By Eva Van Strijp
Cloth nappies are a beautiful addition to a retail store – they open up your shop to a whole new group of parents that you may not have met otherwise, they add lots of beautiful colour and give you an edge over the competition. (Kmart doesn’t stock modern cloth nappies and Big W only stocks their own brand!)
But there are a few reasons that retailers balk at the idea of adding cloth nappies to their store.
Here are some answers to those concerns:
“I don’t know enough about them.”
- If you feel you don’t know enough about cloth nappies, be selective in the brands that you choose. Choose only brands that you trust will support you and have a track record to prove it.
- Choose brands that will provide you with staff training resources so that the onus isn’t upon you to teach your staff the ins and outs of the new range. Of course, it’s important for you to learn along with your staff, but you don’t need to be an expert when you’re just starting out. Let your supplier do the work!
- If your store is constantly busy and you’re concerned you won’t have the time to share your knowledge with customers, set up a video display near the product and have it looping. Many brands have fantastic video demonstrations and sometimes it just takes a few minutes of watching one of these to convince a customer that this is the product for them.
“The margins just aren’t good enough.”
It’s true. Cloth nappies aren’t known for their incredible profit margins, but there are some notable exceptions on the market. In addition, there are ways to stretch your stock dollar further, including:
- Take advantage of offers from your suppliers, for example, free shipping, periodic discounts or stock giveaways.
- If purchasing from an overseas supplier, combine your order with that of another retailer to save on shipping costs.
- Ask your supplier if they’ll consider volume-based discounts.
- Utilise marketing strategies that don’t cost a bomb – think social media, window displays, nappy workshops and your mailing list.
“It’s a lot of extra work to add the inventory.”
- Start small. Ask your supplier what their best sellers are and just start with those. Or, if your supplier says that all of them sell well, ask your customers what they want you to stock.
- Certainly cloth nappies can come in lots of different sizes, prints and styles, but remember: You don’t have to stock all 375 prints! But also remember – once it’s added to your website, it’s there for good. If you’re really strapped for time, consider outsourcing this task.
“I don’t have the shelf/store space.”
- One of the awesome things about cloth nappies is that they don’t take up too much space and they don’t require a giant mannequin to display them. One of the perks of cloth nappies is that they are small enough to create an effective display right there on your front counter.
- If you’re really pushed for space, consider discontinuing a slow moving or low margin product to make room for new, better selling alternatives.
Eva Van Strijp is a mother of six, founding member of the Australian Nappy Association and creator of Seedling Baby. When Eva isn’t hanging out with her family or running a business, she’s eating chocolate, listening to podcasts or tending her veggie patch.