Thinking about expanding your business by getting into online wholesale?
It can be a scary and stressful venture at first. The downside is that selling wholesale online requires a bit more knowledge and up-front effort than cold-calling or setting up your booth at a tradeshow.
The upside is that once you get going, it’ll be much easier to win new customers, grow your business, and automate your sales.
To help you get started, here’s our list of 10 tips for online wholesale success.
If you want to streamline your wholesale business through online sales, you’ll want to start by optimizing (or creating) your ecommerce website. This means making it as easy as possible for customers to find your products, learn enough to decide to buy, and ultimately place an order with you.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind:
Getting these right will ensure your customers trust you and are confident when buying from your business.
For a few more tips on streamlining your online wholesale system, check out this list from KissMetrics on making the payment process easier.
A huge part of maximizing your online wholesale efforts is utilizing sales channels beyond and in addition to your company website. Online B2B marketplaces allow you to quickly set up shop on platforms with existing traffic and customers, so you can quickly find new business and expand your reach globally.
Check out our post about online wholesale marketplaces to learn more about expanding your online sales channels.
The broader online wholesale marketplace makes it easier than ever to “spy” on your competitors and their pricing strategies. Though most businesses offer wholesale prices at 40-60% of MSRP, researching your market and industry’s exact pricing structure will help you stay that much more competitive.
And wholesalers often choose to create tiered prices for different quantities of stock ordered; for example, you might sell large quantities of t-shirts like this:
While there are all sorts of complicated calculations you can do to figure out exactly what you need to charge to remain profitable, especially if you’re a new company, observing your competition, matching and testing out their strategies yourself, and adjusting accordingly is a solid way to get going quickly.
A key to profiting at wholesale rates is to require minimum order sizes in order to leverage economies of scale in your favor.
With minimum order sizes, you’ll be able to generate enough cash flow and leverage large volume efficiencies, even at relatively large discounts compared to retail.
There is one exception to this rule…
If you’re a new wholesaler trying to eager to generate new business, consider offering smaller “sample” orders on a one-time basis. This will go a long way in selling customers on the quality of your products while still generating some much-needed cash flow.
And after a sample order is placed, your job is to provide fast fulfillment and excellent customer service to solidify the relationship and create repeat customers – for whom you can and should enforce minimum orders.
Dropshipping is a supply chain management method in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to you the wholesaler, at which point you ship the goods directly to their customer.
It can be an intimidating process if you’ve built a wholesale-only business, but it’s a good strategy for finding new customers through existing channels when you seem to be hitting a market saturation point.
If you’re interested in pursuing this business model, here’s a great guide to dropshipping from Shopify to help you get started quickly.
Building trust is essential for all B2B businesses and even more so in the early growth stages.
And social proof is one of the most powerful and achievable ways of quickly building trust with your potential customers.
Enter the testimonial.
From ratings and reviews on ecommerce sites like Amazon or eBay, to snippets of customer comments strategically placed around your calls to action, testimonials are a great way to show those on the fence that you deliver on the promises you make about your products and service.
The easiest way to get a testimonial is by sending a well-timed email to your customers simply asking for one. Allow them time to sell your product and get feedback from their customers in turn, so they’ll be glad to give you a great comment.
To learn more, check out this excellent post about the foolproof method for getting testimonials.
If you’re selling physical products online, it’s essential that you help your potential customers understand what your products are like without relying on in-person experiences.
Though, as we mentioned above, you could offer sample orders to get your products into interested hands, this adds a lot of overhead that may be avoidable with the right kind of content.
The most important pieces of product info you can provide are high-quality, comprehensive photos of your products.
To maximize your chances of making the sale, invest in professional photography with simple backgrounds to showcase the best qualities of your products from all angles; offer close-up shots, display your product next to another item to show it’s dimensions, and even consider using a model to wear, hold, or use your product – whatever’s necessary to give potential customers a complete picture (pun intended) of your product before they buy.
More than anything else, great photos of your products will help your prospects and their customers visualize and understand your product making them more likely to buy from you.
Your product photos will attract interested buyers, but your descriptions will close the sale. To really convince a retailer to carry your product, focus on the benefits your product provides to them and their customers.
How will your products help them stand out from their competition and make more sales?
How will it make their customers lives better, more interesting, more fun?
How will it solve their customer’s problems and pains or help them fulfill their dreams?
Of course, make sure to include relevant features and technical specs like height, weight, different color patterns available, etc.; the more detail the better – be sure to provide all the information customers might want or ask for to maximize your chances of convincing them to buy.
Long-lasting businesses are built on long-lasting relationships. And to build these high-value relationships, excellent customer service is essential.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you deliver the kind of services that boosts retention rates:
By fostering long-term partnerships with every retailer you work with, you’ll make it easier for them to do business with you – and that much harder to switch to your competitors.
Since you’re housing product to sell through multiple channels, you’ll need a way to limit the waste that comes from disorganization in order to efficiently scale and maximize profitability.
And the key to operating a streamlined and efficient online wholesale business is inventory management software – which will help you track sales, collect data from all of your sales channels and business apps in one place, generate reports on inventory levels, sales figures, and more, as well as easily manage a high-volume of orders.
Ultimately, with the right inventory management software, you’ll be able to integrate and automate your online wholesale business to reduce the stress of manually tracking inventory and sales, eliminate human errors, and make it just a bit easier to start and grow your business.
Experience the full benefits of cloud-based inventory management software can provide your online wholesale business.
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