As a wholesaler, you make money when retailers buy your goods. If you're out of ideas on how to attract more retailers, we have 10 tips that you might be interested in!
Increasing Wholesale Sales
Use the following tips to create a buying experience that retailers can’t get enough of:
1. Offer specials that bring retailers better-than-wholesale prices
Building double savings into your offerings through daily, weekly, or monthly deals lets you one-up your competition, moving your merchandise more quickly and easily. Retailers will watch for these specials and will appreciate the added savings they receive when they deal with your company — which means – yes – you guessed it – more orders!
Like any retail establishment, wholesale businesses can also offer special deals on merchandise, beyond the initial wholesale discount. They can also offer special incentives in the form of rewards to sellers that purchase in bulk. Think Thorn Apple Valley, maker of various types of sausage, hot dogs, and other meat products. The company created an incentive program that won the Association of Incentive Marketing (AIM) Gold Incentive Showcase Award. What made it so great? They incentivized meat managers at Pathmark supermarkets with various Sony products or AT&T telephones, based on the percentage of their sales increase. The sales did increase, by a whopping 22 percent.
2. Provide outstanding customer service
Always treat your customers with courtesy and radiate professionalism. Be willing to go the extra mile for a retailer who purchases your products, and never be afraid to lose an occasional "battle" in order to win the wholesaling "war." Treat every retailer with empathy and understanding — even if occasionally you have to refuse a request. This sort of treatment will go a long way toward creating loyal, higher-volume wholesale customers.
The little gestures do matter, just look at Amazon. The company implemented many industry firsts to take the customer experience to the next level. Among them are free shipping, order tracking, one-click ordering, customer reviews, and related product recommendations that make ordering quicker, easier, more convenient, and less costly.
In fact, Amazon was the first to introduce a customer review section on an eCommerce website. And the icing on the cake? Their very friendly customer service reps. Customer love matters.
3. Make ordering, delivery, and billing as seamless as possible
Automate your order management and product distribution processes as much as you can. This means less waiting for busy retailers who want a simple, streamlined process, putting your company near the top of their lists of wholesaling firms to bring their business to.
Within six months of fully automating its end-to-end distribution system, WinnCom Technologies, a distributor of networking solutions, achieved full ROI — nearly $250,000 — with projected annual savings of 20 percent of inventory value ($1.2 million to $1.5 million). In addition, the company nearly doubled its revenues during the six-year period following the automation of its operations (2000-2006).
4. Streamline your operations
Many businesspeople who likely run their own company operations very efficiently expect the same from their suppliers. So, do everything you can to show the busy professionals who purchase your products how much you respect and value their time. They'll reward you with more orders.
Essendant, a supplier of workplace essentials, provides its customers with one-day shipping on all products. By developing systems to coordinate the company's order processing, they are able to ship customer orders within hours of receiving them.
5. Offer discounts to customers who buy multiple product types
In fact, you may want to suggest additional merchandise based on the order placed by the retailer, a process that can either be automated or handled by a live customer service representative. This is the equivalent of selling add-ons in retail sales.
Let’s go back to Amazon. They happen to be killing the game in this field as well. They offer customers related merchandise during checkout, as well as on every product page. This not only makes it easier for the customer to find related items if desired, but it also increases the likelihood of cross-selling or upselling, which puts more money in Amazon's pocket. The system is automated, making it a painless process for the customer and allowing Amazon to save their workers for tasks that can’t be done just as well by computers. To top off their strategy, Amazon offers free shipping on orders with a relatively low total cost. No wonder so many customers end up buying more than they originally planned.
Attracting New Retailers
Next, you want to hook potential customers. Here’s how.
6. Create compelling, eye-catching campaigns
Aesthetics are just as important as content. Use color, contrast, and other professional design elements to attract the attention of new retailers, following up with sales copy to drive a call to action.
Don’t forget that you can do this with emails too. Amazon (yes, them again) did in 2014 with its unique series of "merry" messages that featured whimsical animations with insertions of various Amazon products.
7. Offer special discounts to new retailers
A one-time discount for new customers can be an effective way to attract new business, whether the customer is a retailer or a consumer. If they like you enough, they’ll keep coming back, even without a discount.
Over a one month period in 2013, L.A. based wholesaler NP Fashion boosted its get-ready-for-fall sales by rewarding its customers with free shipping and discounted pricing on its new line of handbags. Selling both to retail stores and direct to the consumer, NP Fashion offers special savings to retailers who sign on to carry their line.
8. Offer incentives to retailers who refer their colleagues
It’s all about who you know. Your retailers have their own networks. Leverage them. By offering a reward for referrals, you can easily tap into these connections.
Dropbox’s referral program (which was based on PayPal's successful "refer-a-friend" program) increased signups by 60 percent. Within a 15-month period, signups rose from 100,000 to 4,000,000 — a success story for the record books. Dropbox rewarded both referrers and those referred with extra storage space in its cloud-based data storage platform. The rewards given were appropriate to each company's niche. That’s right. Their rewards weren’t just rewards, they were targeted and personalized ones.
9. Advertise a free gift with every new retailer's first purchase
Who doesn’t like presents? You could also tie the gift to the size of the initial order. You’ll make it even more likely that a given retailer will select your company as its supplier, while encouraging a larger initial purchase.
Western Digital, one of the largest computer hard drive manufacturers, won The Markies award for Most Creative Marketing Campaign for its 2012 Mystery Sale campaign. The Markies cited the company's "simple promotion mechanic (gift with purchase)" as one of two factors that helped Western Digital in "achieving an exceptional ROI." The campaign was so successful that the company responded by expanding it globally.
10. Provide limited-time offers that encourage retailers to buy now
You’ve got their attention. Don’t lose it. Building definitive deadlines into your offers can provide the incentive your prospect needs to move from "maybe" to "yes."
Western Digital (two in a row for them) used a "limited-time offer" technique to promote its products – the second factor cited by The Markies for making the WD campaign a success.
Putting it All Together
Wholesaling can be a profitable business venture if it is paired with effective strategy, so why not try these tips? These little incentives could be just what you need to boost your business.