I got out of bed today staring at a ghost. Who forgot to float away, didnt have all that much to say. Wouldn't even tell me his own name.
Non ducor, duco
there are rudimentary ways of assesing demand - if there is a [consumer] demand there will always be people searching for the term even if there is no supply. so tools like the google keyword tool, hot searches on ebay, google trends, google insights for search etc should give a rough indication.
grynge (November 22nd, 2011)
No competitors - virgin niche or no demand?
I have another option that I'm vaguely considering at the moment - launching a new brand into a mature market. Our current online site sells low value items (average GBP30 per customer order, including shipping) internationally both retail and wholesale, mostly to US, UK, Australia and NZ. We'd like to go upmarket to increase the profit per sale on the footwear part of our inventory, and concentrate on wholesale. I know of a South African manufacturer that produces a similar line to a very successful and heavily branded European range, but sells it much cheaper even in South Africa, where both are available. As far as I know they do not export at all, so I wondered what would be involved if they agreed to supply us. These are the things that worry me most at the moment:
- branding. Our brand is beginning to be recognised in the low-level espadrilles & berets domain, but we would have to expand our brand awareness to be a credible alternative to big brands, even if we could identify a small niche.
- branding again. The footware product I'm interested in was originally sold in pharmacies, and has a name that reflects this. To give an example that people in other parts of the world would understand, can you imagine Dr Scholl's branching into fashion footwear based on their standard sandal sole, and still using the Dr Scholl's brand name? We might get away with our own brand name, but then we'd have to persuade the manufacturer to make shoes with our brand name marked on it in some way.
What does the team think?
test with current customer base, test on heavily populated marketplaces and test to a few distribution/wholesale customers.
you need to work out if the price point you can retail at makes it worth ($$ wise) going through the process of manufacturing, importing, stock holding, advertising, PR, building a brand etc.
that test would also help in understanding if brand is actually important to your customer base.
Alternatively maybe you could survey your existing customers??
Chabrenas (January 16th, 2012)
Thanks, Golles. So far, The manufacturer hasn't even responded (the only contact point listed on their website was an info@xxx, so it probably got losy0, which may be a good thing. Now I can do some research and test the business case before making a more serious effort to contact them if it looks viable. I'm most interested in it as a wholesaling/agency opportunity rather than an addition to our retail range.
Update: E-mail exchange has established that the manufacturer only supplies its own retail outlets and a small number of pharmacies, all in South Africa, but some have branches in neigbouring countries, They do not supply a wholesaler, and do not ship directly to anyone. Looks as if it would be a very long haul, unless I can find someone who plays golf with one of the directors...
There's a line in the book "And Now All This" which suggests that the Spanish are too proud to export anything, but they permit the English to take away quantities of sherry from time to time.
In this case you need to take things away, rather than have them sent to you -
I would suggest that these people might deal with you if you can make the trade as easy as supplying one of those small pharmacy chains.
You just need a shipping agent to handle collection of the goods and send them on to you. Cost it out ...
Have you considered going to a trade exhibition? I went to 1 on Tuesday because there was 1 exhibitor who I thought might be of interest and came away with 6 very interesting leads from 6 manufacturers who were falling over themselves to help - they pay several thousand to exhibit at these events so are very keen to talk to anyone who shows an interest in them.
Much better than calling someone out of the blue, at exhibitions the pressure is on them to find new business, not on you!
Clinton (January 21st, 2012)