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February 28, 2024

Why work with a buying group?

 By Anastasia Stefanova 

A Buying Group Can Make a Big Difference
in Your Store’s Success

 

Many furniture retailers saw their best years during the pandemic. Making home more comfortable, work-friendly or fixing the things shoppers have been putting off suddenly become a necessity. Best of all, they had the expendable income to do so. Retailers didn’t need to do much to see the traffic flow into the store.

 

As the pandemic continued, we took more and more people out of the market — shrinking our potential pool of available shoppers in the area in a short span of time. The slowing economy did the rest — tying off the remainder of the shoppers’ purse strings with a knot.

 

Retailers needed to pivot drastically and not just return to basics, but come up with new ideas to reduce costs, improve (or at least maintain) revenue and streamline inventory/operations in ways they have previously not had to consider before. Many have identified the need for partners that can alleviate some of the ebbs and flows of operating in the furniture retail space.

 

Buying groups are advantageous partners that can help reduce the costs of doing business and provide a set of resources to generate future business growth.

 

Buying Power to Reduce Costs

There’s power in numbers! Buying groups pool resources in a way the individual store is not able to. Working on behalf of the collective, they are able to negotiate volume rebates and discounts for retail members that they would not be able to negotiate on their own. These savings are often a massive benefit to the retailer – especially when trying to be conscious of the bottom line. Apart from better pricing, access to new inventory and lines can also sweeten the pot for dealers operating on a slimmer budget.

 

Programs and services to drive business

Participation with a buying group often means access to valuable resources through vetted business partners (sometimes at a discount). From career resources and marketing to consumer financing and credit card processing, buying groups can help you streamline a plethora of business needs like operations, inventory, financing and even staffing.

 

Networking opportunities to share knowledge

Probably the most invaluable benefit of working with a buying group is the access to other retailers. This opportunity to network, learn from one another and hear solutions from others who have been in their shoes can generate a wealth of new business ideas and solutions for pervasive pain points. Networking alone can stimulate a slow business into a thriving one.

 

Additional resources to lighten the load

Retailers are busy and often wear several hats within the organization. Working with a buying group can help retailers get much needed manpower and sometimes full teams of support to help with regular business operations, marketing, or other business areas that require a dedicated employee.

 

Partnerships to drive growth

Regardless of retailer size, a buying group will be a powerful partner for furniture dealers looking to grow their business. With a large partner (and peers) by their side, business growth becomes a clear destination versus a trial-and-error experience. Leadership, guidance and consultation help facilitate critical business decisions while optimizing the overall business budget. The best part is having all of these solutions under one roof versus navigating multiple partner relationships without any synchronicity.

 

Tools to enhance processes

With the right tools in place, business can become easier to manage, market and operate. From CRM systems and websites to showroom tags and digital signage, buying groups may have a variety of technology solutions that improve the way retailers do business. Not only do these tools help customers down the sales funnel, but they also simplify the process for the internal sales teams.

 

Choosing the right partner should be a process of evaluation. This means evaluating your own business, sales and marketing strategies and evaluating the buying groups themselves. Every furniture retailer will have unique needs and pain points that require solutions.

 

The right partner is available for any and every furniture retailer. Before selecting a buying group partner, ask some of these questions:

  • What benefits are provided as part of my membership?
  • What are my problem areas and where do I need the most help?
  • What tools are available to solve my business needs?
  • Do they understand my unique needs and have solutions for them?
  • What pieces may this buying group be missing?
  • What additional services may I require with additional growth?
  • Are services provided in-house or through third parties?

Buying groups have been powerful resources for furniture and mattress retailers even prior to the current economic times. However, with the rampant price-sensitivity in the market, increases to cost of doing business and the reduction of available shopper audiences, dealers may need to toss the playbooks of the past for a more strategic, cohesive approach to operating business.

 

A partnership with the right buying group can significantly improve overall store performance and cut costs, while putting you amidst a group of peers and leaders that all think alike.

 

 

 

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