Are you currently selling your handmade products wholesale but you're not quite sure how to get more wholesale orders?
Well, in this post, I'm going to show you four ways to get more wholesale orders in your handmade business.
Hi, my name is Mei Pak, and I help makers, artists, and creatives, create a consistent income, selling their handmade products online.
1. Place Wholesale Information on Your Website
The very first tip that I have for you is to just place some sort of wholesale information on your website.
This could be just information informing people that you sell wholesale along with your terms or could be a page that has a contact form. Including a contact form allows people who are interested in buying wholesale from you to put in their information so you could reach out to them with more information.
I know it sounds kind of like, “Duh captain obvious, of course I put information on my website” but you'll be surprised at how many people that do sell wholesale who miss this step.
Keep in mind that when you're driving traffic to your shop online, there is probably a small percentage of those people who are actual store owners and wholesale buyers for brick and mortar stores.
Make it easy for them to see that you sell wholesale and if they like your product, they can work with you and carry their product in their store.
I remember when I first started selling wholesale I didn't have information on my website to tell people that and it clicked with me one day. I decided to put in a contact form style wholesale information page and I instantaneously got so many wholesale requests every week, even now!
And all of it is because I have that page on my website.
It sounds simple, but just making buyers aware that you do sell wholesale is going to make a huge difference and this is something that you can do right now in the next 10 minutes.
2. Make it Easy for Buyers to Purchase From You
My second tip for you is: to make it so stupidly easy for buyers to buy from you.
Now the traditional way of doing wholesale is a buyer emails you to say, “Hey I want to carry your products and I would like more information on how to do that” then you email them with a bunch of documents like your wholesale catalog, line sheet, terms and conditions, and your order form.
Your order form is probably going to be a pdf format, Word document, or an Excel spreadsheet. Unfortunately, that's not as user-friendly as it could be.
Generally, buyers like to look at catalogs while they are sitting at their shop. They're browsing through your catalog and if that's a document on an iPad or a laptop then they need to have a separate place where they are taking notes on what items they want. What usually happens is people will print out the order form so that they have a hard copy of it and then they're handwriting their notes on that.
Once they're done with entering all of the information in the order sheet, they're going to have to scan it in and email that back to you.
Do you see how many different steps you require the buyer to take just to place an order with you?
Even if it's a Word or Excel document, you're making the assumption that the buyer has that software that they can access while they're browsing your catalog.
There is a chance they may not be able to open your order form.
So a lot of times what buyers like to do is skip all that order form stuff, so they don't have to download, print, or scan and they just open an email to write in a reply to the products they want, the quantities they want, and the credit card information.
Now, you can see that's not a very sophisticated or a very easy process.
So the best thing you can do is, if you have a Shopify site, to have a page where they can literally order online.
There are lots of solutions to this.
Create a Duplicate Shopify Site
Some people have like one Shopify site for their retail orders and second duplicate Shopify site for their wholesale orders.
Use a Password Protected App
There is also another way, where you use a password-protected app and wholesale discounting app for Shopify. The buyer creates a customer account on your website first and once that is complete, you put a wholesale tag on that customer. The next time they log in they can shop!
What I don't like about that process is there are still quite a lot of steps and a lot of barriers, which means a lot of potential for the customers to drop out of the process.
If you make them go through three different steps, there are three different opportunities for the buyer to get distracted and then change their mind and never place an order with you.
Create a Simple Order Form
My favorite way is to actually have a page in your Shopify site that is just an order form.
It doesn't have to be complicated, mine is literally just a table with a little picture of each of my products, the title of the product, the price, and a little box where they can put in how many quantities of that product they want, and then a button that says add to cart.
When the buyer clicks on that it adds everything in the Shopify cart.
Yes, there is some custom coding involved to this, but if you're investing in selling wholesale, that's a cost that will pay itself back over time very quickly.
When I implemented this on my own website, I saw an instant increase in conversion rate from every time a buyer requested wholesale information to actually completing the sale.
It's been a huge game-changer for my wholesale business and I encourage you to do the same thing to make it easy for them to buy.
Carry this Through to Your Email Pitch
If you're actively reaching out to potential wholesale customers, one thing a lot of people like to do is send an email pitch. You include all the same information that you send when a buyer asks for wholesale information:
- Terms and Conditions
- Order form
The problem that I see often is people sending an email pitch but not including every single bit of information necessary for a buyer to place an order with you right then and there if they're interested.
So, what do people normally include? A catalog but with no pricing information.
I understand that people like to do that because they are protective of that sensitive data, but you're not making it easier for them because you require the buyer to reply in your email in order to get pricing information.
And pricing has so much to do with whether or not the buyer wants to buy from you or even consider buying from you.
Your pricing is an indicator of what they think they could sell your product for in their shop. If it's a question mark, they will not even open that conversation with you.
Make the Payment Process Super Easy
You also want to make it super easy for them to pay. The traditional way, in a standard order form, there's usually space on there for the buyer to handwrite in there credit card information.
Now you can imagine how potentially unsafe this is. People will, understandably, hesitate to scan it and email it to you.
So if you have your wholesale ordering process systematized and you're using that custom code on your Shopify site with an order form on a page as I do, you can easily utilize Shopify's check-out feature.
The old way of collecting wholesale information is you can't charge their cart until the order is ready to ship.
This is a standard expectation.
But of course, as a business owner (and as a product maker), what we all want is to get paid before we even make the product so we have the guarantee that we are going to get paid and so we have money we can spend on buying materials and supplies.
By utilizing Shopify's check-out features, we can easily collect pre-payments before we even start making the order.
Now, even if you don't have some fancy order form on your Shopify site, you can still use Shopify's check-out feature and credit card processing feature in collecting payment.
Let's say you're still in the traditional route where you're emailing the buyer the wholesale catalog, terms and condition, and pricing information.
You can just tell the buyer to just email you back with whatever product name and quantities that they want and you can take that information and create a manual order in Shopify.
When you're creating a manual order, you can just type in the products they want at your wholesale price points and then click a button and Shopify will email the invoice to the customer.
When the customer receives that email, they click a button which leads them into Shopify's check-out page where they can enter their credit card information securely.
Of course, if you don't want to use Shopify there are other invoicing options, like PayPal invoices, that you can use as well to collect payment.
Now before I share with you the next steps, I have a question for you. What are some ways that you have seen and steps that you have done that have helped increase your wholesale orders? I would love for you to share this in the comments so that I can learn from you too.
3. Have a Good Looking Website
My third tip for you today, if you wanna make more wholesale orders, is to have a good looking website, have a great looking brand, and to have real product photos.
When buyers find you on social media, in a magazine, or through a blog or influencer, and they click the link to come over to your website you really wanna blow their socks off.
Why is this important?
Consider that a wholesale buyer is taking 100% of the risk of buying from you. There is a chance that if they buy your product carry it in their shop that they won't sell any of it.
They need to have a lot of trust and confidence that you have a good solid product that customers already love and is validated by an existing market.
Now, this is not to say that if you're starting out and you don't have customers yet that you can't get into wholesale. That's not true. But you definitely wanna have a very strong foundation in order to attract more wholesale buyers.
4. Actively Reach Out to Stores
Schedule a time every month (or every week) where you're actively reaching out to stores. Instead of waiting for store owner to come knock on your door and say, “Hi, I want to carry your product,” you can reach out to them.
A good benchmark is to reach out to 20 new stores every month.
You're going to get so many more new wholesale orders than if you're not doing that.
My bonus tip for you is to make a list of other brands and other products that are similar to yours. So if your style is really boho-chic, then you wanna make a list of brands that also very boho-chic.
Then you go to their website and do some digging around and see if they have a page where they talk about, or list, of all of the different retailers that carry their work.
That is always a gold mine of information!
A common question people have when they get stuck in selling wholesale is, what store they should reach out to. They're not sure what store would like to carry their products.
Doing this kind of process will remove that challenge for you and you'll never get stuck wondering who to sell your products too.