Festive Holiday Trends

Posted October 24, 2012 – 8:54 am in: Wholesale Closeout News

It’s cool and crisp outside. Pumpkins and mums are all around, and Halloween is 1 week away. This all signals the wonderful slippery, slope of the HOLIDAY season! Before we can blink we’ll be planning our Thanksgiving feast and gearing up for Black Friday, then more Christmas shopping and getting ready for New Year’s Eve plans. Parties, family gatherings, and special events are sure to follow.

Consider some fun fashion trends for each of the holidays coming up…

Halloween doesn’t mean you have to dress up as the Wicked Witch. If you just want to look festive for Halloween choose a cute orange piece and a pair of great boots. Or to get a little “costume-y” take your favorite LBD and add a pair of cat ears to create your own cat-woman costume!

 

Thanksgiving is a GREAT day to be comfortable. Usually it’s a chance to eat delicious food and spend time with family and friends. There is no need to be fussy about your Thanksgiving attire but comfort doesn’t mean yoga pants and an old baggy sweatshirt. Elevate your Turkey Day dress to something cute, stylish, and comfortable like using layers over comfy leggings!!

Christmas and New Year’s Eve can mean a lot of parties whether it is at the office, a friend’s holiday get-together, or a New Year’s Eve blowout. Each of these events may require a different style of dress.

The best approach for an office party is to stay professional in your outfit but jazz it up beyond what you would normally wear. Take this example that combines sheer sleeves and a touch of red on the hem. With some great accessories and beautiful pumps this is perfect for any office Christmas party!

A friend’s holiday get-together is the chance to have some serious fun…find a lovely sheath dress, or a fun oversize top to wear with patterned leggings.

And definitely do not shy away from the outfit opportunities on New Year’s Eve. This is the time for silver and black and fancy sparkle. A sparkly cocktail dress or a festive top over a bold colored skirt can be the way to go for a New Year’s Eve party. Even if you decide to stay at home New Year’s Eve, choose a fun outfit to ring in the new year.

 

 

These are the things your customers will be thinking about so make sure you are ready for the holiday season. We have put together an entire page HOLIDAY SHOPPING that features some of our collections appropriate for holiday merchandise.

We have scarves, collections of winter coats, cocktail and evening dresses perfect for holiday parties, and many more that your customers are sure to love come Holiday season. We will continually be adding collections to our Holiday Shopping page to ensure all of our customers are ready for the rush of Black Friday and the Holiday shopping to come!!

Happy Holidays…soon to come!

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Social Media Tools for the Retailer!

Posted October 9, 2012 – 10:27 am in: Wholesale Closeout News

Trending Twitter hashtags, “Like Us” on Facebook, check out this viral video on YouTube, pinboards on Pinterest – the social media presence is a phenomenon that is hard to miss. Social media has changed many ways that individuals communicate and interact with each other.

As a retailer it may seem daunting to engage in social media and if you are using social media, questions may arise such as am I doing this right? Should I join Pinterest or LinkedIn or Myspace or Twitter? We’ll attempt to highlight some keys things that retailers need to know when using social media and in the process equip retailers with positive tools to help in their social media implementations.

Social media acts as an avenue to reach people and distribute information in turn building relationships. Because of this it is an important aspect of any retailers marketing mix. Monitoring social media sites for a retailer can be time consuming, but it is also fun! Whether you choose to blog, use Twitter, have multiple pinboards on Pinterest, or update your stores Facebook page, consider the time spent as a positive reinforcer for your retail store.

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1. Don’t overextend

This is very important. There are over 200 popular social media sites and even more that are less common. There is absolutely no way to have a presence on all of these sites, nor would you want to. The best thing is to choose which social media site or sites best fit your business and your target market. For instance if your business relies heavily on photographs then create an Instagram or Flickr account. These photosharing sites could also be linked to your Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest account. If you are comfortable with your Facebook page and not so sure about these other social media sites, explore them a little bit. See if there is a way to incorporate one other network and link it back to your Facebook page. In this way you are driving online traffic back to your store and reaching a wider audience. But keep in mind do not overextend your social media presence. You don’t want customers searching for your Facebook page or Twitter account that has been dormant for 6 months. If you have a social media site you’re neglecting just close the account and focus on the ones you can manage because at the bottom line you want to …. Do it well!

social media

2. Do it Well

If you know you absolutely do not have the time to write a blog or even microblog through Twitter then stick to your Facebook page and DO IT WELL. (There are even ways to link multiple social media accounts. HootSuite.com is a great tool where you can post simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter). Add new updates, pictures, and other content regularly. The world of social media is constantly changing daily and if you do not take the time to update on a daily basis your content will get buried under everyone else’s. Spend time linking with other business’s content. Your customers do not want 100% promotion of your store showing up on their Facebook news feed. They want to be able to join in a conversation with you. Think about this – 80% of the information should be ‘pull’. It is so important to get a positive and interesting conversation started and this can be achieved by linking to relevant fashion articles, posting pictures of accessories your business really loves, or linking to an informative YouTube video about great fall styles. The other 20% should be pushing your stores products, promotions, and relevant content.

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3. Monitor the flow

David Dalk an independent marketing consultant says, “Engage every person, whether it’s a positive idea or a complaint, and show them you’re listening and reacting. You’ll gain fans. They’ll root for you to succeed.” This is so true. Part of the daily activity on your social media sites should be to monitor the conversations surrounding your content. Whether it is multiple likes and comments on an article you post, retweets on Twitter, or repins and followers on Pinterest, take the chance to specifically engage with these people. If they say something positive about a photo you pin on Pinterest, thank them directly and in that moment you have an opportunity to pass along some information about your own products or store promotions. Or if a customer has some negative criticism about something you post or an experience they have had with your store, you must address it! Others will read this comment and the power of online word-of-mouth can spread like wildfire and you want the fire to be positive. So, take some time to address complaints with an apology and take the chance to make things right and improve. Other customers will see this and feel confident about continuing to follow you and shop at your store.

 

The keys are simply to keep the content flowing, monitor conversations surrounding your content, and take the time to develop a social media presence if you haven’t already. Customers will appreciate being able to like you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter or Pinterest. You’ll be in a position to reach more customers and generate positive word-of-mouth about your business!

Here’s a challenge for the week:

  • If you are not using any social media at all – start one this week
  • If you are only using 1 form of social media like Facebook – this week branch out and explore Twitter or Pinterest or another social media forum (if it doesn’t work you can always close the account, but give it at lease 3 months!)
  • If you have an account open on every social media forum and a dormant blog and a dusty old YouTube account – close some of these accounts and brush the dust off the one’s you’ve chosen to give more attention to

Have Fun With It!!

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Who We Are + 15% Off

Posted August 20, 2012 – 5:10 pm in: Wholesale Closeout News

Madison Avenue Closeouts founded in 2004 by Lisa Sperow was incorporated with the main mission of bringing high-quality, upscale apparel to its customers at incredible wholesale prices. Your new Madison Avenue Closeouts team is continuing to carry out that vision with an edge that reflects current trends. Our goal is to invoke a feeling of satisfaction with each purchase based on the level of quality, style, and purchase price found in our products!

 

Madison Avenue Closeouts

The Madison Avenue Closeouts team now consists of DeDe Guest owner and president along with Clair McClure head of customer relations and social media. We also have great people including family and friends who have been so supportive and helpful in this re-launching process. We are so proud to be the next generation of such an exciting company.

 

 A little bit about DeDe…

Madison Avenue Closeouts, DeDe Guest

 

Living most of my life in Charleston, SC I had the great experience of working for a department store as head of in-store advertising and merchandising. I was able to put my background in commercial art and design to use for photo shoot styling, in-store displays, and floor layouts.

I would have to track my love of great clothes back to a NaNa who valued the quality and beauty of apparel. With this came the influence of a stay at home mother with 3 children in private school – that taught me how to find great deals.

During my beauty pageant days my mother, given a very slim budget, took an unimpressive, simple white dress and floor-length cape and she turned it into a master piece worthy of any pageant. Unknown to me, whether it was while I slept or was away at school, she hand embellished the entire cape in gold beading – I was flabbergasted!

Madison Avenue Closeouts

I learned then that with a great deal and quality apparel as a foundation, one can make something simple and unassuming fit for a queen!

This is partly why I feel so passionate about this company. Madison Avenue Closeouts is in a position of putting together great collections of quality apparel at fantastic prices often times well below wholesale. How blessed was I to find Madison Avenue Closeouts – a company with a vision and mission so in line with some of my greatest loves.

 

A little bit about Clair…

Madison Avenue Closeouts, Clair McClure

It is quite obvious that my love for great apparel and a good deal, most likely came from my mother! My mom and I have always been best friends – I know that may sound like a cliché, but it’s true.  We get each other and work great together. I have had so much fun helping her with the daily activities of Madison Avenue Closeouts.

After receiving an undergrad degree in Textile Management and a master’s in Merchandising, I am having a great time putting to good use all of those years in school. I currently live in Athens, GA and am pursuing a Ph.D. degree in International Merchandising. Seeing as Madison Avenue Closeouts operates as an online wholesale apparel company, it is so simple to work from wherever I am!

During my academic career I had the great pleasure of studying abroad in South Africa and the following year I returned to volunteer with a small craft business. I have a lot to thank South Africa for, in particular my husband (we met during my volunteer time in Cape Town), but especially for my excitement in regards to global issues and international commerce.

I am so excited to see Madison Avenue Closeouts not only grow in our United States market but in the international market as well.

 

We make a great team!

Madison Avenue Closeouts

Now that you know a little bit about us…we would love to know more about you!!!!

Anyone who leaves a comment before 9PM tonight telling us who you are, what business you’re in, how Madison Avenue Closeouts can assist you better, or any other fun fact – will have the chance to WIN 15% OFF your next purchase.

We will randomly select 3 winners by Wednesday morning. How Easy Is That?!?!

 

 

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Market Your Store – Effective & Productive

Posted August 14, 2012 – 8:58 pm in: Wholesale Closeout News

If you operate a retail store or boutique you have more than likely considered how to incorporate marketing into your business model. To be successful it is very important for a retail store to find an appropriate way to market their business.

Take advantage of advertising opportunities. Strategically put ads for your store in publications that will reach your target market. For example if you own a children’s store advertise in parenting magazines. If you sell cocktail dresses and formal-wear vamp up advertising around New Years and Prom season. Especially take advantage of local or regional magazines and city papers. In that way you are reaching your target market within your area.

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Window displays are very important as we mentioned in our previous blog “Increase Your Sales”. A window display is the medium which establishes your store image and draws in potential and repeat customers. Use the window to promote sales and special store offerings in an eye-catching way. Another great use of signage is sidewalk boards. Dress them up with funky fonts, catchy phrases, balloons, and streamers. This will entice people to come into your store out of interest and curiosity.

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Adding new customers to your base is important, but you must also market to your current customers. Take advantage of in-store promotions by highlighting sales, coupons, and buy one get one free. Place flyers or cute postcards about future sales in your customer’s bags or stapled to their receipts. Ask them if they’d like to sign up for your email list. From this email list send out weekly updates featuring new products, sales, and seasonal trends.

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A great way to kick off your store is with a grand opening. Also hosting a special event to re-launch your store or increase traffic is a great idea. Make this event something extra special so that customers want to invite their friends. Have your event catered or hire a DJ to bring an exciting atmosphere. You could even hire a stylist to assist your patrons with a custom wardrobe makeover. Make your special event the place everyone wants to be and you are sure to satisfy your customers and make some new customers.

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DON’T FORGET ABOUT USING SOCIAL MEDIA – It IS FREE!

We’ll discuss the keys to using social media in depth in the near future!

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Online Boutique or Store Owner?? THIS is for YOU!

Posted July 31, 2012 – 9:02 am in: Wholesale Closeout News

If you own an online boutique or store, you are in an incredibly unique position of reaching a wide consumer audience and creating a dynamic shopping experience for those customers. Operating an online boutique is different from a brick-and-mortar store, and there are important points to consider.

Customers are much more willing to re-purchase from an online boutique when their experience has met or exceeded expectations. The way for your boutique to become successful can be achieved in several easy steps.

boutique

 

Website Quality

If you operate a store solely online establishing your website is crucial. The website becomes an extension of your brand which reaches from you to your customers. Web site design has been a main driver of customer’s purchase intention. It not only demonstrates an aesthetic function, but also aids in search engine optimization which will drive traffic to your website. Website quality also indicates an online store’s ability to be trusted. Customers will view a store that takes care of and maintains a professional website as a store which will take care of them.

Make the investment to have a professional design and launch your site. It is also a great idea to use your web designer for help with site updates, changes, and any specific questions!

Before long your customer’s shopping carts will be full!!!!!

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Ease of Use

Another important factor for your customers is the website’s ease of use. It is very simple for online shoppers to compare products at other sites and within one-click switch to your competitor. The easier your site is to navigate the more time a customer will spend shopping your store. When your online boutique becomes a destination spot customers are much more likely to make a purchase.

Have your online store organized with categories, subcategories, a search bar for keywords, and an informative FAQ page. Also offering multiple methods of payment like PayPal, credit card, and wire transfers will increase ease of transaction contributing to the customers overall ease of using your website.

 

Product Descriptions

All of your products should have a concise description highlighting quality information. The novelty of shopping can often be lost when individuals shop online. Online boutiques can bring back the joy and fun of shopping by beautifully describing the merchandise and providing high-quality pictures. Multiple photographs from different angles are important, and clothing should be shown on a mannequin or model to enhance the wearability factor for the customer.

With adequate information about your products, customers will feel very satisfied before purchasing and will be less likely to engage in returns!

boutique

 

Use Social Media

Social media is a great way to reach your customers, create a personal relationship with them, and promote your online store. It does not cost anything to create a dynamic presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and through blogging. It will take time and dedication to keep up with your social media sites but the payoff is often great.

Your customers will expect to connect with your online boutique through social media. In this way, it is a great avenue for you to announce new products, highlight sales, and incorporate promotions and giveaways for those who follow your online boutique.

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Take some time to incorporate these steps organically into your online boutique.

In the e-commerce world things are ever changing, so be flexible, listen to your customers, and HAVE FUN!

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RETAILER UPDATE – Increase Your Sales!

Posted July 25, 2012 – 3:14 pm in: Wholesale Closeout News

In this retailer update the Madison Avenue Closeouts Team has gathered some great suggestions for increasing sales in YOUR boutique or retail shop. We know that many of you who order from us are in the retail business and do in fact own or run boutiques and retail shops. It is our hope that this info will highlight some great ideas you can implement into your retail business!

sales

It is so important to foster relationships with your customers and in that way ensure customer loyalty, increase positive Word of Mouth, and essentially attract new customers.

Here are a few ideas which can be implemented in any type of retail store or boutique.

Solid Customer Service

Sales associates should be genuinely welcoming and knowledgeable with all customers. Customers love feeling important and nothing will turn a customer away faster than a lack of service from non-attentive employees. Employees should be knowledgeable about the store’s merchandise and willing to assist customers first and foremost.

Your sales associates are the store’s most valuable asset as they bridge the gap between your loyal customer and a sale!

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Window displays

Window displays act as a visual medium for selling merchandise. A unique display will be what draws potential customers into the store. A visual window display should be tailored to your specific store and your target market. There is no need to go outside of your store’s style, simply take the opportunity to use a window display to entice new and repeat customers.

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Impulse Purchases

A positive way to upsell merchandise without appearing pushy is to encourage impulse buying. Place small accessories appropriate for your store near the register. These inexpensive items should complement your store’s merchandise. Jewelry and clutch purses for a fashion boutique, booties and bibs for a children’s store, or flip-flops and sunglasses for a swimwear store. In this way customers will see the value in adding these small pieces to their overall purchase.

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Not only is it important to grow relationships with your customers, it can be very beneficial to become visible within your community.

Take advantage of local marketing and advertising to increase traffic to your business. Along with this use any means which are free or inexpensive. Create an email list to keep in touch with loyal customers about upcoming sales, promotions, and new merchandise. Keep up with your store website and social media. The use of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others help customers feel personally connected with your store – and it’s FREE!

Put some of these ideas into practice to increase your loyal customer base…people will begin to see your store as THEIR shopping destination!!!

sales

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Lovely Lingerie NOW in Sample Collections

Posted July 17, 2012 – 11:31 am in: Wholesale Closeout News

The essential starting point of every woman’s wardrobe begins underneath her clothes. Lingerie which offers the appropriate support and comfort enables a woman to exude poise and confidence. The right bra and perfect pair of panties are the foundation for every outfit from the career business suit to the cocktail dress.

 

Lingerie Circa 1950

lingerie

Women depend on their lingerie to carry them through the day and that is why Madison Avenue Closeouts is thrilled to now feature Affinitas Intimates at wholesale prices!

Affinitas Intimates is a company that values the importance of lingerie striving to create a product which combines comfort, quality fabrics, impeccable detailing, and affordability.  These well constructed pieces are tailored to the needs of the female customer with a range of product choices, styles, and sizes.

 

Alice – Wire Bra & Hipster in Light Blue with Lace Applique

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Jolie – T-shirt Bra & Hipster in Leopard Print

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Tina – T-shirt bra & Hipster with Flirty Polka Dot Detail

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This international company strives to evoke confidence in their customers. There is a style for every woman within the Affinitas brand. From the perfect t-shirt bra to lacy padded bras together with hipster, thong, or bikini cut panties the Affinitas products are sure to appeal to stylish, fashion-forward women who value quality at the very foundation of their outfit.

 

Gloria – Cami & Bikini in Black

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Ingrid –  Triangle Bra & Hipster in Lacy Pink

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Cindy – Padded Bra & Thong in Yellow with Floral Detail

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Madison Avenue Closeouts is once again so excited to have the privilege of offering this quality lingerie to our customers at incredible wholesale prices.

Each traditional collection of Affinitas Intimates will feature 36 matching bra (size 32A – 38C select styles carry D-cup) and panty sets (S – XL). That is 72 pieces of luxurious lingerie in a variety of colors and styles, ready for display in your store!

As always we feature this product in a Sampler Collection! Our sample collection includes 12 matching bra and panty sets. These 24 pieces would be a great compliment to an existing lingerie store or for the retailer interested in including a small line of TOP quality lingerie to their product mix!

 

Elisa – Padded Bra & Thong in Leopard

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“If you’re wearing lingerie that makes you feel glamorous, you’re halfway there to turning heads.”

Elle McPherson

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Who Are Our Customers???

Posted July 10, 2012 – 12:14 pm in: Wholesale Closeout News

Madison Avenue Closeouts is a wholesale overstock distributor of high-end quality merchandise from leading department stores and specialty retailers. We are absolutely committed to bringing our customers great merchandise appropriate for their particular needs.

With this the question may arise…who are our customers? What is required to be a customer of Madison Avenue Closeouts?

We are excited to be in a position of providing the right fit for both large and small businesses. The large businesses we cater to are brokers, distributors, large independent retail stores (online or brick & mortar), and even our competitors – other wholesalers. Small businesses like boutique retailers, e-Bayers, flea market vendors, charities, individuals, or retailers just getting their start, will find great options for merchandise from Madison Avenue Closeouts.

There are no particular requirements in becoming a customer of Madison Avenue Closeouts – if you can meet our wholesale minimums, you can buy from us!

Why Madison Avenue Closeouts is a good fit?

We offer both traditional lots up to 100 pieces and sampler collections of only 12 pieces. This provides the small business and large business options for choosing which quantity is appropriate for their needs.

Madison Avenue Closeouts also offers a brokered pallet program for other wholesalers or very large retailers in need of bulk merchandise at a lower unit price.

Our merchandise features a variety of sizes from misses to plus and we strive to tailor our collections for the appropriate seasons with great options like lingerie, swimwear, suits, dresses, formal gowns, ready to wear apparel, coats, and much more!

We are also able to incorporate even more merchandise into our product mix if we feel a specific demand from our customers. So, please do not hesitate to ask us for something specific. We love hearing from our customers and we are more than willing to explore new things which fit our business model and our customer’s needs.

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for the retailer…FALL/WINTER Apparel NOW AVAILABLE

Posted July 3, 2012 – 7:50 am in: Wholesale Closeout News

Buying time is almost upon us…as stores, boutiques, and retailers begin to gear up for the quickly approaching Fall/Winter season. Madison Avenue Closeouts has put together some great collections of apparel for Fall and Winter to help jump start the inventory of our customers!! We are also excited to discuss some great trends of the season!

Once again Pantone has released the color trends for Fall/Winter 2012 – 2013. There are lovely colors including staple neutrals like taupes called Honey Gold and French Roast, a lovely silvery gray – Titanium, and a pink just above blush called Rose Smoke. These neutrals are complimented by bold hues like Pink Flambe, an Emerald Green, and the reemergence of the Spring/Summer popular color Tangerine Tango.

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Harper’s Bazaar also notes Bordeaux as the IT color of the season. Wine inspired red hues will be very popular not only in apparel but also in accessories like shoes and handbags.

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Fall and Winter apparel is always full of great combinations of comfy sweaters, knit dresses, long-sleeve blouses, outerwear, and an array of bottoms from skirts to slacks, jeans, leggings, and classic khakis.

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apparel

These seasons are also a great time to break out layers of apparel to ward off the Fall or Winter chill. Layering a great pair of trousers with a trendy sweater, scarf and jacket create custom looks for expressing individual styles.

apparel

Madison Avenue Closeouts has many collections of Fall and Winter wear great for retailers looking to incorporate upscale Fall/Winter pieces into their inventory. We have both traditional and sampler collections of dresses, sweaters and tops, assorted bottoms, and mature wear – all in misses and plus sizes. We are also currently featuring Plus Size Coat and Designer Suit Collections.

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apparel

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Be sure to take some time to explore the Fall/Winter apparel options at Madison Avenue Closeout to get a jump start on quality, upscale merchandise perfect for Fall and Winter at below wholesale prices up to 80%OFF Retail Value!!

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Upscale SAMPLE COLLECTIONS of Below Wholesale Merchandise

Posted June 12, 2012 – 11:30 am in: Wholesale Closeout News

Madison Avenue Closeouts is always willing to adjust and adapt to the needs of our customers within the scope of our business model and mission. We are also consistently monitoring research and business news to determine appropriate strategies for reaching those who purchase from us.

One exciting new feature at Madison Avenue Closeouts is our introduction of SAMPLE LOTS. We understand that there are instances where our customers are not in a position to purchase large quantities of merchandise. Along with this there may be uncertainty as to the performance of a new product line in your store.

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Research has shown that while a retailer may personally LOVE a collection of merchandise, it may not be wise to immediately purchase a large amount and then simply trust your customers will love it as well. It is more prudent to test your own intuition towards that product with a small batch first (Phibbs, 2012).

 

From this we have begun the introduction of SAMPLE LOTS. These act as scaled down versions of our traditional collections. Same merchandise, same quality, less pieces, and a lower up-front investment!

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For example all of our RTW sample collections consist of 12 pieces under $135. Boutique items such as Sweet Katie children’s wear, Premium Denim, and Assorted Dresses are between $149 & $229 for 12 pieces. Specialty Items like accessories and lace panties are in sample lots under $90 for 35 – 36 pieces.

 

These sample collections are a great way to introduce new products to your customers at a low investment risk to your retail store. We will still have our traditional lots featured under the Madison Avenue Closeouts catalog. But please have some fun exploring the new section on our website…SAMPLE LOTS!

 sample

 

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Much of this change has come from feedback we have received from our customers…please keep the comments and suggestions coming. YOU make the difference for Madison Avenue Closeouts!

 

Phibbs, B. (2012, June 7). The seven reasons independent retailers go broke |Retail Customer Experience|RetailCustomerExperience.com. Retrieved June 12, 2012, from http://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/blog/8185/Theseven-reasons-independentretailersgo-broke

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