How to Work with Wholesale Suppliers
Are you thinking about starting your own retail or reselling business? One of the most important factors that can make or break your business is your relationship with wholesale suppliers. When I say relationship, I mean how you work with them.
Quite frankly, there are 300,000 companies in the US that cater to wholesale distribution, and wholesale clothing is just a fraction of this industry. So let’s say, there’s a good 5,000 companies that provide wholesale clothing. You might think that it’s okay to burn one bridge, but that one bridge connects to 4,999 other companies.
Trust me when I say that wholesale suppliers work together despite their competition and they will do what it takes to blacklist potential clients.
When you work together with a supplier or a wholesaler, it’s important to note that they can offer you tons of benefits and perks as long as your relationship is solid and professional.
I remember a cousin of mine who went into reselling electronic gadgets and he had this amazing camaraderie with two wholesaling outlets for gadgets. They gave him discounts on his purchases and they even helped him secure some products straight from the suppliers that they didn’t offer to other clients.
But before I begin talking about working with wholesale suppliers, allow me to share a few important details on the business:
The roles of wholesalers
Wholesalers serve retailers and other service-oriented businesses by allocating distribution channels and working with various supply chains. In other words, they are in-charge of providing outlets with products and keep them afloat with their inventory. In this case, let’s talk about a clothing outlet. A wholesaler will acquire products through volume-centric buying and then sell them to retailers at a higher margin that allows both retailers and wholesalers to make a profit. This is achieved through the wholesaler’s acquisition of the products at a lower price straight from the supplier or distributor.
It’s All About Volume
Wholesalers like to purchase and sell in volume. The more you buy, the lesser you pay for it. Wholesalers work through this mechanic because it allows them to enjoy higher profits as a result of a faster disposal of products. As an aspiring reseller, you may find it difficult to negotiate with wholesale suppliers for a number of reasons. First, the wholesaler may think that a specific amount is what you need and it could be higher or lower than your anticipated amount. Second, wholesale suppliers may not risk shelling out their inventory to you at a lower volume because it will affect their profits and yours as well.
The Wholesale Agreement
Assuming that you now have wholesale suppliers to work it, it’s time to work on your end – this is all about securing your volume discounts, return policies, and order processing time. Before you sign any contract, you need to be able to settle the pricing terms, minimum order quantities, and delivery schedules, among other things.
If push comes to shove, you can always ask for referrals from other outlets and resellers as to what kind of agreement they usually have with their wholesalers. Chances are, it will be what I listed above, but you’ll be able to get an idea on the finer details.
Now, a good relationship with your wholesale suppliers is important because they are your store’s bloodline. They keep everything moving. Without wholesale suppliers, your supply-and-demand chain would be cut. You won’t have anything to supply your customer’s demands.
So how does one build a good relationship with wholesale suppliers?
Consider wholesale suppliers as business partners and business friends. When you work with people that your business relies on, it pays to not make enemies out of them. Greet them every chance you get, build camaraderie, develop a business relationship that’s built on trust and good nature. Every good thing you do towards them can go a long way.
Pay attention to their requests
Some suppliers, when you work with them, have some requests when it comes to scheduling of purchase, the scheduling of payments, and even contacting the right person in their company. I have one word: COMPLY. Not every business transaction is about you and sometimes, wholesale suppliers will often go the distance to accommodate your needs so it’s ideal that you do the same as well. For example, if they suggest that the faster way to deal with them is through their website instead of calling the agent, then just follow their instructions. Remember that they also aim to build a good relationship with you and they will not risk losing one client.
Pay on time
Suppliers can be lenient, but sometimes, you just don’t want to abuse this. When your bills arrive, it’s important to pay on time or they will re-think their business dealings with you. Remember that they are also running a business and you are not their only client. At any given time, you can be dropped by the supplier for being a delinquent and they will tell other wholesalers about your reputation.
Don’t blame them
There will always be problem with the business, and sometimes, your business will be affected by a shortage of stocks or delays in the arrival of products. Do not blame your wholesale suppliers for anything that goes wrong in the business. Yes, they received your order a day too late from the supposed schedule. Yes, they tried to accommodate the delivery so it will be delivered on time to your store. But if it’s delayed, do not even think about blaming them.
There are factors well outside the realm of control for you and the wholesale supplier. Whenever a customer asks you about your current stocks, never tell them that you’re missing out on a few inventory because the wholesaler did not deliver. Trust me when I say that word gets around fast and when wholesalers find out you blame them for your business’ mishaps, they will drop you as a client.
When it comes to building a professional and good relationship with wholesale suppliers, the main takeaway here is that you treat them well and that you respect them. Wholesale suppliers are business partners when it comes down to brass taxes, so never stab your partners in the back.
In the end, it’s about treating them right and knowing how to work with them. Your success as a reseller relies on your capability to build this important business relationship.