The wholesale distribution industry is full of opportunities for entrepreneurs all over the world. With the growth of the internet, many existing wholesalers are finding innovative ways to grow and scale their businesses.
In this post, we’re going to discuss how to ensure that your wholesale business is set up to flourish for years to come. We will talk about shifting towards the B2B eCommerce space, diversifying your sales channels and more.
Are you ready to learn how to run a successful wholesale distribution business?
6 Tips for Sustaining Your Wholesale Business
So, you have your wholesale business up and running, but now what? In order to nourish your business so that it continues to thrive and grow, you’re going to need to be strategic and consistent with how you operate.
Let’s take a look at the top 6 tips for running a successful wholesale distribution business.
1. Prioritize Customer Relations
The number one way to not only sustain but to grow your wholesale distribution business is to make your customers your priority. Your goal should be to provide both valuable products and a shopping experience that brings your customers coming back.
This means pricing your products appropriately and showing your customers that you appreciate them by giving them deals that make it hard for them to go elsewhere. It also means taking care of any issues that arise rather than pushing them off and causing friction with your customers.
As a wholesaler, you’re working with other businesses, so losing a customer will likely cost you much more than it would if you were operating in the B2C space.
Building long term relationships with customers is the key to success in a business like yours.
2. Shift Towards B2B eCommerce
Up until recent years, many B2B retail transactions were carried out off the internet. Retailers placed orders based on listings in paper catalogs.
However, retailers have caught up with consumers and have started shopping online. This means that as a wholesaler, your best choice would be to make that transition, as well.
There are a couple of ways that you can go to make your products available online. You could build an eCommerce website that features all of your products, but this can get costly and complicated if it is not done right.
You could also list your products on an existing B2B eCommerce marketplace, like Alibaba.com. This way you can enhance your discoverability and reach millions of retailers who are ready to buy.
3. Stick to Your Processes
Having standard operating procedures and documented processes will help you to streamline day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. This goes for sales, order fulfillment, shipping, invoicing and beyond.
Of course, you can tweak your processes as you grow and learn what works and what does not. But keeping things consistent will lead to more organization and simplicity on your end. It will also set the standard for your customers so they know what to expect every single time they place an order with you.
The other benefit of having documented processes is that you can hand off your master sheet or handbook to another operator if you want to step down from your management role or need to take a leave of absence. The ability to hand the operations off like that is important for sustaining the business for the long-run.
4. Diversify Your Sales Channels
Relying on leads from one single source is not ideal as you grow your wholesale distribution business. Putting all of your eggs in one basket can be devastating if something happens with one sales channel.
Diversifying your sales channels will help you diversify your customer base and open doors to new opportunities. It is also wise to continuously tweak your strategies for specific sales channels to keep things fresh and cutting edge.
As we mentioned, listing your products on a B2B eCommerce platform is a great place to start, but you’ll want to build a network in addition to that. Depending on the nature of your specific business, you may benefit from social media or email marketing, as well.
However, since you’ll be dealing with high-ticket clients, a lot of it will boil down to fostering valuable relationships with your clients and other connections. Going to conferences, trade shows, expos and other professional events is a good way to kindle the appropriate relationships.
5. Become Adaptable
The ability to adapt will make or break your wholesale distribution business. One example that we mentioned in this post was shifting towards eCommerce. Wholesale businesses that fail to do this likely won’t be around for more than another decade.
The growth of the internet is simply one recent adaptation, but with the way that technology is evolving, wholesale distributors will likely be pivoting in many different ways in the near future.
Your goal should be at the forefront of the cutting edge to continue to serve your customers to the best of your ability. If your competitor adopts new strategies that can streamline the buying experience, cut costs or generally make things more convenient for buyers, why would your customers stay with you?
6. Set Minimum Order Quantities
Minimum order quantities (MOQs) are used as part of a tactic that many wholesale businesses use to make sure that every order is worth their while. This seems like a very simple tip, but it could save you a great deal of time, money and headache in the long-run.
Setting an MOQ will often help you build relationships with customers that truly have a demand for your products, rather than people who are trying to get low quantities at wholesale price.
We recommend setting your MOQ at least 20% higher than you need it to be so that you have room for negotiation since many buyers will try to get you to go lower, especially on their first order.
Alibaba.com for Scaling Your Wholesale Business
Growing and scaling your business should not be done alone. You should call in the big guns when you’re ready to make big moves.
Alibaba.com is a platform that is fully loaded with the tools you need to manage and grow your wholesale distribution business. Our platform is an online marketplace for buyers and sellers in the retail industry.
We’re mostly known for our clean interface that allows buyers to find suppliers with the goods and materials they need to stock their shelves, whether they be physical or virtual. However, Alibaba.com offers so much more.
Our Seller Central is geared towards wholesalers like you who want to focus on B2B eCommerce. In addition to listing your products in our expansive digital catalog, you can actually browse buyers’ Requests for Quotations (RFQs) where they post what sort of products they are looking for.
Once you’re matched with qualified leads, you can access Alibaba.com’s tools for communication, payment and even shipping, so you can keep all of your client interactions in one easy place.