As anyone who’s starting an eCommerce business knows, multiple parts must work in concert to achieve profitability. To familiarize yourself with the competitive but rewarding industry of wholesale, you should first read up on the wholesale definition , wholesale distribution, and how to run a wholesale distribution business.
As you’re learning how to find vendors, you should also learn how to become a wholesaler and how to run a wholesale business successfully. As you’re learning more about how to buy wholesale, you’ll be able to develop stronger relationships with suppliers. You’ll also need to know how to get a wholesale license, which is crucial for running a legal business.
Wholesalers make money by selling goods in bulk, whether to a B2B business or direct to consumer. This can be a major obstacle to overcome especially when you’re starting out.
When sales aren’t rolling in, there are multiple strategies you can use to get more wholesale customers.
Increase Wholesale Sales
Before you build your foolproof sales and marketing plan, the following questions must be answered: Who is your dream customer? Are you looking to increase ecommerce sales, B2B sales, both, or something else? What does your dream customer want product-wise?
Being able to answer these will clarify how to market to them. You should know your ideal customer’s demographic makeup, where they shop frequently, their top pain points, and average price range. No wholesale marketing or sales effort will be fruitful long-term without knowing your customer inside and out.
Each wholesale business model requires customization based on who is being sold to. Some wholesalers receive ready-made goods from manufacturers that they resell to retail stores. Other wholesalers buy materials from suppliers that they customize into their own products (e.g. kitting), which may be sold to retail or the public. Still, other wholesalers receive products that they immediately turn around and resell to the public.
As you grow your business, employ strategies that work well for your specific audience. When you’re getting started, here are some methods for increasing sales that apply to every wholesale business:
Tap Into Your Existing Customer Base
The best way to increase your wholesale sales is through your existing customers. Whether you’ve made five sales or 5,000, those who have bought from you in the past are the most likely to buy again.
Create unique offers for your current customers to incentivize new purchases. These may come in the form of flash sales, order size discounts, subscriber perks, and seasonal sales.
Start an Email List
Maintaining your own email list of prospects and customers is one of the most underrated ways to drive sales. Experts share that for every dollar you invest in eCommerce email marketing, you can expect an ROI of $37 to $44.
The reason email works so well to increase sales is that it’s personal and customizable. When you send an email, customers know you’re speaking directly to them. People usually buy more while using a desktop, too, which is associated with when and where people check their emails.
Invest In an SEO-Optimized eCommerce Platform
Running a wholesale business successfully demands speed and accuracy when handling products. You can accomplish this through a robust headless eCommerce platform or online marketplace. Some of the features you should look for include customizability, SEO-friendliness, a simple user interface (UI), and email marketing.
BlueCart's all-in-one sales platform and wholesale marketplace comes built-in with email marketing capabilities that make it easy to create unique deals and personalized offers and send them directly to your chosen customers.
Launch a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaign
Pay-per-click, or PPC, is one of the fastest ways to generate new customers. PPC is when you only pay each time someone clicks on your ad.
An ad campaign is scalable, meaning you can quickly decrease or increase spend based on your budget with eCommerce PPC management. If your business is in its early stages, and you simply need new eyes on your products, this is a great method to use.
Provide One-Time Deals for New Customers
Still struggling to attract new buyers? Give all your new customers an unbeatable deal, like 30% off their first order. This can be done with eCommerce marketing automation, like automatically sending emails when someone signs up for your email list.
This is particularly effective if you sell in a competitive niche, like pet products or cosmetic goods. If a prospect is considering your brand and another, they’re more likely to buy from you because of your first-time deal.
Offer a Subscribe and Save Discount
Another fantastic method for increasing sales is the subscribe and save offer. This is where customers can get an individual or group of products periodically shipped to them at a discount. It's easy to define batch when referring to different subscription boxes because they are the perfect example of batch picking. Processing orders in batches reduces the likelihood of shipping issues, too, because the orders are the same.
The subscribe and save model creates a win-win. Your business generates recurring revenue, and customers get products they love more often. BlueCart offers a subscription platform that makes it easy to get started.
Attend Trade Shows
It may go without saying, but trade shows are an extremely powerful way to grow your customer base. Hundreds of retailers, vendors, suppliers, and manufacturers comprise these events, many of whom want to expand their purchasing channels.
Trade shows are opportunities to find large concentrations of ideal customers. If you can get in on the ground floor with a broker or business, it can mean dozens of new sales for you.
Create a Referral Program
Word-of-mouth is still one of the most popular ways buyers share their happiness with their network. Three out of four customers rate word-of-mouth as a key factor in their buying decisions. Even a 10% growth in word-of-mouth recommendations can increase sales by up to 1.5%.
By offering existing customers an incentive to spread the word, you can increase sales much faster. You can offer current customers a rebate amount for each new customer they bring to your business. The referral program could also benefit the new customer, where they receive the same discount on their first order.
Use Personalized Cold Calls
As long as you have the phone number of a decision-maker, cold calling still works. However, you need to personalize your outreach. People often shun salespeople who don’t demonstrate at least some genuine care for their business.
The best way to do this is to first ask them what their greatest needs are. Discern how your business can fit into such needs, then make your ask.
Simplify Your Warehouse Management Process Flow
People don’t like to spend more time on the checkout process than they need to. Plus, in today’s world of instant gratification, getting products to customers quickly is practically a necessity.
The outbound process for your products, including invoicing and reporting, should be fast and easy to follow. Your customers will be far more inclined to buy again if the purchasing process isn’t a hassle.
This increases your fill rate, which means you're able to ship orders from your existing inventory at any given time. That also means you probably have a high inventory turnover ratio, too.
Offer World-Class Customer Service
Providing quick responses to inquiries and making customers a priority will earn you an incredible reputation. People are more likely to buy from businesses that give them a memorable experience.
Test, Tweak, and Repeat
An undeniable truth about business success is that various strategies impact businesses differently. What may increase wholesale sales for a competitor might not work for you, and the opposite is also true.
Use your marketing budget wisely, but don’t be afraid to test new ideas. You never know when a particular method will strike a chord with your customers.
Wholesale Sales Strategy
You’ve identified quality wholesale items to sell, you’ve mastered inventory management, and you’re executing a great eCommerce marketing strategy. So, why aren’t you getting more wholesale clients?
Perhaps your sales are trickling in, or maybe you have yet to win your first sale. Maybe you ran a seasonal sale that got results but buyers aren’t returning. In any of these cases, it’s time to revamp your wholesale sales strategy.
The following methods will teach you how to grow your wholesale business both now and at bigger levels of success.
Offer Creative Bulk Deals
As a wholesaler, you have to price your products strategically to remain profitable. Retailers know that they have multiple options for sourcing products. Since they’re in business to make a profit too, they’re usually looking for reasonably low wholesale price points.
One of the easiest ways to attract the attention of retailers is through bulk deals. You provide multiple products for one price, which encourages retailers to stock up. Your business still profits, because you’re selling significant product volume for a great price. You can also achieve this through a minimum order quantity (MOQ) for your customers.
Keep Your Wholesale Business Running Smoothly
The retail model works through high volume and frequent sales. As such, retail businesses employ strict operational standards to remain profitable.
When they turn to you for product sourcing, they expect you to be equally organized. Look at your b2b ecommerce platform and other back-end software to determine if your order processing and order fulfillment are streamlined. If not, it may be time for you to update in-house processes.
Once retailers discover your eCommerce fulfillment and eCommerce shipping happens quickly and you offer wonderful customer service, they’ll start buying frequently. They will continue to choose you over less organized businesses and may even refer friends.
Provide a “Frequently Bought Together” Section
Amazon, Target, and an increasing number of eCommerce companies (see what is e commerce) use what’s called cross selling. The “customers also bought” area of the product detail page displays what previous customers purchased when they bought the same item.
Learning how to upsell in your business provides incredible leverage with little extra effort. It is a psychological strategy that increases the average basket size of your customers. It leverages social proof, which is the concept that humans are more likely to do something if they know other people have also done it. This is completely ethical, as customers are never forced to buy more--only if they want to.
Maintain Top-Notch Brand Visuals
The wholesale industry is already crowded, which means you have to stand out to sustain your business. From your product details and store website to your marketing campaigns and print materials, your business should offer a professional impression.
The visual characteristics of a business are usually the first things customers judge it on. If your brand images look trustworthy, people are likelier to extend that trust to you. Trust is a key part of sales, and the more trust you imbue, the more wholesale clients you can get.
Provide Limited Time Deals
One of the fastest ways to get more wholesale customers is by offering limited-time deals. Humans are inherently motivated by urgency; no one wants to miss out on a product they’re already interested in.
There are multiple ways to use a time-sensitive offer. You can set one up for new products that you just received. Another way is running a deal on popular or branded products. Yet another method is bundling clearance goods with a complementary product as a way to sell both.
If you don’t know what product to use for a time-limited deal, review your recent sales for popular products. Oftentimes, using a product with growing sales is the perfect place to create a deal.
Promotion Ideas for Wholesalers: Distributor Promotion Ideas
Once your sales system is creating deeper client relationships, it’s time to create an effective promotional plan. Sales and promotions differ in that sales is all about revenue, whereas promotions drive brand recognition in addition to incentivizing sales.
Let’s look at some effective promotion ideas for wholesalers and distributors:
- Get listed in as many relevant directories as possible. Visibility is essential in business and is even more valuable in the competitive world of wholesaling. The advantage of multiple listings is that each wholesale directory shares its traffic and customers with you.
- Work with influencers. Asking an influencer to give your product a shoutout has become increasingly popular. The reasoning is simple: people are more likely to buy based on human recommendations than corporatized ad campaigns.
- Run a timed giveaway. One of the most effective means of promotion is giveaway campaigns. These get your existing customers excited because they already know and love your products, and it encourages new people to interact with your brand. People will be happy to shout your brand from the rooftops if the prizes are exciting.
- Offer a permanent freebie. A simple way to collect new leads on autopilot is by offering a free download or product by taking a certain action.
Frequently Asked Questions About Getting More Wholesale Customers
Making sales in the wholesale industry is quite different from retail, B2C, and C2C. If you’re learning about wholesale sales for the first time, check out these common questions and answers:
What Is Wholesale Sales?
Wholesale sales is the process of reselling bulk products to retailers, individuals, businesses, or other wholesalers at a discounted rate. The buyers will later sell these products at a higher price in order to gain a profit.
What Is Difference Between Wholesale and Retail?
There are many differences between wholesale and retail, but the primary difference is whether products are sold to a business or consumers. Wholesale suppliers and distributors sell wholesale goods to businesses. Retailers sell goods to the public, otherwise referred to as consumers.
A wholesale business sells materials, parts, or finished products to other companies. These businesses, like retail stores, then add markup to the products and sell them to consumers.
There are numerous reasons wholesalers and retailers work so well together. One, countries with strong manufacturing capabilities are often making products for other countries. Two, wholesalers and retailers aren’t constrained to the same kind of profit model. A wholesaler sells multiple units of one product at a time, whereas a retailer sells a few units of multiple products at a time.
Which Is More Profitable: Wholesale or Retail?
Whether retail or wholesale is more profitable depends on several factors. The two business models differ, and you can’t really compare apples to oranges. That being said, let’s look at the profit advantages and disadvantages of both.
Wholesalers make money by selling thousands of product units to a smaller number of buyers. They profit by selling in bulk, which makes each unit cheaper but the total purchase price greater. The downside of wholesaling profit is that you have to instate minimum order quantities (MOQ).
Retailers make money by selling a few products of different kinds to thousands or millions of buyers. They also markup their products’ prices, in order to profit above what they paid a wholesaler for. A drawback of retailing is reaching the right customer with the right product at the right time.
How Do You Market Wholesale?
Wholesale marketing requires knowing how different it is from retail or consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketing. In the wholesale industry, it’s more important to build long-term relationships with a few buyers than one-off relationships with thousands or millions of buyers.
One fast and effective way to market your wholesale business is getting listed in a wholesale directory. You’ll benefit from the built-in traffic of businesses who are already looking for suppliers there.
Another way to market wholesale products is selling the highest quality goods you’re able to and targeting specific buyers. The wholesale industry is flooded with competition, so you’re going to stand out better if you make offers that are too good to pass up. Focus on how you can provide more value at a lower cost, like buy-one get-one deals.
What Is an eCommerce Wholesaler?
An eCommerce wholesaler refers to a company that sells B2B or business-to-business instead of selling their products directly to consumers. They sell products in bulk and typically at discounted rates to other businesses.
An Offer You Can’t Refuse
Using these distributor and wholesale promotion ideas can lead to exponential success for your business. Maybe the giveaway you run will lead to multiple new clients, or an additional directory listing will boost your website traffic.
Remember that promotional campaigns are only as useful as the effort behind them. Execute each promotional idea with the same intentionality it was planned with.