(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). The following is an opinion piece on a pressing issue in the intimate apparel industry, prefaced by an introduction by Nick Monjo, publisher of BODY.
(Retailers today are faced with a serious problem: how to compete on the retail scene with the very wholesalers who provide them with the goods they sell. Now it seems that many, if not a majority of, wholesalers are selling direct to consumers, often in online shops. Many retailers now complain that their stores are becoming "showrooms" where consumers come to view merchandise only to go online to complete their purchases, with another retailer or the wholesaler himself, sometimes at a lower price. Rodrigo Cano of Julie France is one man who believes that retailers, brick and mortar and otherwise, have an important place in the selling of intimate apparel. Moreover, he believes that wholesalers must recognize their responsibility in preserving the existence of the retailer. In early 2011 BODY reported on Cano’s creation of the Retailer Protection Society of America, "dedicated to the protection and promotion of independent apparel retailers across America," in his words. Here we provide a recent follow-up from Cano. — NM).
Rodrigo Cano, Julie France: "Before the days of laptops, smart phones, tablets and eCommerce websites, the retail world was fairly simple. Manufacturers would make a product, retailers would purchase that product from the manufacturer, and the consumer would purchase the product from the retailer. In this traditional retail model, everyone leaves as a “happy customer.” All parties understood their role in the market and all parties actively supported this supply chain. In this day and age, it seems that the once clear line in the sand has sadly been washed away.
Over the past decade, the development of eCommerce websites and online shopping have created a wave of innovation for both manufacturers and retailers. Sales transactions are no longer only inside of brick and mortar stores. Advertising is no longer displayed solely in newspapers and magazines. Manufacturers, retailers and consumers are all adapting to a world where convenience takes priority. This adaptation, however, has had an extremely detrimental impact on the retailer.
Most manufacturers have websites promoting their products to retailers and consumers. Many of these websites allow the consumer to purchase products directly from the manufacturer. In this modern online retail model, the manufacturer excludes the retailer by selling directly to the consumer. When manufacturers sell directly to consumers, they negatively impact the retailer in multiple ways. A point to consider is inventory. If manufacturers are forced to divide their inventory between consumer orders as well as retail orders, they deplete their inventory more rapidly, making it difficult for retail stores to receive their in-stock shipments. Who’s orders are really being prioritized?
When selling directly to consumers, manufacturers also have the option to sell their merchandise at a significantly lower price than the retailer can afford. Then, consider the fact that online sales often offer big discounts, free shipping and free returns. Manufacturers who sell directly to the consumer do not factor in a wholesale price point for the the retail store, nor do they need to pay salesman commissions. Therefore, they can price their merchandise so that the retailer has no room to compete. If the consumer can purchase a product online directly from the manufacturer at a overwhelmingly lower price, I must ask, why would they bother shopping at a local retail store? Within this ethical dilemma, we find yet another problem. Simply stated, manufacturers who are selling directly to consumers as well as retail stores are positioning themselves to receive higher profit margins at the retailer’s expense. This business activity forces many retailers to close their stores.
We are proud to say that Julie France does NOT sell directly to the public. Julie France’s goal is and always has been to support our retail stores, not to compete with them. Julie France pledges to never sell to YOUR consumers. Julie France’s role in the retail model, both traditional and online, is to promote sales between the retail store and the consumer. The Julie France website displays the product in a accessible manner, but encourages consumers to visit their local retail stores through our online “find a store” option. Furthermore, when a consumer places an order through the Julie France website, that order is automatically routed at NO COST to a local retail store for processing.
Julie France is a division of the Atlanta, Georgia based company, Tolbert Yilmaz Manufacturing, Inc. and has been providing high quality dancewear, body wear, and shapewear for over 30 years. Julie France sells to 55 countries and is recognized as one of the most significant and respected names in the business. Julie France is committed to supporting and promoting the businesses of our retailers. Keep your customers. Save your store! When Manufacturers sell directly to consumers, retailers risk elimination from the market.
For more information about Julie France, contact: Julie France Body Shapers, 1328 Union Hill Road Alpharetta, GA 30004 (800) 222-0026 Mia@juliefrance.com www.JulieFrance.com."
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