Maximize Your Market
Every January and July, the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market opens its doors to thousands of retail buyers – some who've been coming to Atlanta to shop for more than 20 years, others who'll come to Market for the first time. Whether this is your first trip to AmericasMart Atlanta or your 21st, there's always something new and always something special to make your Market experience pleasant, productive and profitable. The following tips and techniques are custom-made for retailers just like you who need to get the most out of the Market experience.
1. Use the Market Magazine – floor plans, feature stories and advertising – to plan your trip
AmericasMart Atlanta is a department store for retailers. It's conveniently and carefully organized by product centers and temporary categories to make shopping easy and efficient. Here's how to get the most out of millions of square feet of product using the Market Magazine and some strategic shopping tips:
- Read the feature stories located in each product tab section to hear from industry experts about ways to build your business within each market segment.
- Review the advertising in the magazine for the latest and greatest products exhibitors have to offer.
- Make a list of the merchandise categories that are important to your retail operation.
- Match your list to the product centers and categories on the campus map.
- Highlight the floors that feature your top categories (see floor plans here).
- Shop your top target categories first.
- Start at the top of the product category and work your way down.
- Window shop to get a quick look at what's where, making sure to highlight showrooms or booths that you want to visit.
- Save time and energy by using the many escalators and aerial bridges to move from one building to another.
2. Start Building Relationships
Just like in your retail operation, building and maintaining relationships with people you want to do business with is the key to doing business at AmericasMart Atlanta. Only in this case, you're the customer, and your relationships are with the vendors and suppliers who are your merchandise sources. Here's how to build meaningful relationships at Market:
- Remember that you are the purchasing agent for your customer and not the selling agent for the manufacturer. Keep your consumer in mind.
- From the very beginning, build your relationship with vendors on honorable, ethical and respectful terms.
- Remember that manufacturers are entitled to a profit- just as you are – and that any attempts to "chisel" pricing shows the vendor you're attempting to obtain more than you are due to receive.
- Set a quality standard for your vendors: Are they reliable? Is the product in demand? Is the pricing realistic? How is the service? Would you be comfortable having them affiliated with your business?
- Nurture your vendor relationships.
- As the relationship evolves, explore the availability of special discounts or incentives with your vendors – making sure to demonstrate your reliability as a regular buyer who handles payment promptly.
3. Make Writing Orders Your First Order of Business
A successful Market experience comes down to just one thing: stocking your shelves. To do that, you have to shop smart and buy aggressively. At Market, buying product means placing orders. Here are quick tips on how to place your first orders:
- Come to Market not only to review products and trends, but also to write orders to ensure you get the earliest access to the latest merchandise.
- Set your Market budget by determining the total funds you'll expend during your time at AmericasMart Atlanta.
- Bring your necessary credit information to Market.
- As you place orders, convert them to retail pricing to get a fix on the real value of the products purchased.
- Always include a shipping date on any order placed. And don't assume your order will be shipped until the date is confirmed.
- Always include a cancellation date on all orders placed, normally 30 days.
- Confirm freight charges to be added to your order and factor these expenses in to understand the full cost of your order.
- Ask about how the product will be shipped and how long it will take to arrive.
- Always keep copies of all orders to track and confirm charges.
-Don't forget to do the retail conversion: sales in your store are always at retail prices. Always remember to "think retail."
- Most importantly, follow the steadfast rule: buy what sells... not sell what you buy. Keep your consumer in mind.
4. Pack Smart
A Market visit is one of the most important business trips you can make. To be fully equipped and ready to go, make sure that you bring:
- Your business cards and registration details.
- A calculator.
- A simple appointment schedule.
- All credit information, including the name of your bank and financial trade references.
- Your resale business license or local sales tax number.
- A schedule of desired product delivery dates.
- Comfortable shoes to wear while walking the showrooms.
- Get a head start with AmericasMart.com to browse exhibitors.
Finally, enjoy your time at AmericasMart Atlanta. Navigating the Market is a huge task, but you'll do a better job of shopping for your customers if you plan head and allow plenty of time to enjoy your experience.