By Rieva Lesonsky
There’s a ton of opportunity to be had (as we told you last week) by participating in Alibaba.com’s March Expo. The annual special event lasts through the month of March. Of course, the deals, discounts and promotions are a powerful lure to get you to the explore March Expo.
But that’s not the only advantage. As retailers and e-tailers you’re always at least partially guessing what your customers want to find in your store and on your site. And all too often, merchants are afraid to wander too far from the inventory that seems to “always work.” But times change, fashions trends come and go, and demographic markets shift. If you don’t keep up with these market shifts, your business will suffer.
One easy way to stave off this fate is to constantly test your product mix. Keep what works but pay attention to the latest trends and add some of those to your merchandise. For instance, this year The TrendSpotter says bike shorts will be a summer fashion staple. While that may not sound new, it is when they’re paired with blazers. If you want to test the trend with your customers check out these shorts from Yiwu Pretty Clothing. They’re not only participating in March Expo, but they’re one of this week’s weekly deals.
On the home décor front, succulents are still hot, but there’s also new demand for “retro plants”. And, of course, plants need pots—and these from Guangzhou Supvoo Packaging are also on special this week.
Expand your inventory
Expanding your inventory is another way to keep your current customers interested in your offerings and attract new buyers as well. At first, it’s smart to target your same customer demographic, just “tempt” them with new products that complement what you already sell. For example, let’s say your target is adult men. Perhaps you sell men’s clothing or sporting goods. Set aside a small space in your store—or on your website, and add some men’s grooming products. Men’s skincare is booming right now and the products are small, so they won’t take up much room in your store. Beards are in right, now, so men are buying products like beard oil (and other accessories). You can try some out in your store or site— Guangzhou Daieme Cosmetic Co. is participating in Alibaba.com’s March Expo and offering discounts all month. But if you order this week, you can get 30% off, since they’re part of the March Expo weekly deals.
Target new demographic markets
Do you sell women’s accessories? Can you add products targeting male customers? Women’s handbags are a fashion staple, but now many men are carrying bags as well. These men’s canvas satchels from Xiamen Top Great Technology are a popular style and one of the March Expo weekly specials.
These are just a few ways to boost your small retail or e-tail business. We discussed some other ways in a chat on Twitter. If you missed it, our friends at Fundbox did a great summary here. Of course, you can do these things—test products, expand your inventory and target new demographic markets any time—but why not do it now during Alibaba.com’s March Expo where you can explore ways to grow your business and save money at the same time?