Author Topic: How do shops pick product?  (Read 1018 times)

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Madam, I'm Adam

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How do shops pick product?
« on: November 21, 2021, 07:54:18 PM »
What I mean by that is, how do shops determine what product theyíll carry? Paying attention to skate media, insider tips and gossip, overhearing customers talk, personal preference, lurking Slap, visiting tradeshows, being told what to carry by reps?  All of the above? Just curious

nevrwasben

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2021, 07:58:05 PM »
What I mean by that is, how do shops determine what product theyíll carry? Paying attention to skate media, insider tips and gossip, overhearing customers talk, personal preference, lurking Slap, visiting tradeshows, being told what to carry by reps?  All of the above? Just curious
All of that, plus what accounts can they actually get.
Not every shop is able to carry whatever product they want.
Thereís proximity issues/contracts with some brands, minimum order qty stuff, so on and so forth.
Awaiting actual shop heads to drop in and advise details beyond thisÖ

WideFeet

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2021, 09:07:54 PM »
Shop head here.

Iím apart of my local scene, so when we opened, I had a good idea of what our community liked as far as boards and what could potentially do well.

When it came to apparel, I knew the popular stuff would be the apparel from the popular board brands, and Thrasher obviously. I knew Dickies were getting popular, so we got open with them for pants. Got Volcom because they make a quality product.

Shoes is the toughest thing. Iíve seen plenty of skate shops open without shoes, but we wanted to start by having everything we could. Shoe brands are really hard to lock down, so we just got any brands we could.

Besides all that, we just stocked brands that we like and believe in. Tried to stock a lot of newer brands that were coming out to see if it would do well. Iíve found that in my area, unless the customer is a skate nerd reading every Thrasher and watching every new video that drops, they wonít know what most brands are. Unfortunately, I would say that 60%-70% of our clientele. That means itís our job to educate everyone. Tell them why these brands are sick. Throw on the latest videos to promote the brand that weíre carrying.

Sorry, starting to ramble. Reps will suggest stuff to put in the shop. They will let you know what shoes are selling well. What pants do the best. Basically, what sells the most. Reps always want you to succeed, which is awesome.

Trade shoes help a lot. Thereís not a lot of them anymore, and not a ton of people show up to them, but that was the way we were able to get Dickies, Baker Boys, and some other great brands that we still carry. A lot of sales reps work for multiple brands.

Send me a message if you have any other questions. I could talk shop all day.

 

Hyliannightmare

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2021, 01:34:33 AM »
There is this one shop here in Florida that clearly the guy just orders what he wants, it's all old school wide shit, rails, Indys. He's a real high white socks, vans, cargo shorts, flannel with a white antihero shirt and hat kinda guy. Go faster, pay your dues,fuck wax, fuck the Olympics. 

rocklobster

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2021, 02:30:11 AM »
There is this one shop here in Florida that clearly the guy just orders what he wants, it's all old school wide shit, rails, Indys. He's a real high white socks, vans, cargo shorts, flannel with a white antihero shirt and hat kinda guy. Go faster, pay your dues,fuck wax, fuck the Olympics.

Easy decision matrix:
If it's hesh - stock it in store
if it's fresh - don't stock it in store

The problem only come with guys like GT who can blast a mean FS Air but dress in fitting pants without a mesh cap.

Mbrimson88

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2021, 02:40:21 AM »
It is an interesting one, of which I have seen both sides, from big corporate chains to small individual / independent shops.

Both have their ups and downs, but getting it right is often a much more difficult job than what people might think.


If we are talking big corporate shops, it is often the very specific role of a buyer to try to get in the most product for the lowest price, often almost taking some distributors to the cleaners, but with such a huge budget and massive buying power, they can afford to be quite nasty to the companies who want to get their product in such stores.

They will usually stock anything that is deemed to be the next big thing, or brands that have made it big, or have significant backing, more than smaller brands that may not have decent margins or enough stock to fill minimum order requirements, or anything that is a bit of a chance, although I have seen some curious purchases over the years from some buyers.


For the more independent shops, including single or multiple store options, often a much more skate orientated culture exists within the shop, usually with skaters working there, so there is a much better understanding of what brands and products are relevant to people in and around the local skate scenes, so in turn whoever is buying product for the shop will have a good grasp on what to get in, what works, what sells, what not to get in, etc.


When it comes to small single operators, it is often more so what they like, be it brands or certain tastes or looks, so can be very much more specific things, not necessarily the top brands, or even what the local people want, if they can get it.  Buying power is minimal so unless they have good relationships with distributors, they can easily miss out on the best deals or not make minimum order requirements, which means they can miss out on new stock drops.


The brands of product and amount of stock is dependent on both the shop having funds to buy, as well as a relationship with the distributor, along with the distributor actually having the stock too.  Might not seem too bad now with minimal shortages, but this time last year there were shops with almost none of the core staples and big brands that had no stock out there at all.

If the shop does not have an account with a distributor (for whatever reason) they will not be able to get any of those brands through the regular channels, but still might be able to get certain brands from a small mid level distributor, which I have seen happen, which then caused more issues for the shop and not something that needs any more detail here.

Lastly Reps can do a really good job in helping shops get what they need, but they can also do the opposite, sometimes talking shop owners into buying a whole lot of product that might not be at all good for the shop or area, as I had seen with one particular rep and a few local shops, so it always pays to do enough research and get the full picture.


The way I see it, from running a small shop for a period of time, my plan is to always be able to afford enough of the basics, the staples, what is a regular product you should have all day every day, but then to put aside some funds and also get a bit here and there of other more obscure brands or product that are more risky or a bit more out there, which may or may not sell.  I am not talking the weird and the wacky brands or products, but just not the sort of thing I would normally get in.

I would also keep an eye on whatever was on sale from distributors, as well as buy to take advantage of any offers that distributors had, eg percentage discounts for certain numbers of product, or offers like buy ten decks get one free.  Having prebooks (orders that you can choose product from up to six months in advance) can be good, but can also be tricky to plan for, but sometimes it is the only way to get new stock as some distributors will only bring in pre book product for certain drops.  At least you don't have to pay for the product until it arrives, but always making sure you have never left yourself short of funds is a big issue with this sort of thing.


I think that is about it for now, but as a shop person, I feel like it is poor form to ever run out of things like grip tape, deck bolts, bushings, pivot cups, nuts, washers, and standard sizes of wheels, raw trucks and decks.  With the issues and shortages during the pandemic, there were some things that couldn't be helped and many big brands were out of stock almost everywhere, so that is a different situation, but when some places constantly run out of stock before they have ordered more, it really leaves a lot to be desired and can have significant impacts on business, losing customers and all that sort of thing.


Sorry for taking up too much space and time, if you didn't find that helpful.  A few lines turned into a whole lot more than I had initially planned to write, so with that, I will stop and hit Post.


I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.

rocklobster

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2021, 05:43:41 AM »
I think that is about it for now, but as a shop person, I feel like it is poor form to ever run out of things like grip tape, deck bolts, bushings, pivot cups, nuts, washers, and standard sizes of wheels, raw trucks and decks.  With the issues and shortages during the pandemic, there were some things that couldn't be helped and many big brands were out of stock almost everywhere, so that is a different situation, but when some places constantly run out of stock before they have ordered more, it really leaves a lot to be desired and can have significant impacts on business, losing customers and all that sort of thing.

Can't call yourself a skate shop if you don't stock the little bits and bops that are essential to skateboarders. Hardware, bushings, Shoe Goo, pivot cups etc. Stuff that is a pain to stock but something all skateboarders need. And a good set of of tools like pliers, a file and a rethreader.

I've seen a shop that didn't stock bushings, and told the new skater to just buy a new pair of trucks.

Mbrimson88

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2021, 04:17:31 PM »

I've seen a shop that didn't stock bushings, and told the new skater to just buy a new pair of trucks.


One guy sold a kid a new set of trucks cause he couldn't be bothered getting the broken kingpin out.

That is pretty lazy.


The funniest or worst thing I have seen is one shop owner / person didn't tell the customers they could buy parts, when just a deck was needed, so they had been buying completes for their kids.

They were blown away and then quite angry at the shop for not helping them with that simple bit of information.

I just happened to be in the area, travelling for work and saw them at a skatepark, got talking and found out like that.

The kid was getting quite good for a beginner, so could have done with a decent deck at least, compared to the cardboard / birch completes the shop was selling them.

Ridiculous!!!

I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.

rocklobster

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2021, 06:07:26 PM »
Expand Quote

I've seen a shop that didn't stock bushings, and told the new skater to just buy a new pair of trucks.
[close]


One guy sold a kid a new set of trucks cause he couldn't be bothered getting the broken kingpin out.

That is pretty lazy.


The funniest or worst thing I have seen is one shop owner / person didn't tell the customers they could buy parts, when just a deck was needed, so they had been buying completes for their kids.

They were blown away and then quite angry at the shop for not helping them with that simple bit of information.

I just happened to be in the area, travelling for work and saw them at a skatepark, got talking and found out like that.

The kid was getting quite good for a beginner, so could have done with a decent deck at least, compared to the cardboard / birch completes the shop was selling them.

Ridiculous!!!

Hammering the kingpin out is a pain if you don't the right setup of wood blocks and mallet, smashed my fingers trying to do that in my youth on fucking Royal trucks.

And I have shops here who list the DSM pricepoint decks (100% birch not even the hybrid ones) as Resin-7.

boogs

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2021, 08:36:50 PM »
Magic

truthislie

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2021, 10:53:20 PM »
The Shop I used to work in carried palace gear when it was still possible. Nobody of the hype kids really knew it and so they ended up selling some leftover tees for 5 Euros (!). Fast forward some time and I was so sick of kids that were clearly not skating asking if we carry palace or supreme every fucking day.

yourbreakfsat

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2021, 01:54:50 PM »
What I mean by that is, how do shops determine what product theyíll carry? Paying attention to skate media, insider tips and gossip, overhearing customers talk, personal preference, lurking Slap, visiting tradeshows, being told what to carry by reps?  All of the above? Just curious

From my experience:

Basics come first always. There's no point in trying to get niche stuff like FA or reissues if you don't have the most basic stuff (usually starting with DLX, NHS, and Skate One). Decks in the popular sizes (8"-8.5") that have decent graphics or just blank, silver standard trucks to varying sizes, a few pre-builts for kids, safety equipment, various skate parts and tools, and some selection of clothing and accessories.

After the most basic stuff is settled, then it's worth stocking up on what's hot in the scene. It's worth keeping up with trends no matter how you feel about them since it'll help with stocking product that will actually sell such as Polar Big Boys, 5.0 Ventures, and whatever pro/brand is in the spotlight.

Next would be getting a good shoe account which isn't as easy as it sounds. Nike SB is a no brainer since it sells well especially on Dunk release days (super annoying to handle the day before and the day of). I don't know how getting an account with them works (as my shop already had them before I worked there) but last I checked Vans requires that you be in business for 1 year before they'll consider you for an account.

After all of this then you stock what you want. Reissues, local brands (wish I could see more of these stocked), zines, art, etc. It allows you to show what you personally like while still being able to sell product if the stuff you like doesn't sell.

Recommendations by reps and insider tips may come, but they're just predictions and sometimes not accurate (ie rep says they anticipate this deck will be a best seller, but in reality another deck is a better seller).

Sometimes customers requesting specific product influences what gets stocked, but that's pretty uncommon unfortunately since not many people actually ask.

Also skateboard tradeshows exist? Nowadays new product is shown in an emailed pdf :v

WideFeet

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2021, 02:17:02 PM »
Expand Quote
What I mean by that is, how do shops determine what product theyíll carry? Paying attention to skate media, insider tips and gossip, overhearing customers talk, personal preference, lurking Slap, visiting tradeshows, being told what to carry by reps?  All of the above? Just curious
[close]


Also skateboard tradeshows exist? Nowadays new product is shown in an emailed pdf :v


Surprisingly yes, they do. Theyíre very small and usually only 40% of the brands that are showing are skate specific brands. Iím located in Northern California, and Gather is the one that happens out here.

TwisT

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2021, 02:43:38 PM »
Question for shop owner/worker. Iíve always had a theory that the shop could just ask eastern (or whoever distro ) to do one of the following

1.) Send me whatever you have on clearance; a shop had media and status decks when they first opened in like 2017. They also had ruckus trucks. I can only assume they ordered whatever leftovers they had in the back.

2.) pay a flat rate for a general hardwoods shipment and the distributor makes the selection.

TastyBurrito

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2021, 03:28:19 PM »
Expand Quote
Expand Quote
What I mean by that is, how do shops determine what product theyíll carry? Paying attention to skate media, insider tips and gossip, overhearing customers talk, personal preference, lurking Slap, visiting tradeshows, being told what to carry by reps?  All of the above? Just curious
[close]


Also skateboard tradeshows exist? Nowadays new product is shown in an emailed pdf :v

[close]

Surprisingly yes, they do. Theyíre very small and usually only 40% of the brands that are showing are skate specific brands. Iím located in Northern California, and Gather is the one that happens out here.

I miss ASR.

Sneaking in as a teen. Geeking out at all the pros. Then hopefully scoring some free gear from
vendors on the last day since most donít want to lug shit back.

Mbrimson88

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2021, 05:27:34 PM »
Question for shop owner/worker. Iíve always had a theory that the shop could just ask eastern (or whoever distro ) to do one of the following

1.) Send me whatever you have on clearance; a shop had media and status decks when they first opened in like 2017. They also had ruckus trucks. I can only assume they ordered whatever leftovers they had in the back.

2.) pay a flat rate for a general hardwoods shipment and the distributor makes the selection.


Yeah some distros definitely have that.

One local shop that opened near me had no idea (guy was from tattoo / bmx background and had a combined store) so just had them pick out product to the tune of $XXX for them, which was ok, but there were some weird options in that stock.

Most didn't really sell that well either, but it was not surprising, given the local interest.

I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.

rocklobster

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2021, 05:32:12 PM »
Question for shop owner/worker. Iíve always had a theory that the shop could just ask eastern (or whoever distro ) to do one of the following

1.) Send me whatever you have on clearance; a shop had media and status decks when they first opened in like 2017. They also had ruckus trucks. I can only assume they ordered whatever leftovers they had in the back.

2.) pay a flat rate for a general hardwoods shipment and the distributor makes the selection.

Damn I would love to get my hands on one of those decks, pure nostalgia for me.

smoothbrain

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2021, 08:30:32 AM »
Question for shop owner/worker. Iíve always had a theory that the shop could just ask eastern (or whoever distro ) to do one of the following

1.) Send me whatever you have on clearance; a shop had media and status decks when they first opened in like 2017. They also had ruckus trucks. I can only assume they ordered whatever leftovers they had in the back.

2.) pay a flat rate for a general hardwoods shipment and the distributor makes the selection.

I'm not sure how it works in the states but in the UK you have to be a shop for a certain amount of time before you can get any decent product (I think this is so you're not just a random guy opening an account with a supplier and getting loads of stuff for cost price and selling it on ebay or places like that) So maybe that stuff was the only thing they were allowed to stock.

But in terms of picking things to stock you have to almost look into the future and predict what trends are going to be especially with clothing we have ordered some tee's from brands that we think will fly out the door and by the time we get them into the shop that style tee isn't cool anymore, hardware isn't too hard to buy, as the pre orders aren't as far in advance as the clothing is.

Madam, I'm Adam

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Re: How do shops pick product?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2021, 05:53:55 AM »
Really informative responses, thanks dudes!