Buying Into a Buying Group
Most of our Marketing Mondays tactics revolve around building a customer base and increasing revenue, but there is another side to this equation that doesn’t often get mentioned: reducing your costs and using those opportunities to build a customer base. Buying into a buying group can make more than common sense; it can make financial and marketing sense.
Buying the minimum is rarely a good idea, but for those who want to try out a line, it’s often the default because they don’t want to invest too much in an unproven product. The challenge with this approach is you often end up with too few products to make any real impact with your customers—they barely see the product at all. It’s often a lose-lose proposition.
Here is where a buying group can come in handy. By aligning yourself with similar like-minded businesses that are not near your geographic territory, you can not only buy in greater volume and thereby decrease your per unit cost (saving you money), but you can benefit from the knowledge of proven sellers in other territories and increase your buy in order to make a merchandising impact.
So how does this translate to making marketing sense? When you’re buying as part of a group, you also gain the benefit of a larger group’s opinion, as well as their thoughts on how to merchandise the items, promotional ties, and really thinking through who the product would appeal to. You can share messaging points, graphics, and even advertising of this particular product. It becomes more than just another item in your store. Instead, this produce becomes part of a larger story you can tell in your shop.
The other benefit is what you can share with your customer about the product from customers in other parts of the country because you’ve (hopefully) learned new things and new ways to sell this product from others within your buying group.
The bottom line of buying groups is even richer than straight numbers. We’re in this business because we enjoy connecting with people, and marketing doesn’t have to be seen as a way to pull one over your customers. That’s not the point. Marketing is about finding a way to connect with people on their terms. There are reasons some approaches with customers work differently and why a variety of marketing approaches need to be employed to reach them. They don’t want to be “sold” to—they want to connect with you or learn why this particular product or service will make their lives better. By sharing real-world examples from others, you’re helping them make that connection.
Marketing doesn’t have to be done in a vacuum or as a solo project. Technology today allows us to connect with others instantaneously, even if they’re several time zones away from us. Sharing crucial sales and marketing information is a very easy and cost-effective way to boost profitability—increase sales and decrease costs—in this ever-changing retail and wholesale landscape.
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