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Reply To: Hi there,We are a small bespoke manufacturing business in the Bay or Islands that make quality wooden children’s furniture primarily for the Early Childhood sector but also primary schools and private homes.Our products have always been in the higher price bracket due to them being made well, with care with good quality materials.  Thankfully our products are known and loved but those that have purchased them but we have found gaining new business slow, especially tapping into the new build market for ECE centres to do full fit outs.We are in really competitive market and have found business a struggle even before Covid-19.  Now we are more concerned that the education sector, especially the many privately owned businesses, will be very stretched financially and that choosing NZ made quality products will be a hard choice over other needs in the business.  We would be very grateful to hear any advice, business strategies to keep up interest, promoting sales and generally how keep our business afloat in these tough times.Many thanks,SianHebe Natural Children’s Furniture(09) 4025020   info@hebe.kiwi.nz    hebe.kiwi.nz

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Thanks for the great ideas Leslie!
We have taken advantage of the Facebook page NZ Made Products, and love seeing everyone’s support for NZ businesses.
The online ordering option is difficult for us as shipping is so prohibitively expensive around NZ and we work hard to come up with the best plan to get shipping costs as low as possible per specific order with clever packing. Having a set price for locations I fear would be hard to calculate in an algorithm and this would make the cost more prohibitive if we err on the side of caution and price per piece on individual cubic rates. Single items would be much easier but most of our sales are more than one product or custom designs, where we need to discuss the order individually.
We definitely will look at SEO and see how we are placed (currently our website is down which is a bit of bad timing but should be back later today). We actively use google business for posts and photos but not ads so far. This is an avenue we will look into. Facebook we have previously used targetted ad for ECE as this is our biggest business, but we will look at parents further too.
Do you have any specific targeted publications you can recommend to take a look at for the parent market you mentioned?
I will take on board the reaching out to customers more to find out why we missed a sale. It has been a common thread between all advisors. We do ring back and check on quotes and often ask the question. Price is definitely an issue when funds are tight. This hasn’t improved over time in terms of government funding. Over recent years we have trimmed our pricing down even in the face of material costs shooting up. I doubt our customers really notice this unfortunately. We do promotional sales fairly regularyly but on some products, we barely break even at retail price due to the labour intensive nature of manufacturing the products. It’s a common discussion in our office and a tricky balance but can’t see how to meet the pricing people might like without running at a loss or losing quality, which we are not willing to compromise on.
Thanks again for taking the time to offer your thoughts, if there is anything else that springs to mind, we would love to hear about it!
Kind regards,
Sian