The Five-Step Plan for New Retailers to Find the Right Wholesalers

  • Added:
    Dec 31, 2013
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The Five-Step Plan for New Retailers to Find the Right Wholesalers Photo by adele dressner

The biggest strength of a retail business, besides a loyal and growing clientele, is a reliable source of supply of quality products. While sourcing products from wholesale suppliers is the obvious solution, finding the right wholesaler and making the right choice of supplies is the real challenge. The best way to go about the business of sourcing supplies is to make a step-by-step plan that starts right from deciding on what to sell to building a reliable supplier base.

The first step, naturally, is to decide on what you are going to sell. This could be a niche category of products, a unique range of products such as designer jewelry or designer evening wear, made-to-order or customized products, or common products with a special USP. Products that you finally decide to procure and sell should be those that are greatly in demand, easy to sell and preferably indispensable to your customers. The basic idea is that you should never be out of business. Small upsets in the economic cycles should not affect your sales. Developing a store for a special range of products along with accessories – a one-stop shop for related products – would help attract good clientele and retain them in the long run.

The second step would be to carry out appropriate market research. An insight has to be gained into the various products that are in demand, the products that are available, the prices and features of the existing products, the changing customer tastes and trends, etc. You need to search intensively online while cautiously watching out for fake and genuine websites. Industry-specific directories may help you find easy access to the relevant suppliers. Moreover, you need to make enquiries in the market as well as directly with the vendors. It is most important that you check out the vendors’ addresses and phone numbers and speak directly to the relevant authorities. Online forums are venues where you can ask questions and get reviews on particular suppliers and their products as well as get good references. Here too, you need to watch out for fake responses and bogus reviews.

The third step, obviously, would be to decide on suppliers from whom the products are to be procured. Products can be sourced from any supplier, but the ideal choice would be a wholesale supplier who offers quality products at reasonable prices under reasonable terms of contract. The suppliers could be wholesalers supplying goods offline or online. Suppliers may be manufacturers or distributors. When you purchase from manufacturers, you are assured of getting the products at the lowest possible prices, as the cost would include only the manufacturers’ margin. However, you may have to make large bulk orders. For orders that are not huge, you may have to approach a distributor. Though rates charged by distributors, as compared to manufacturers, would be higher, you have the luxury of selecting from a wide range of products from a variety of manufacturers. Buying from an online store which supplies a wide variety of products straight from the warehouse would give you the benefits of both. There are online stores that offer quality products online with good customer care and support that guides you through the process of buying. They also replace products or refund your money in case of damage. What’s more, you may get special offers and discounts too.

The fourth step is to contact the vendors and place orders. Before finalizing the order you have to make sure all documents, licenses and permits are in place. The terms of contract, including payment and delivery, need to be clarified. If you are receiving credit facilities, all terms as regards credit amount (total amounts and breakups if any), credit term period (as regards maximum time allowed for repayment),  and discounts and penalties (in case of early and late payments respectively) should be understood and agreed upon by both parties.

The fifth and concluding, or rather, ongoing step would be to maintain a cordial and continuing relationship with your suppliers with whom your transactions have been satisfactory. A long, ongoing relationship helps better in negotiating and getting better prices. The suppliers may also be willing to go out of their way to accommodate your requirements. You are ensured of a more and better choice of products to choose from if your supplier deals in a wide range of products. If the supplier is reputed for quality, you may not need to personally check for quality on every purchase made. Overall, a good retailer-supplier relationship will reduce your risks of price, delivery and quality.

The biggest strength of a retail business, besides a loyal and growing clientele, is a reliable source of supply of quality products. While sourcing products from wholesale suppliers is the obvious solution, finding the right wholesaler and making the right choice of supplies is the real challenge. The best way to go about the business of sourcing supplies is to make a step-by-step plan that starts right from deciding on what to sell to building a reliable supplier base.

The first step, naturally, is to decide on what you are going to sell. This could be a niche category of products, a unique range of products such as designer jewelry or designer evening wear, made-to-order or customized products, or common products with a special USP. Products that you finally decide to procure and sell should be those that are greatly in demand, easy to sell and preferably indispensable to your customers. The basic idea is that you should never be out of business. Small upsets in the economic cycles should not affect your sales. Developing a store for a special range of products along with accessories – a one-stop shop for related products – would help attract good clientele and retain them in the long run.

The second step would be to carry out appropriate market research. An insight has to be gained into the various products that are in demand, the products that are available, the prices and features of the existing products, the changing customer tastes and trends, etc. You need to search intensively online while cautiously watching out for fake and genuine websites. Industry-specific directories may help you find easy access to the relevant suppliers. Moreover, you need to make enquiries in the market as well as directly with the vendors. It is most important that you check out the vendors’ addresses and phone numbers and speak directly to the relevant authorities. Online forums are venues where you can ask questions and get reviews on particular suppliers and their products as well as get good references. Here too, you need to watch out for fake responses and bogus reviews.

The third step, obviously, would be to decide on suppliers from whom the products are to be procured. Products can be sourced from any supplier, but the ideal choice would be a wholesale supplier who offers quality products at reasonable prices under reasonable terms of contract. The suppliers could be wholesalers supplying goods offline or online. Suppliers may be manufacturers or distributors. When you purchase from manufacturers, you are assured of getting the products at the lowest possible prices, as the cost would include only the manufacturers’ margin. However, you may have to make large bulk orders. For orders that are not huge, you may have to approach a distributor. Though rates charged by distributors, as compared to manufacturers, would be higher, you have the luxury of selecting from a wide range of products from a variety of manufacturers. Buying from an online store which supplies a wide variety of products straight from the warehouse would give you the benefits of both. There are online stores that offer quality products online with good customer care and support that guides you through the process of buying. They also replace products or refund your money in case of damage. What’s more, you may get special offers and discounts too.

The fourth step is to contact the vendors and place orders. Before finalizing the order you have to make sure all documents, licenses and permits are in place. The terms of contract, including payment and delivery, need to be clarified. If you are receiving credit facilities, all terms as regards credit amount (total amounts and breakups if any), credit term period (as regards maximum time allowed for repayment),  and discounts and penalties (in case of early and late payments respectively) should be understood and agreed upon by both parties.

The fifth and concluding, or rather, ongoing step would be to maintain a cordial and continuing relationship with your suppliers with whom your transactions have been satisfactory. A long, ongoing relationship helps better in negotiating and getting better prices. The suppliers may also be willing to go out of their way to accommodate your requirements. You are ensured of a more and better choice of products to choose from if your supplier deals in a wide range of products. If the supplier is reputed for quality, you may not need to personally check for quality on every purchase made. Overall, a good retailer-supplier relationship will reduce your risks of price, delivery and quality.

 

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