order all the necessary stock from a specific supplier without forgetting anything, thus avoiding additional unnecessary shipping fees.
As responsible gift basket professionals, it is important that we watch our bottom line so that we are able to provide beautiful gift baskets at a fair price. If a customer knows that they can depend on us to provide fresh gift baskets on a consistent basis, you will be able to retain these customers regardless of the economic conditions. They will come to trust our dependability and be happy to pass the responsibility of getting an eye catching gift basket delivered to their family, friends and associates in a timely and affordable manner.