Within our collection or we can call it a line, not all items serve the same purpose. While some pieces help in raising our margins, some are better at attracting traffic and converting sales. So when we think strategically about how to decide which products to be launched into our line or collection, we need a good balance between attracting customers and making money at the same time.
Here are some of the tips choose the right products for our customers:
Focus on our key pieces of each line and see what works in the market -- it is impossible to create everything for everyone. To start with, we focus on products that sell well and present our brand clearly.
Make it memorable -- address our unique selling points and maintain our identity across seasons, so that we can keep our collection fresh but recognizable.
Always consider price -- the price must be in our mind as one of the top priorities throughout the process apart from quality and creativity. It is connected with materials, the design outcome, and potential customers.
Quality is the key -- quality is a combination of craftsmanship, materials, and even our brand’s services, so we need to constantly maintain it across areas that represent our brand.
In our brand’s case, our key pieces are divided into two types:
BB main line as our signature/fashion items -- what our brand is known for. We use this line as a branding image and profit generator (from a product point of view), which can be sold at high margin. Quality is our top priority for this line.
BB cheap as our core items -- items that build up our transactions and help us to attract customers. Price is our top priority for this line.
We can get a competitive advantage by carefully selecting how and where to source our products. These are some of the most important things that we have to consider:
How to source a factory/ supplier?
Ask for recommendations -- ask for recommendations from people with the particular category experience.
Attending manufacturer trade shows -- this is the most direct way to look for suppliers, usually applicable in other countries such as China. This way we can quickly understand whether the supplier is suitable for us and willing to work with us, as we can communicate with them face-to-face.
Look for a special agency who is experienced in finding suppliers or factories -- usually they already have a list of suppliers so we don’t have to start from scratch.
How is the selection process?
Look around -- don’t just contact one supplier, but also do some research and reach out to a few suppliers so we have backup options.
See past samples of their work -- ask factories for previous samples or conduct a factory visit to determine whether they have the expertise we need.
Get a quotation -- ask for a quotation of their ideal volume and production capacity, so we can know if we can reach their MOQ and if they can fulfill our incoming target.
Consider their quality control -- ask what their quality control standards are like. Factories with strict standards are more likely to provide good quality products, which will save us time and money in the long run.
Make samples before production -- request factories to make a sample and see if their work and quality meet our requirements. This can also save time from correcting mistakes afterwards.
What are the challenges and solutions of product sourcing?
1. The MOQ is too high
a. Offer to pay more for each piece for a lower MOQ in return. We just need to make sure that we can take the cost.
b. Reuse the same pattern with different colors and fabrics, they will consider them as one style, as long as the pattern and sewing steps are the same.
c. Negotiate and tell factories that we will work with them for large production in the future. We can also ask for their factory capacity to imply we have plans for larger production. We just need to make sure not to make promises we can’t keep.
2. Factory fails to meet our deadline
a. State our terms clearly about our actions if the factory is late in delivery, such as cost penalty
b. Add buffer time to our schedule in case there are any delays.
3. The final outcome is not as expected
a. Make sure the pre-production sample is accurate before the manufacturing starts.
b. Carry an inspection and always oversee the production process, it is a way to make sure the suppliers are making it right.