Bartercard boosts luxe furniture brand with $2.5 million in extra sales

There’s plenty of pressure in retail to sell stock quickly.  Customers are always shopping for the latest look, especially when a new season rolls in.  Putting on a Bartercard Sale Day is one way to expedite sales while creating a great customer experience in-store, like Sydney brand Osmen does.  

Their Managing Director Michelle Lam-Li has used Bartercard since 2008, but started doing Sale Days in 2013 where she’s sold over $2.5 million worth of excess and superseded stock at full retail and discounted prices.

The brand
Osmen sells beautiful outdoor furniture to restaurants, cafes and resorts globally, covering manufacture, import and export.  Their resort-style designs uplift every space, but like every retail business, seasonality is a hurdle to constantly keep in-check.

Bartercard Sale Days
When there’s surplus stock at the end of the season, Osmen puts on a Bartercard Sale Day where members are invited to purchase their beautiful pieces with trade dollars.  These members often bring cash-paying friends and family too.

The upside of seasonality
Turning seasonality around, Michelle said Bartercard Sale Days can clear up to $400,000 worth of stock in a single night.

“Bartercard Sale Days have shifted over $2.5 million worth of excess and superseded stock at full retail prices.  Bartercard not only moves stock that’s superseded by newer product, but saves valuable storage space,” she said.

“At the end of the day no business wants its floor space or warehouses full of redundant items and Sale Days shift stock quickly.  We also sell discontinued items – if it’s not cost-effective keeping the line, we put it in the sale.”

The Osmen warehouse isn’t normally open to the public and Sale Days let the brand attract a new market of business customers quickly without the foot traffic or enhanced POS requirements.  Sale Days also attract Bartercard Tourism that represents resorts across Australia and the Asia Pacific to source furniture on behalf of their clients.

Michelle points out that many cash-paying customers wait until stock is discounted to purchase it, which can damage a brand.  “So the upside of limiting sales to Bartercard members is the stock sells quickly without creating a ‘wait for the discount’ mentality among cash customers,” she said.  “The items that we sell on Bartercard are still great products – it’s the existing stock just as a new season look comes in.  Sometimes customers are looking for a square style when we still have the curved look in store. You will always have certain styles left over for different reasons which Sale Days reduce.

How it’s done
Bartercard Sale Days are low-cost and Bartercard arranges everything from start to finish including marketing, running the event and processing transactions.  The stock list is pre-determined then teasers are sent around the country.  Members shop a selection of sale items clearly marked with a Bartercard ‘b’ – they just stick a post-it with their initials on the products they want to buy.

Spending trade dollars to offset cash costs 
Bartercard Sale Days earn trade dollars that Michelle spends on business and lifestyle expenses to offset cash costs.  Since 2008, she’s saved over $1.6 million by spending trade dollars instead of cash on bus and magazine advertising, accommodation at resorts and staff gifts and incentives.  She’s looking to purchase real estate through Bartercard next.  Bartercard’s property site currently contains over $140 million in listings which include a trade dollar component.


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