Do you currently sell your products wholesale to brick and mortar stores but you're wondering how you can make the most out of those buyer relationships?
That's a great question because with just a few simple tweaks, you can make so much more money with the existing buyers that you already have.
Hi, my name is Mei Pak, and I help makers, artists, and designers create a consistent income from selling their handmade products online.
Create a Custom Newsletter
My very first tip for you is to have a wholesale buyers only newsletter.
This is a great way to stay in touch with your wholesale buyers without having to email each one individually. If you're like me, having to do that means never doing that.
Having a system like this with an email list makes it easy for you to talk and communicate with your wholesale buyers whenever you have new information to share with them.
So, what would that look like?
A great strategy you can take is to plan specific offers or promos and center them around dates that are close to the beginning of a trade show, like the New York Now Trade Show.
That way you don't have to actually go to that trade show to benefit from the fact that a lot of wholesale buyers in a buying mode to stock up their shelves.
Your offer could be something simple like:
- if you order over $300 worth of products I'm going to throw in free shipping for you
- If you place an order more than $500, then I'll throw in a free display stand to help present my products
This makes it more attractive so that the shops customers are more likely to buy from you.
It doesn't have to be sending out coupon codes, promos, or offers for free shipping, but anytime you have a new design or a new product collection you definitely want to send an email out to all your wholesale buyers to let them know.
Most wholesale buyers who have a positive track record of selling your products are going to want to know.
When you have new stuff to share with them, that means they have new stuff to share with their existing customer base. All of that means they get more money.
Don't feel like you are ever bothering a wholesale buyer or somehow appearing desperate for sales by contacting them. It's a two-way relationship. Don't forget that these wholesale buyers are also benefiting from your relationship with them.
They're making a profit from selling your product. If you were not a part of that picture they wouldn't be able to make those sales, right?
Plan an Incentive
The second tip I have for you is to plan some sort of incentive to get them to buy from you every few months.
Let's say that you are a soap maker. Maybe during the month of February when a wholesale buyer places an order or 12 bars of soap you're going to throw in a 13th bar for free.
Not everything has to be positioned as a discount or a promo, it's just an incentive to get them to buy now rather than to procrastinate and forget about it.
I don't know about you, but I have a lot of buyers that if I don't reach out to them they're not going to reach out to me even if they ran out of stock of my product and they could benefit from a re-order.
Buyers are busy people, so you want to make it easy, you want to make it front of mind, and you want to incentivize to encourage them to buy from you multiple times a year.
Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
The third tip I have for you is to offer a money-back guarantee of some sort.
Now this is perfect if you are establishing new wholesale customer relationship.
I have a policy that says if the store doesn't sell 35% of their inventory that they bought from me in 90 days, then they have a right to ask for a refund and I would happily oblige.
Now, I want to unpack and talk a little bit about why this is very helpful and why you might want to do this if you can.
It's a huge risk to ask the wholesale buyer to spend 100s of dollars investing in your product when they have no idea if they're going to make a return on their investment.
They don't know if the product is going to sell or not and because of that risk, you can bet that there are a lot of wholesale buyers who don't buy from you simply because they are a little bit hesitant.
By offering some sort of guarantee like this, it takes away some of that risk, and it shows them that you have confidence in your product.
It makes that relationship feels more like a two-way relationship because you're essentially saying “Hey, I want to share in the risk with you. If the product doesn't sell, I don't wanna make it completely your loss.”
That's a super nice and teamwork spirit thing to do, right?
Buyers are going to be much more likely to buy from you if you've got something like that in place.
I know not every business is going to feel comfortable doing this, but I really encourage you to find a way to make something like this work.
Do you currently offer any incentives or promos or promos to your wholesale buyers? If you do, I would love to hear about what kinds of offers you share with them. Let me know in the comment.
You need to offer support to your wholesale buyers.
There are a lot of simple ways that you can offer support.
If, say, a product requires the customers to be able to smell or feel it before they buy it (lotion, candles, t-shirts, etc.) you might want to consider including samples to your wholesale buyers.
Let's say you sell bath and body products and a wholesale buyer is interested in your line of lotions and your lotions come in 8-ounce bottles.
It would benefit everyone, both you and the buyer, if you offer a buyer a smaller tester or sample size that they can put on their shelves. This let's their customers test your product before actually making a purchase.
This could mean just putting your lotion in different packaging and a different kind of bottle that is smaller in size, like a 4-ounce bottle.
Doing something like that shows the buyer that you are committed and invested in helping them make sales.
They're much more likely to want to come back and buy from you again.
And, honestly they're also going to be much more likely to make sales of your products in their shop.
This is along the same lines as a sample or a tester product that their customers can actually try and use.
The packaging that you put your products in, if you have any packaging at all, can really help display your products in a way that makes it look really premium, attractive, and just really appealing.
That makes people want to use it.
So a good example of this is when I was first starting out selling wholesale. I used to package all of my jewelry out in a clear plastic flat sleeves, but my jewelry is pretty thick. Most things are about a three-quarter-inch deep and that will cost the plastic sleeves to just kind of you know stick out a little bit. It's not a very attractive way to display the product and it just kind of makes everything look a little bit cheap. It doesn't make it look like it is worth the price tag that was on it.
I upgraded my packaging to be put in clear plastic boxes instead and it just looks a lot more luxurious.
I tell that story just to illustrate that what you choose to package it can make a huge difference for sales with the store owner.
Returns & Exchanges
If something breaks and if it's not the fault of the customer (or even if it is) what are your policies for that?
With my business, I'm happy to replace or exchange an item regardless if it's the customer's fault or it was a product defect.
Ultimately, I want my customers to be happy, and that means making their customers happy.
My fifth tip for you, is to just make a habit of regularly checking in with your wholesale buyers.
Not enough people do this and you might be surprised to see that the buyers actually really appreciate it.
Just keep in mind that buyers, are super busy and you're not the only maker that their buying products from.
When you follow-up with them (once every few months), it's a good time to ask:
- Do you have everything you need?
- Are you seeing any challenges in selling the product?
- How can I provide more support to help you sell the products better?
When you reach out to the wholesale buyers it's a good time for you to just check in and ask how everything is going and if they would like to make a re-order.
If it's not selling well, that's also feedback that you want. Why? Because that informs you that there is something more you can be doing to help the buyer sell product.
Maybe it's just that the buyer doesn't understand your product well enough to be able to communicate the benefits of your product to their customers.
It's a conversation you definitely want to open up because, again, it's kind of a two-way relationship.
You want to help them sell your product so they'll keep buying from you.
I know it can be kind of challenging and scary to ask for feedback like that, but if you approach it from that standpoint of asking in order to help everyone, buyers are going to appreciate you.
Because you're not coming from a place of fear, but it's of how can we help make this a really really good working relationship.