Are you an independent designer who dreams of taking your brand to all the style capitals of the world because being popular in your home city, though great, just isn’t enough? Are you interested in pushing through to new frontiers? To take your brand to customers who’ve never heard of your brand or who are too turned off by the prospect of whopping shipping costs to place an order?
And what if you could get someone to sell your product for you? Someone who knows the market in that part of the country (or the world!) like the back of their hand, and is keen to help you build a following for your brand in places you’ve never been?
If this sounds good to you and you’re hungry to sell even more, it’s time to consider adding wholesale to your arsenal of sales channels.
But I know, there’s a whole lotta myths about expanding into wholesale. You’ve probably heard/read/googled so many things that’ll strike fear into even the bravest soul. Things like: “I’ll lose my brand identity!” or “Selling at wholesale prices will bankrupt my business!” Is wholesale easy?
Chill. Honestly, you’ve built your business on shopping cart solutions like Shopify, marketplaces like Amazon, and maybe even tried a pop-up store or two. You did great! But now you’re hungry for more. And that’s why I’m here today to bust all those myths and tell you why wholesale is really like selling on one more channel - no different from the ones you’ve already mastered.
When you’re running your own retail stores, you have full control over how your products are displayed. On your online store, you can customize the visuals to suit your brand’s identity and write beautiful copy to accurately describe the virtues of your products. So you balk at the thought of going wholesale and leaving your carefully constructed brand at the mercy of a retailer that won’t love your brand as much as you do.
But consider this - you’ve probably sold or considered selling on Amazon. If you think about it, Amazon does not encourage personalized stores. Your store is merely one of the many selling under the Amazon brand - and if you’re using Amazon’s Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) service, you won’t even get to personalize your delivery method. Yet you’ve probably managed to beat the odds and create a name for your brand on Amazon - leading to repeat customers.
People sell on Amazon because it lets them reach out to the millions that frequent the eCommerce giant’s marketplace to buy everything from luxury watches to diapers. And that’s the exact stand you should take when it comes to selling wholesale - it’s just a way to take your products to a whole new audience. But if you’re still uncomfortable about giving retailers control over your brand, remember that your brand ultimately belongs to you and you can always stop selling to retailers who do not respect your vision for your products.
When you’re reading-up on going wholesale, a common refrain is “Oh, I used to do retail, but when I started wholesale, orders went through the roof and I couldn’t keep up with the demand so I closed my retail store indefinitely.” Reading stuff like that makes you feel like they’re mutually exclusive and you’ve got to make a choice (eventually): Do you want to focus on wholesale or retail?
We believe it’s not a choice between the two, but the choice to add wholesale to your retail business and operate both in tandem. Think back to when you decided that one online store wasn’t enough and added another sales channel. Did you give up one because you were spending too much time on the other? Probably not. You might have paid more attention to breaking in your new sales channel, but you were probably still selling through your existing store.
But you see, the thing is that all your inventory will still remain in your storage facility. So all you have to do is just approve the sales orders that come in and start on the fulfillment process. Sure, you may be dealing with larger orders now, but the process remains the same. Which brings me to my next point...
A larger volume of orders means you’ll need a larger storage facility, more raw materials, and maybe even an assistant or two. And we’ve all heard horror stories about late payments or returned products. In the face of all these rapidly rising costs, how is your small business going to survive?
Let’s take a step back and evaluate this.
Firstly, if you’re ordering raw materials in bulk, you’ll likely enjoy price-break discounts and a greater economy of scale since you’re getting more bang for your buck. If you need more space to store your finished inventory, a good start would be to sort out your existing space instead of just adding on more costs. And I’ve got an easy solution for you when it comes to dealing with horror stories of irresponsible retailers - spell everything out in your terms and conditions! Also, let’s not forget the silver lining - larger volume of orders!
Moving towards B2B eCommerce options that double up as online catalogs could very well put you ahead of the competition. According to a recent study by Google, 89% of B2B buyers do research on the internet before purchasing - and here’s where your extensive B2C experience is great for catching their eye! That means every positive review you’ve ever gotten on your products across all your channels matter.
Everyone wants to do everything online nowadays - hence the popularity of eCommerce as a growing market! This means you can work the same magic that’s helped you excel at eCommerce to B2B eCommerce, and make buying as great as pleasure for your B2B customers as your B2C ones!
Well… that’s the interesting thing about B2B! You don’t need to be pulling in new retailers every week - by doing so you’re running the risk of spreading yourself too thin. Instead, customer retention is key to B2B success according to 42% of B2B companies polled in an Oracle B2B eCommerce survey!
You don’t want to spend most of your time marketing yourself to new retailers, especially when this time could be put to building up your brand further, or forging closer relationships with your existing retailers. Once a retailer has made a purchase order for your items, don’t leave them out in the cold feeling like you were only nice because you wanted to sell stuff.
If you’re selling wholesale, you’ll be selling your stuff for about 50% less than retail price. And that’ll make you think: “I’m undervaluing my products.”
Wholesale is often taken to be a method for bargain-hunting retail shops to find amazing items at massively discounted rates that can later be significantly marked up enough to allow them to turn a nice profit. And rather than letting someone else “buy low and sell high”, you’d rather keep a monopoly on your items.
But you’re not undervaluing your products, you’re merely adapting to a different market. When you started out selling your brand on shopping cart solutions or marketplaces, you had to adjust your prices to match the market. Also, while it’s true you’ll be selling your products for cheaper than you would if you were selling retail, you’re also moving a higher volume.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how much more… According to a study by Internet Retailer, a B2B order averages more than three times the amount of a B2C one.
So have I busted all the myths associated with going wholesale? If you think so, do join me again next week as I bring you more tips on how to add B2B eCommerce as a new sales channel for your growing business!