GUEST POST: Top to Toe’s Michael Bloom on selling online

Michael Bloom is the director of stock management and EPOS specialist, Top to Toe. In a series of articles, Bloom discusses the opportunities and pitfalls retailers face when deciding to sell on line.

Imagine this: You’re a retailer and working hard with 500 to 1000 different products per season to keep your local clients happy. You get a call one morning from a nationwide retailer who has space available in his shop window and will sell your clothing/footwear for you as long as you send him pictures and descriptions of the products you have.

Clearly this seems too good to be true, so you immediately ask how much it will cost. “There are different deals and prices,” he says, “It all depends on the window you want to appear in.” Perhaps he offers you a fee upfront plus a commission, but if that worries you then for others he’ll only charge you a commission on what you sell, or even just a flat £5 per week fee and no commission.

“How can you go wrong he asks?” he asks and it is beginning to sound like a good deal – so you keep talking. True, there will be other retailers using the same shop window but you are not the only shop on your own high street either, so competition is not a new idea for you. You are going to have to learn new tactics and perhaps source new products – but what an opportunity!

In fact, you eventually have to ask him if there’s a catch because you can’t really see one. He thinks for a minute or two and says that he cannot think of one either – but just remember you mustn’t give him anything to sell that you don’t actually have in stock. Other than that, it’s a no brainer.

So there it is. He is presenting you with a golden opportunity in exactly the same way the web is actually offering you today. You have the products available and you know that if you kept track of stock availability it would be a significant advantage to you to sell to ‘his’ customers across the whole country, so it’s a ‘no brainer’ for you as well.

– Michael Bloom

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