Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Provendor First Look: April 2013

Provendor First Look

First Look – April 2013

Welcome to First Look, a sneak peek at empowering business information and insights, for PROVENDOR members only.

Dennis Dodson Discusses
the Rose Bowl Flea Market

by Gloria Mellinger, Editor

How to Source Returned, Overstock and Refurbished Items Online

by Rob Caskey, VP of Marketing for Liquidation.com

Rose Bowl Flea Market

Dennis Dodson is director for all R.G. Canning attractions, and he has been with the firm for more than 50 years. “The corporation started shows in 1957, and we started flea market and swap meets in 1968,” he recalls. “We’ve been promoting events, probably 9,000, over the years, including concerts, auto shows, motorcycle swap meets and a little bit of everything.” Dodson recently spoke with PROVENDOR about the Rose Bowl Flea Market, business challenges and market trends.

On the Rose Bowl Flea Market: “Our March 10th event at the Rose Bowl was the fourth best in the history of the Bowl, and we’ve been there for 42 years. Overall business is very good. We have a number of good things going for us. We have a high-end market with a hardcore antique and collectible area, and a tremendous amount of vintage clothing. We also have the new merchandise services, as well as arts and crafts.”

“Flea markets are growing in popularity with consumers because they are entertainment that is relatively inexpensive. We’ve kept the parking at the Rose Bowl free because the city is our partner in the venture. We pull in around 20,000 shoppers on a good day.”

“We have 2,400 vendors. About 60 to 70 percent of our vendors are repeat, and the rest come and go. We keep it fairly simple for our vendors. All they have to do is call us and book a space on the phone. It’s $25 to $100 to get a space.”

On the importance of advertising: “Luckily, the Rose Bowl has been here 42 years so it’s well established. It’s the largest antique event in southern California. We rely on word of mouth and continuous advertising. We do TV, radio, display, classified and the rag sheets—a little bit of everything. We move our money around. That’s what you have to do because you’re always looking for new customers. If you have a certain amount of money for advertising you don’t put it on TV and stay on TV, you move it from TV to radio, to display advertising, to the Internet. There is a lot in Internet advertising, such as Yelp and Yahoo.”

“We’re always looking for a bit of a hook. We have feature sections where we highlight different things that come and go such as pin swaps, comic books and baseball cards.”

On his market’s biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge is to keep your crowds up and keep your vendors happy. You’ve got to keep the advertising out there. Hopefully, the vendors will have the right prices and they’ll keep the public coming back. That is the same nationwide.”

On the weather: “Fortunately, we don’t have the major weather issues some of the East Coast and Midwest markets have. We get rained out periodically but nothing like back East. A lot depends on what else is going on in town. LA is the entertainment capital of the West Coast. We’ve got tons of competition. We’ve got Hollywood, Disneyland, sports, beaches and mountains. We’re living in paradise.”

On merchandise trends: “It varies. Here in Southern California, we’ve got the big box markets like Price Club, Walmart and Sam’s Club, so our new merchandise vendors have to find something you can’t buy at Walmart. If you can find it at Walmart, you’ve got to be able to sell it cheaper or you’re not going to survive. They have to find a catchy little trendy item, or items, whether it be clothing, a tire, something for the house, landscaping or plants that is either cheaper or you can’t find it at the stores.”

The Rose Bowl Flea Market takes place the second Sunday of each month in the parking lots of the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA. It is the largest flea market on the West Coast. R.G. Canning also hosts several other events in California, including flea markets in San Bernardino, Beaumont, Ventura and Orange, as well as many other shows and attractions.

How to source merchandise online

Flea market vendors can source products affordably and efficiently by tapping into trusted online sites that sell returned, overstock and refurbished items—aka the secondary market. There are numerous benefits to sourcing this type of product online, including greater product range, access to detailed product information, flexible quantities and shipping options, and a faster purchase cycle, which shortens the traditional buy-to-ship timeframe. Here are some tips to help you form a strategy when purchasing returned, overstock or refurbished products online.

1. Understand what kind of buyer you are. Your needs may be different than those of a boutique shop owner. As a flea market seller, you may want bulk, good-quality inventory across a variety of product categories available at a heavily discounted price to resell for a good profit margin.

2. Know your competition. If you are reselling in a potentially crowded marketplace, take a close look at what the competition is selling and how much buyer demand exists for the product you plan to sell.

3. Understand what you are purchasing. Look for online marketplaces that provide superior product information such as detailed product descriptions, digital images, shipping dimensions, condition codes and technical information, if applicable.

4. Know your condition codes. Products on the secondary market can range from new, light use and heavy use to refurbished, shelf pulls and salvage.

5. Select the right online vendor. Find a vendor that has ongoing relationships with the top retailers and manufacturers. In addition, look for a site that has service offerings to help you navigate your way through the sales process, such as email alerts for available product, search tools, My Account information and transaction settlement.

6. Calculate shipping costs. To reduce fees, look for inventory sources that have distribution centers near your geographic region and will either allow you to pick up your goods or will provide discounted rates on regional shipping. If you must source from suppliers that are not nearby, look for sources that have negotiated rates with major carriers.

7. Determine the right quantity. Make sure that you are purchasing the right quantity for your needs. It is typical that larger lots provide lower costs per item, but you don’t want to purchase more than you can sell.

Ultimately, flea market vendors must select the right online vendor, understand what they are purchasing and calculate their costs with a profit goal in mind. By following the steps outlined above, you will find yourself on the path to being a savvy online buyer.

Rob Caskey is VP of Marketing for Liquidation.com, an online sales channel for retailer returns and overstock in over 500 categories. Liquidation.com auctions products from seven of the top 10 U.S. retailers and e-retailers as well as from hundreds of mid-level retailers, offering buyers a consistent flow of quality inventory.

Provendor - FleaMarketZone.com - Sumner Communications, Inc.