Time and again I’m looking through a magazine and find something really great. It can be a purse, a piece of jewelry, a sweater, even a kitchen appliance. The real fun comes when you try and find the darn thing. I remember seeing these awesome key chains made from old Las Vegas hotel room tags. My husband is a huge fan of anything Las Vegas and I wanted to get him one of these great key chains. Much to my chagrin they were already sold out and since the hotel was no longer in business, it was a limited supply. I don’t know how many times this has happened, but the fact that it has happened more than once is a little disconcerting. Why do people spend a ton of money for a fancy magazine ad or feature only to have a limited stock?
If I had the opportunity to have an advertisement in a major magazine I would make sure that I had a huge supply. You can have the world’s greatest invention but if you can’t get an adequate supply together it may reflect on your product. That’s the tricky thing about advertising, you want to get the word out about your products or business but you also don’t want it to reflect poorly on your company. Having a product in short supply may show that you are not adequately organized or funded. I learned early on that the fastest way to lose a customer was to not have something in stock. People have a tendency to make impulse purchases, particularly for small items, and you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity.
While some businesses have built a reputation on limited editions or the scarcity of an item, in the day to day business world having something in stock is the best way to ensure customers. Since the recession I’ve noticed a slowdown in many stores replenishment of stock. Something as simple as low-sodium soup at the local grocery store has been out of stock for months. It is obvious that the grocery store is not trying to create exclusivity with soup, they just don’t have any. This reflects poorly on my local store and a customer maybe less apt to shop there since they know they can’t get everything on their list.
Since there are many factors that can interrupt a supply chain, natural disasters, strikes and moratoriums, it is important to find suppliers who can handle the work. For the average business your ability to product, supply or stock a product is more important than being the only guy who makes it. Some companies have built a reputation on having what nobody else has, but people shouldn’t have to hunt down a watch battery, socks or low-sodium soup, these are staples and many stores should have variations available. So if somebody really wants to impress me, have it in stock because I wouldn’t be asking for it if I didn’t need it.