The key pillar for a retail business is purchasing the goods from a wholesaler. The wholesaler is the intermediary between the retailer and the manufacturer of the product. Retailers buy from wholesalers in large quantities and at lower prices to sell the same to customers at higher prices, thus earning a profit margin. Although few may find it daunting and confusing to do wholesale purchasing, it is a sustainable business model worldwide.
It is the most critical task for retailers as it requires relationship building with the wholesalers so that negotiations can happen on prices, quantities, shipping costs, unloading of products, and many more factors. Once long-term relationships with wholesalers are built, it is easier for retailers to obtain the best deals, leading to better profits while selling in retail.
Despite being aware of all this, retailers make mistakes while purchasing goods from wholesalers. We provide a few guidelines that can enable you to make your wholesale purchasing a good experience and a fruitful outcome for your business. Below are a few guidelines for retailers:
Research, research, and more research
Before looking for potential wholesalers, decide on the product categories and brands, you intend to sell in your retail store. This requires the retailers to visit similar or competitive stores and look at all the possible product categories you can sell. For each product category, you must note down the brands that they have. This visit enables the retailer to understand what products or brands are selling well, what have discounts or offers, and what are in the clearance section.
With some more interaction and conversation, it is sometimes possible to find the wholesaler from which the other retailer is sourcing all the products. This visit to similar stores enables the retailer to finalize the product categories he/she will sell in the store and the possible brands that can be kept in the display.
The next research is on the possible wholesalers that can supply you with all the products required for your store. With the retail store visits, you get to know some potential options of wholesalers who supply the products in your area. You can do further research through some secondary research or checking out online e-commerce sites to know about suppliers.
Another way is to attend trade shows or visit buyers’ markets and interact with the people to get better insights into the possible vendors and the pricing structure. Retailers can also use library sources or join buying groups to find relevant products and their vendors.
Moreover, many manufacturers directly sell to retailers without involving any wholesaler to reduce the complications and pricing. However, there is a possibility that they keep a huge minimum order as a restriction. Another way to use your network with a manufacturer is to get a list of the dealers or wholesalers to whom they sell their products so that you can contact them for sale to you.
You can also import products from foreign manufacturing companies if the pricing turns out to be good for you. However, it requires deep research for pricing since it may involve huge shipping costs, approvals, permits, check for product lifecycle, and transportation time.
Understanding the policies of wholesalers
When talking to potential wholesalers, the two most important considerations are the pricing of products and the quality of the products delivered to you. For this, deep research and insights are necessary into the pricing offered by the wholesalers. It is important to know each item’s average resale price to calculate your profit margins after including the other expenses of the store, shipping, and marketing efforts.
The second consideration must be the quality of the products sold by the wholesaler. There should be no breakage, no marks, and proper packaging available for the products since these would be put up on display in the retail store.
Another important factor is the vendors’ payment terms – whether retailers have to pay upfront or an allowable payment period is defined and how the payment is to be made – in cash, cheque, online transfer, or bank deposit.
Other factors that also require some attention include reliable delivery services, reputation, and satisfactory customer services. While negotiating with wholesalers, retailers must understand the business processes and procedures of the vendor.
They must gather information regarding whether the vendor will deliver the products to the store directly or whether they have to arrange the transportation. Moreover, the vendor’s other policies regarding loading and unloading of the products in the vehicle, the return policy in case of broken or damaged products, and the supply cycle must be understood well to avoid any confusion or disagreements later on.
Retailers must also ask for any discounts or offer if bought in bulk orders. It is a good practice to ask for a sample delivered to your store to get a better idea of the process instead of ordering a large shipment in the first place.
The key is to find reliable wholesalers; someone who always delays the delivery, does not deliver at all, or delivers the damaged goods is not what you are looking for. A reliable customer service team is another criterion where retailers can rank the wholesalers for a final decision. Your questions require answers, and you need their customer service team to be around when such questions arise.
Furthermore, wholesalers must have good knowledge of all the products they are selling. They must be sure of the quality of the product that they are selling and its comparison with the other product sold by other vendors. If they are unaware of the product, its quality, or its sourcing, there is a possibility that they do not care about their business or they do not believe in the quality of their product. In either of the cases, the situation is bad. Therefore, retailers must change their decision and find another vendor.
Keep your eyes and ears open
Retailers must be wary of the initial supplier that they take on board to supply products and goods. Once the retailer opens the store and people start visiting it, there are higher chances of suppliers giving you a visit directly to sell their products.
Moreover, the interactions with existing and potential customers can sometimes lead to some information on other suppliers or vendors who offer other brands or categories of products. Therefore, retailers must keep their eyes and ears open for information on any more wholesalers ready to sell more variety of products, at lesser prices or in better deals.
Once you have finalized the wholesaler, it is good to develop a relationship with the vendors based on trust, which can go on for a longer duration without disagreements. The time and efforts in building a relationship enable you to get better deals for your ordered products or repeat orders.
Moreover, the trust-based relationship also works wonders when some unwanted situation happens. Instead of blame-game, people take it upon themselves to ensure the completion of the business transaction. You also feel more confident in the process when dealing with them.
Follow your budget
Retailers must ensure that they follow the budget while making a bulk purchase from the wholesaler. Since there are large quantities to be ordered, there is a higher probability of jumping the budget soon. Therein lays the skill of negotiation so that you negotiate the right prices at the right time before going beyond your budget.
Retailers must understand the importance and relevance of wholesale purchasing, and therefore, they must follow the mentioned steps wholeheartedly to get the best deals for their products. The wholesaler’s terms and conditions regarding minimum order quantity, pricing, payment terms, minimum retail prices, return and exchange policy, shipping terms, and ordering process must be reviewed thoroughly to avoid any regrets later on in the relationship.