Who doesn't love a party? No matter the occasion, it's always a blast to get everyone together and have a great time. Of course, the best parties need lots of supplies, and as an eCommerce merchant, that's where you come in. If you're interested in selling party supplies online, you have a ready-made audience of millions looking for the products they need to celebrate birthdays, holidays, milestones, and other events. You just need a solid plan to start an online business and the tools to make it happen!
Selling party supplies online can be rewarding, as you're taking on the role of the supplier that makes these fun events possible. You'll give your customers ways to celebrate any occasion. And sure, many people regret that they can't party 24/7, but you can certainly ensure wholesale party and costume supplies are available to them at all times from your online store!
Of course, just like any other business, there's a lot of work involved alongside the fun. Most party supply stores carry a huge range of small products, so you'll have a lot to keep track of. The right eCommerce software is a must for handling this, along with other challenges, like marketing and competing with other brands. Shift4Shop has everything you need to build your online store and grow your business to success.
Party supplies cover a huge variety of products, and most party planners (whether they're professionals who do it for a living, or just throwing a party at home for a family member) will want to see as many of these products as they can. The supplies are part of the fun, especially when throwing a themed party, in which customers will want the maximum number of supplies that stick to the theme.
For example, a parent could need supplies for their child's birthday party themed around the child's favorite cartoon character. To make the party as fun for their child as possible, the parent would want a complete selection of supplies featuring that character — the more, the better. Of course some parents (and kids) would be fine with just party hats, paper plates, cups, and balloons, but others will want to go all out and look for as many themed items as they can find. Sometimes this even includes costumes, so you may want to sell costumes online outside of Halloween if they follow a popular party theme like superheroes.
Even when there's no specific theme, the variety of supplies you offer can make a big difference. Customers who want to throw a party to remember will often go all out when buying supplies, loading up their carts with dozens of types of party favors, tons of decorations, a full assortment of noisemakers, and even more. If you have all these things available, you can attract this type of customer again and again.
Each of the above examples can represent thousands of individual products, so even if your goal isn't to stock all types of party supplies, you'll still have plenty from which to build your inventory. For example, you might choose to focus on supplies for a particular age range, stocking only kids' party supplies or supplies for adult-oriented events like bachelor parties, wedding receptions, or baby showers. You could also base your niche on price range (high-end or cheap), which has some overlap with age group.
It's up to you how you decide to niche, but there are benefits to narrowing your focus just as there are benefits to keeping it broad. A party supply store centered on certain types of parties can become a strong competitor for products for those specific events, but will have a smaller audience than a store selling all kinds of party supplies. Your strategy may vary, but your business will have the most potential if you serve as many types of parties as possible, or at least, have as many supplies as possible for the types of parties you decide to focus on.
One major consideration as you find your niche is how different types of party supplies fluctuate in popularity throughout the year. Halloween is the busiest time for party supply stores, to the point that it's almost the same as Christmas is for other industries. Other holidays with party themes, such as Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day, are also quite busy but not to the extent of Halloween.
Of course, during the rest of the year, party supply stores can't rely on the pull of an approaching holiday to make sales. You may have slow periods during times of the year away from any significant holiday, but birthdays happen all year round, as do retirements, baby showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and other personal milestone events. Keep products in stock for these parties, and you'll be able to maintain more consistent sales all year long.
Local party supply stores are relatively uncommon, even with the spread of large retailers like Party City. Tying back into the seasonal patterns we went over above, regular department stores also usually only carry a small amount of party supplies due to their low profit margin, or may even only carry holiday-themed decorations during specific times of the year. This is why some online party supply stores also maintain a brick-and-mortar location: during the off season, they can be the only game in town. Another benefit is the ability to expand into local-only services, like bounce house rentals, that can help you grow your business further.
If you're interested in running a physical party supply store alongside your eCommerce website, Shift4Shop has the tools to run them together smoothly. Our integration with point-of-sale (POS) software allows you to sell in person and keep your inventory synchronized between your online and offline sales. If you have customers that both visit your store and shop from you online, you can even synchronize their customer records.
Parties can have any number of guests and be thrown at venues of all sizes. People who are organizing large parties may want to buy supplies in bulk, especially if they can save money by placing a larger order. If your party supply business grows to have sufficient inventory, you can benefit from allowing bulk orders of party supplies. You'll be able to make more sales and move more inventory, as well as increase your reputation as a great source for needed party products.
Shift4Shop's bulk pricing for eCommerce allows you to set up pricing levels for different sizes of bulk orders to allow customers to get discounts on larger purchases. You can display Quantity Pricing on the product page which includes a graph to show customers how the price range changes per quantity. You can also create minimum order sizes to sell products by the case.
If you want to offer different bulk pricing levels to different customers, you can do so by creating Customer Groups and assigning each its own set of pricing levels. Customer Groups are a Shift4Shop feature that helps you segment your customer base along several criteria so you can offer different pricing, promotions, store visibility, and other variables to different types of customers. With Customer Groups, you can restrict bulk orders to certain customers so you can make your best wholesale pricing only available to them.
This is useful in several situations, such as if you want to form exclusive B2B eCommerce relationships with other businesses and act as their supplier, or as another example, if you want to offer special pricing to businesses buying party supplies for corporate events. With Shift4Shop, you can target every type of customer at the same time, offering them each a tailored experience.
The only thing to watch out for when you sell party supplies in bulk is your profit margin. Many party supplies are quite cheap to begin with, so you'll need to watch your prices to ensure that both individual products and bulk sales are still profitable for your business.
There are a couple of things you should keep in mind regarding the shipping in your online party supply store. First, customers buying party supplies are always on a schedule, so their shipments need to arrive on time. Second, many people throw surprise parties for others, so you can help them preserve the surprise event by making considerations when you ship their orders.
Shift4Shop comes with a full suite of eCommerce shipping tools including real-time rates for a range of shipping methods from several carriers, including USPS, UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, and others. The real-time rates allow customers to see their shipping costs right away within their cart, so they can confidently use the shipping option that will get their order to them on time. These shipping integrations also allow you to print labels directly from your Shift4Shop dashboard to streamline your fulfillment process and help you get orders out faster. If you want to give customers even more control, you can install the Delivery Calendar to let them select the date they want their order to arrive.
To help customers with surprise parties, you can offer plain packaging such as unmarked cardboard boxes that give no sign that they contain party supplies. Shift4Shop also gives you another useful option with FedEx Hold at Location (HAL). If your store uses FedEx for shipping, FedEx HAL allows your customers to choose to pick up their package at their local FedEx location rather than having it delivered to their home. Since many customers are throwing surprise parties for someone who lives with them, they'll appreciate anything you can offer to help prevent it from being spoiled.
Dropshipping is an eCommerce fulfillment model where the seller doesn't keep any inventory in stock, instead forwarding all orders to their supplier. The supplier handles the shipping, while the retailer profits by keeping the markup they applied to each product. Benefits of dropshipping include savings on inventory investment and warehouse space. Shift4Shop is great eCommerce software for dropshipping and allows you to set up any of your suppliers as a dropshipper and enable automatic order forwarding.
The following wholesalers offer dropshipping for online party supply stores, although your business may need to qualify for certain services. You can also use these companies as a source for typical purchases of wholesale party and costume supplies if you want to carry some products in your own inventory.
Shift4Shop is the best software for building and growing an online business selling party supplies. In addition to the features we've covered above, Shift4Shop also includes hundreds of tools for building a perfect website, managing your inventory, marketing and selling across multiple channels, and much more. Best yet, if you use Shift4 Payments as your payment processor, you can access our free End-to-End eCommerce plan, which includes all the features (and no limits) with no monthly fee.
Shift4Shop makes web design easy with tons of free templates that can be used as-is, or edited with our powerful web design tools. You'll have full power over your store's appearance without touching a line of code.
Party supplies cover a lot of categories, and you can make it easy for your customers to browse and shop with Shift4Shop's robust category and subcategory system. Create as many categories as you need, and nest them to create subcategories for even better organization.
A store selling hundreds of products needs a quick way to add or update them on the website. Shift4Shop's CSV data import lets you add all your products at once, and you can also import and export other kinds of data like customers, tax rates, and more.
Get your products on eBay, Google Shopping, and Amazon to gain even more exposure to millions of potential customers looking for exactly what you're selling. Manage every sale from your Shift4Shop dashboard to keep your workload at a minimum!
Shift4Shop's powerful marketing features make it easy to set up email newsletters, dynamic Facebook ads, organic social media marketing, and more. Plus, our industry-leading SEO will help your store rank highly on search engines for even more traffic.
Shift4Shop is powered by Shift4 Payments, which sets up in minutes and lets you accept credit cards and several alternate payment types. You can also expand your store by choosing from over 160 other payment integrations to give your customers plenty of options for making their purchase, like PayPal, digital wallets, international payments, bitcoin, and much more.
A colorful and whimsical free eCommerce theme with a fun-loving atmosphere perfect for getting customers into the party mood. A dropdown menu provides convenient navigation while current promotions, featured products, and more can be showcased right on the front page.