How do I sell wholesale products to retailers?
If you’re a wholesaler asking yourself this very question, then you’re not alone.
Perhaps you’re new to the wholesaling game and are wondering where to start when it comes to getting your products onto the radar of the right retail buyers.
Or perhaps you’ve been in the wholesale game for a while and are confident in your product but looking for fresh ways to get it out there and connect with new customers – because it’s never too late to learn new tactics, right?
Whichever camp you fall into, we’ve put together a list of top tips on how to sell wholesale products so you can ensure those new orders keep rolling in.
First off, let’s start with the basics:
What is a Wholesaler?
To put it simply: anyone selling products to a second buyer – who subsequently sells these goods on to the consumer – is a wholesaler.
The role wholesalers play in the distribution process can be twofold.
Many wholesalers choose to only sell and deliver their products to the buyer. The client is then responsible for distributing it to their own customers.
Alternatively, wholesalers can opt to take care of packaging and distributing their products on behalf of their clients.
This is known as dropshipping and is an ever-popular option amongst retailers, as it prevents the need for them to hold large amounts of stock on their own premises.
Wholesalers come in all shapes and sizes, from cash and carry sellers to smaller outfits selling products aimed at specific market sectors, such as giftware, home décor or household goods.
What are the benefits of selling products wholesale?
There are many benefits to selling products wholesale, which makes it an attractive prospect as a business model.
Firstly, wholesalers sell products in bulk – which means larger orders and therefore a bigger sales revenue
Successfully selling products wholesale can also result in a consistent income stream – if you find a loyal buyer who likes your product, they’re likely to stick around.
Retailers in particular tend to change their buying styles much less frequently than the consumers they serve.
Increased brand awareness is also an attractive factor when it comes to selling products wholesale.
If you find the right buyers, it means your product will be out there on the shelves in bulk.
This in turn will mean more consumers are aware of it and it will have a better chance of staying on their radar.
Make sure you have a strong online presence
Once upon a time a phone line and a well-stocked factory would have been all you needed to successfully sell your wholesale products.
But these days there have to be a few more strings to your bow when it comes to engaging with potential buyers.
Having a website is, of course, essential but make sure it’s not holding you back in your search for new customers.
Competition online is increasing daily, and your website has to stand out from the crowd in Google’s eyes in order to secure those page visits.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the average internet user has a limited attention span – on average two seconds- so you don’t have long to secure their interest!
Make sure your website is attractive and user-friendly – product photographs should be high resolution and clearly displayed, and your contact details should be easily accessible.
Avoid adding huge, slow-loading images which will reduce your page speed and stay away from big chunks of text on your website.
The majority of users will be accessing your site from a mobile phone, so won’t appreciate excess scrolling!
Also, be sure to give any customer endorsements about your product and pride of place on your website.
A positive review could be the difference between a buyer choosing you over a competitor.
Make social media your friend
It’s not all cat videos and memes out there – social media is also an incredibly effective way for wholesalers to interact with current customers and attract new retail buyers.
Make sure your social media channels – whether Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Linkedin- are regularly updated with relevant content for your potential customers.
This can mean sharing a link or article that they may find interesting, or posting amazing photographs of your product to secure those orders!
It’s not all about the hard sell, though – social media platforms are also a good place to chat to customers and build trust, which could lead to a mutually beneficial working relationship in the future!
Identify which retailers you want to sell to
It might sound obvious, but you’re going to shift more stock and secure bigger orders if you first identify the right customer to sell to.
So, how can you find the right retailer for your wholesale products?
Firstly, invest in market research on your end customer. Draw up a list of questions and set about getting them answered. These could include:
- Who are your target customers?
- What is their purchase journey like and what are their motivations?
- Where do they research and purchase?
- Does your product align with their vision? If so, how can you highlight this?
Also, think about whether you want to target online retailers or retailers with their own brick-and-mortar stores.
If you’re looking for an online retailer to stock your wholesale products, you can learn a lot about them by checking out their website, blog or social media channels.
Keep an eye on the products and brands they stock – are they similar to yours? Do your price points match? Is your customer demographic similar?
If you are interested in getting your products stocked in a physical store, consider heading down and having a look around the premises in person.
This way you can get a feel for the shop and the products they stock. The retailer will also appreciate you going the extra mile to meet them!
Get your prices right
In order to make a profit from selling your wholesale products to a retailer, you have to first ensure that the price is right!
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to sell your product for 2.5 times what it cost you to make or buy it. But this is not set in stone – so do your research.
You can arrive at your perfect price point by considering production costs against your required profit.
Let’s say you’re a wholesaler of graphic print t-shirts looking for a retailer buyer. In order to land on your wholesale price, you need to work backwards.
Firstly, do a bit of research out there on the market. How much are products similar to yours selling?
The next step is to determine manufacturing costs for your product – i.e. how much is the manufacturer that’s producing them going to charge you?
If you’re making the products yourself in bulk – consider material costs plus the price of your own labour.
Then there are your overheads to consider – also known as “indirect costs”. These include things such as electricity bills, rent and advertising – right down to the coffee in your staff meeting!
When you have tallied up the costs of all of the above, start thinking about your profit margin.
Your profit margin percentage is the total profit divided by the total revenue.
Do some research and find out what the usual markup is in your industry for your product type – sometimes it can be as much as 100%.
You can also help retailers along by providing a “suggested retail price” – i.e. how much you would advise them to sell your product for.
This will help them understand how much they can profit from your product when selling it to their customers.
Establish your minimum order quantity
One of the first questions you will get asked by retailers looking to buy your wholesale product is: “What’s your minimum order quantity?”
This refers to the minimum amount of products you require a buyer to purchase in order to accept their order.
As a wholesaler, you generally want to shift your product in bulk and not waste time on smaller orders with lower profit margins.
Some buyers will complain this is more stock than they require, but minimum orders are justified when you consider the discounted pricing you are offering them.
Sometimes new buyers will be reluctant to commit to a larger number when it’s their first time ordering your products.
If you sense reticence for this reason – offer to send out free samples to demonstrate the quality of your product. You could also offer them a free trial to incentivize them (of which more later!)
Once they see that they are dealing with a professional, they should be happy to commit to an order with you.
Invest in advertising
You know how the old saying goes: you have to speculate to accumulate!
Although advertising can sometimes seem like an unwanted expense, it really is a vital part of running a successful business.
Competition is stiff when it comes to selling your wholesale products to retail buyers, so you want to ensure you’re getting noticed..
Traditionally the most popular market places for wholesalers to connect with their buyers have been hard copy advertising in trade magazines such as Market Times, Gift Focus and Craft Focus– and this is still an excellent option in terms of publicity.
A large number of retail buyers regularly consult these publications -often in search of a wholesale supplier – so it’s a great way of getting your products right under their noses!
But when it comes to advertising, it certainly doesn’t hurt to adopt a two-pronged approach.
Increasingly, the most popular market places for wholesalers are online directories such as ours at The Wholesaler UK.
Our directory offers 24/365 access to retailers looking for suppliers and can be accessed literally at the touch of a keypad from anywhere in the world.
There’s no better way to find retail buyers for your wholesale products!
Make the entire buying process easy for your customer
In order to ensure customer satisfaction, you need to make the process of buying your wholesale product as seamless as possible from start to finish.
In an increasingly digital age, this means having effective e-commerce strategies in place– enabling buyers to place orders and make payments on your website.
It also means putting time and effort into good old-fashioned customer service.
Make sure all your company contact details are clearly displayed on your website so that it’s easy for potential buyers to get in touch with you
Buyers may well have questions about your wholesale product, and will greatly appreciate being able to talk to a human being on the end of a phone, or receiving a friendly and informative email response to their enquiry.
Also, the work doesn’t stop when you secure that order! If you want your buyers to keep coming back for more – make sure that your delivery process is smooth and efficient.
Nothing will exasperate retailers more than having to wait a long time for the stock to be delivered!
Imagine the scenario: you’ve been contacted by a retail buyer showing interest in your wholesale product, but you’ve still yet to secure that all-important first order.
How can you reel your potential buyer in and get the sale over the line?
Why, offer incentives, of course!
There are various options when it comes to incentivizing a first-time retail buyer to place an order, including:
- Offering discounts on first orders for new customers
- Low minimum order requirements, either in terms of quantity or total spend.
- Carriage-free shipping over a certain amount of expenditure.
- Favourable payments terms
- Free samples.
Some wholesalers also offer a dropshipping service whereby customers can advertise the wholesaler’s products on their website but the order is packaged and shipped by the wholesaler.
This is particularly popular with smaller retailers as it removes the need for them to hold large stocks.
Go to trade shows to connect with buyers
One way of introducing your wholesale product to a retail buyer is through a trade show.
Trade shows are attended by thousands of retail buyers each year, with the specific aim of finding new products for their stores.
Although renting a stand at a trade show can be pricey, it gives you the opportunity to display your product and connect face-to-face with potential customers, so it’s an expense well worth considering.
You can access a list of UK trade shows for 2021 here.
Check out the competition
In order to sell wholesale products successfully, you should always keep an eye on what your market competitors are doing.
This will keep you up to date on industry trends and ensure you are always ahead of the curve when it comes to your product offering.
Maintaining competitive pricing is also key to keeping and attracting new customers, so be sure to check out what your fellow wholesalers are doing on this front, too.
Follow your competitors on social media and regularly check out their websites to see what they’re up to and if they’re launching any new offers or products.
The aim is not to steal ideas, but to be inspired to create your own!
There are many different strategies at play when it comes to successfully selling your wholesale products to retail buyers – but by employing the above tactics you will be off to a strong start.
If you want to boost your profile even further, here at the Wholesaler UK we have over 20 years of experience connecting UK wholesalers to buyers.
Our comprehensive online directory is one of the best places to advertise your business.
If you would like to start reaching more retail buyers for your product, get in touch with us today to find out more!