Wholesale: Here’s the definitive guide [2021]

Last Updated on March 1, 2021 by Dan Christoffersen

Wholesale products

For a while now, business-to-business (B2B) wholesale has been a major disrupting force in the global business arena. If you already operate a wholesale business, now is the time to take your trade online and explore the possibilities of B2B wholesale e-commerce. And if don’t, the opportunity is certainly too big to ignore. 

A Wholesale Global Market Report by The Business Research Company indicated that the global wholesale market is expected to soar beyond $49 trillion in 2021 and $64 trillion by 2025.

With that in mind, it remains apparent that operating a wholesale business is still a bankable idea for any entrepreneur in 2021 and beyond.

Herein, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of the B2B wholesale ranging from some key definitions to major benefits to finding wholesale suppliers and retailers, plus much more. If you’ve had a bad encounter in a wholesale marketplace, we’ll tell you how to approach it like a pro and avoid the common pitfalls associated with it. 

Are you fired up just yet? Let’s dive right in!

Table of Contents

  • What is Wholesale?
  • What is Digital Wholesale?
  • What is a Wholesale Platform?
  • What are the benefits of Digital Wholesale?
  • How do I find wholesale suppliers and retailers?
  • How do I get my product in stores?
  • Wholesaler Trade Shows – That’s how you get ahead of the competition.
  • But be cautious of the wholesale marketplace.

What is Wholesale?

Wholesale businesses sell products in bulk to other businesses. The company buying from a wholesaler could use the products internally for consumption or production or sell to other businesses in smaller quantities and at higher prices. Wholesale is essentially a subset of the B2B business model.

The term ‘big-box’ retail is usually associated with B2B wholesale. It describes the wholesalers that transact with enterprise chains such as Walmart, Amazon, and Tesco.

Wholesale companies transact with other businesses just like retailers deal directly with consumers. This is the primary difference between a wholesaler and a retailer. Unlike in the wholesale space, retail businesses take full control of their production and distribution. Throughout this post, we’ll be comparing the wholesale with the retail business models to demonstrate that neither is mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact…

Most digitally native businesses today are already making it big in B2B wholesale e-commerce.

Key takeaways

  • Wholesale companies are those that sell products in bulk to other businesses.
  • Being a B2B subset, wholesalers sell goods to retailers at discounted prices.

What Is Digital Wholesale?

When your wholesale business transitions from phone calls and emails to e-commerce, it becomes a digital wholesale company. Essentially, a digital wholesale business is a wholesale business that is making use of B2B wholesale e-commerce.

As a digital wholesaler, you’re able to sell bulk goods and services to other businesses entirely online. Just like when buying your pair of sleeping pajamas on Amazon, wholesale buying works pretty much the same way – only with a larger number of pajamas.

To reap the full benefits of B2B e-commerce, consider setting up an e-store with a full range of customer-centric features such as an intuitive interface, quick order check out functionalities as well as responsive customer support. Turis – our B2B wholesale e-commerce builder features all that plus more to enable your retail clients to safely buy more, error-free and with a lot of ease.

Key takeaways

  • Digital wholesale is also known as B2B e-commerce and is the process of selling bulk goods and services to other businesses online.
  • An ideal digital wholesale platform should have an intuitive interface, easy order processing steps and a functional customer support channel.

What Is a Wholesale Platform?

Simply put, a wholesale platform is an online shop for a business selling goods and services to other businesses. 

Whenever you go online and search for something then purchase it, you’ve basically interacted  with a B2C eCommerce business. They are different from B2B companies and by extension, the wholesale e-commerce platforms. 

Normal B2C businesses are not meant to offer bulk unit purchases, so it would probably be impossible to buy 400 units of your sleeping pajamas from a retail vendor on eBay. 

A B2B wholesale business, on the other hand, is built for bulk purchases. 

A platform such as Turis serves wholesaler businesses and is a typical example of a B2B e-commerce platform since it provides a platform for wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers to build professional webshops. Wholesale platforms are meant to make it easier, faster and safer for the retail customer to place orders.

Key takeaways

  • A wholesale platform is a webshop that sells products to other businesses.
  • B2B differs from B2C in the sense that the latter sells directly to consumers while the former only transacts with other businesses.
  • Wholesale platforms such as Turis offer an easier, faster and safer avenue for other businesses to buy goods from wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers.

What Are the Benefits of Digital Wholesale?

With the rise in home working and social distancing following the global Coronavirus outbreak, now more than ever, the urge to shop online is at its peak. This new normal is pushing wholesale businesses to the online space, an area previously dominated by the retail players (B2C). 

So why should you bother taking your wholesale businesses online when in fact, according to your accountant, the numbers look “just fine” where you are? In the next few paragraphs, we tell you what exactly you could be missing by not exploiting the multi-billion-dollar B2B wholesale e-commerce sector.

Without further ado, here are six undisputed benefits of digital wholesale:

Boosted order volumes

The new decade has generally seen a steady rise in e-commerce adoption. However, during the pandemic, things took an interesting turn – according to McKinsey, a projected 10-year growth rate in the US online commerce was realized in just three months owing to recent lockdown measures by various countries.

Because households’ expenditure on online shopping has had a sharp spike, it only makes sense that the wholesale suppliers are also cashing in on the ongoing e-commerce craze. Most of the wholesale businesses running on our platform have reported increased average order values and sales volumes. 

Better control over supply

Having control over your full supply chain ecosystem grants you extra oversight over inventory and order fulfilment. Retailers excessively rely on their wholesalers for a streamlined supply chain right from production point to reselling and consumption. Being at the centre of these three fundamental product points places the wholesalers at the driver’s seat of the supply chain.

Increased visibility

Brand visibility in the e-commerce space is as important as deciding to take your wholesale business online in the first place. Since the plan is to sell to retailers, you want to position your business as the ‘go-to place for product X…’ Turis grants your wholesale B2B that professional touch it needs to stand out in a highly competitive niche.

The tool speaks to the needs of your retail customers from order placement to tracking to one-click payments. All these noteworthy features help position your store right at the front of your potential customers.

Boosted brand awareness, increased efficiency, higher average order volumes, and customer retention all equal more growth – that’s what you get out of a good wholesale e-commerce platform.

Higher transparency and efficiency

Before the kind of adoption we’re seeing today, the e-commerce space had been marred by a lot of mistrust. Most professional customers preferred to talk to or physically meet with wholesalers to place their orders. But as time went by, stakeholders found ways to regulate e-commerce, enhance security, and bestow sanity, paving the way for a generation of trustworthy direct B2B tools such as Turis and wholesale marketplaces such as Alibaba.

B2B platforms allow you to merge all your sales channels under a single interface, reducing time and resource wastages between ordering and dispatch. Your customers are also able to visit and conveniently place purchases online, without the need for physical visits.

Improved supplier and customer management

Our B2B wholesale e-commerce solution is entirely customer-focused. Everything is made with the specific needs of your clients in mind from convenient payment systems to easy navigation panels. Your business benefits from its professional touch, insightful reports, as well as a content management section to help you generate leads and monitor your digital marketing efforts. Essentially, it ensures a win-win scenario for you and your clients.

As a wholesaler, you’re also able to manage your suppliers within the Turis platform, granting you better management of your business operations.

Analytics

If like most business owners, you prefer making decisions based on accurate business data, then you certainly want to adopt a digital wholesale system. Therein, you’ll be treated to multiple reports to aid you and your team in making vital business decisions including economic order quantities, sales forecasts, understanding financial positions, as well as cash flow management.

You can also integrate Turis with your favourite applications including QuickBooks, Amazon, Xero, and more to ensure that you’re getting the best out of your e-commerce experience.

Key takeaways

  • Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, research shows that B2B e-commerce has grown to record highs. In the US, the growth realized in three months was initially expected to occur over at least 10 years. 
  • A digital wholesale platform grants you better control of your supply chain right from the inventory point to the order dispatch stage.
  • With a B2B wholesale shop, you have better control over what happens in your businesses at all times. From order tracking to responding to customers’ questions, you can easily pick out areas of improvement before they actually cause damage to your business.
  • Wholesale e-commerce grants you access to a range of customizable reports that are pivotal in decision-making. Cash flow statements can help you to keep track of how money moves in and out of your business, sales reports can reveal your product demand while content management systems can help with content targeting for potential customers.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of digital wholesale you can read this blogpost with 5 secret benefits of digital wholesale.

How do I find wholesale suppliers and retailers?

Finding the right wholesale supplier or retailer can be a fairly daunting process especially in this era of information overload. A quick search of wholesale-related keywords will easily pull up thousands of options to choose from. Today, we hope to save you the pain of having to sift through tons of internet pages to find the right supplier of baby attires or pet blankets – and to show you have to cut to the chase when sourcing for wholesalers and retailers.

How to Find Wholesale Suppliers

Step 1: Do smart online research. As cliche as that sounds, you’d be surprised at how difficult people find it to go online and do proper research about something, smartly. But don’t get this the wrong – we’re not by any chance undermining your ability to type keywords in a search engine and fire up some amazing results. However, even with the best keywords, you’d still need to know how to filter out information to end up with the relevant portion. 

For example, consider narrowing down your research to a specific location and expanding it later if necessary. And don’t be too rigid; experiment with keywords and filters more often and finally, organize your findings for easier information intake.

Step 2: Look out for the product label. This is another brilliant way of sourcing for a wholesale supplier for your products. Find successful brands within your niche and try to establish the wholesaler that they work with. You can then do your own research about those brands before finally reaching out to them.

Step 3: Inquire from manufacturers. Manufacturers work with dozens of wholesalers and they’ll easily connect you to them as it boosts their revenues too. So for example, if you’re looking for wholesalers for yoga mats, you could identify manufacturers of the product and inquire from them about possible leads to credible suppliers.

Step 4: Leverage your network, media and other sources. Sometimes someone in your circle of friends, family, workmates, or competitors could be in a position to recommend a good supplier for your products. As bizarre as it sounds, try asking businesses around you for any supplier recommendations – you might be surprised at how helpful your potential competitors could be when faced with a genuine seeking-help human. Also, consider requesting leads from online platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebooks, and Twitter.

If you want to learn more you can read this article on how to find wholesale suppliers

How to Find Retailers

With retailers, the secret is to make it easy for them to find and approach you. But perhaps more importantly, you may want to place yourself in their shoes first. 

If you were them, would you join you? If the answer is yes, then you’re already halfway there; but if it’s a silent no from inside, you might want to make things right first before sourcing for retailers.

For starters, build an easy-to-shop online store. Secondly, have a clear product catalogue with honest descriptions of your products and lastly, showcase to them things such as the available inventory at any given time and delivery durations

Once you’ve made your wholesale business convenient for retailers, consider the following extra tips:

  • Send out introductory cards about your online wholesale store – and don’t just send big smileys with no incentives; offer them irresistible discounts for online purchases to grab their attention.
  • Create useful content for your retailers – videos work best. For example, you can send out a video on how easy it is to order goods from your store with standard 24-hour delivery periods (well, if possible).
  • Work with a wholesale e-commerce tool such as Turis that does the heavy lifting for you, including handling retailer requests in a simple and structured way.

If you want to learn more you can read this article on how to get more retailers

How do I get my product in stores?

After all is said and done, getting your product on those beautiful retail shelves is what will breathe eternal life into your wholesale business. Of course, there is the option of joining the 60% that prefer outsourcing some of their marketing activities such as this but then wouldn’t you rather save a couple of bucks and still get the job done with our practical hacks?

  1. Research! Research! Research! Retailers, just like you, are a busy lot and you certainly wouldn’t want to waste their time. Find out what they need and what competitive prices mean to them. Look at other dynamics including delivery means, time, and average order quantities before reaching out to them. In short, arm yourself to the teeth.
  2. Play local and small first! Approaching a local store is much easier than trying to win over a retailer over the internet. That is why your best shot lies in going for the local retailers first, before exploring the outside options. Also, dealing with bigger retailers can be a fairly difficult process due to more bureaucracy and slower decision-making. However, the smaller stores have lean ownership structures that enable them to make faster decisions with little to no bureaucracy.
  3. Make use of trade shows. Trade shows offer a perfect platform for meeting and interacting with the retailers in your field. Establish contact during the shows and offer to make follow-ups thereafter. Expect your competitors to be there too, so don’t forget to bring your A-game.
  4. Stand out from the crowd. There are several ways for you to put your businesses in a noticeable position. Some proven ways include creating a unique product concept such as selling organic food items in a food niche, rethinking your packaging to make it communicate its benefits and uniqueness, and so on. These strategies could easily help tilt retailers your way.
  5. Practice makes perfects! Before presenting your target retailers with your offerings whether physically or otherwise, you might want to practice your speech or pitch. Demonstrate how you’re solving their problems and how well you understand their pain points. Make sure that you leave nothing to chance – know your product inside out!

If you want to learn more about how to get your products in store you can read this in-depth article on the subject.

Wholesale in Mexico

Wholesale Trade Shows – That’s How You Get Ahead of the Competition

If you’ve been operating in the B2B wholesale arena for some time, you’re probably familiar with trade shows. They are a great way to showcase your work and meet potential customers and business partners. But did you know that you can also use these shows to stay ahead of the game? Well, here’s how…

Our strategy is actually quite simple – go paperless! Yep, you heard it right – quit using paper. Most business stands at the shows will have a ton of paperwork for taking client orders, contacts, and complaints/compliments for later follow-ups.

The mistake that most of them make is to wait until the show is over for them to start handling those queries. That’s your window of opportunity to strike hard when they least expect it. The best way to do that is by digitizing your records from the trade show. Don’t rely on paper for later transfer to your e-commerce platform; you might end up acting too late (like most wholesalers do) as both the potential and your existing retailers meet hundreds of other wholesalers trying to get their business during the trade show.

Ensure that you have a digital system in place for your clients to place orders online. And if you think about it, it is even easier to make follow-ups for initial order deposits, delivery addresses, or order specifications if allow incoming clients to place their orders online, themselves.

Key takeaways

  • Trade shows offer a perfect ground for obtaining new business. As a wholesaler, make sure that you have a digitized way of taking orders from new clients to ensure prompt action as opposed to compiling tons of papers for responding after the trade show.
  • Most people go the paper way during trade shows, so going paperless could be the one thing that sets you apart from the rest.

Be Cautious of Wholesale Marketplaces

If the reality hasn’t hit you already, the wholesale marketplace can be a rather slippery ground for the small and medium-sized wholesale startups. Normally, the smaller brands face the fiercest of competitors, disloyal retailers, and strangled margins due to price competition.

Brands at this stage should thoroughly research their markets and try to source for the most relevant retailers that will not just remain loyal to their business but will also be their brand ambassadors to the final consumers. A perfectly-matched retailer and wholesaler will resonate with each other’s vision and stick together against all odds.

Lastly, don’t forget to ditch the paper, here too! Retailers want to place their orders fast and with a lot of ease. They probably don’t have time to scroll down an Excel list of over 200 products then prepare and scan back their order. They want to work with convenient wholesalers – those that actually care about their time enough to save it for them. A B2B wholesale e-commerce platform will do just that, free up time for retailers to channel their efforts towards moving products from their shelves.

If you want to learn more about the disadvantages of wholesale marketplaces you can read this article on the subject.

Key takeaways

  • Smaller B2B wholesale brands are normally faced with multiple challenges within the wholesale marketplace including increased competition from the more established brands as well as disloyal retailers.
  • The best way to get past such challenges is by establishing partnerships with the most relevant retailers who share your vision and belief for your products. And while at it, make it super-easy for them to place and pay for an order.

Well, there you have it! 

We would love to continue the dialog and show you what Turis is all about and more importantly:

How Turis can help your business grow

Book a free demo of Turis here and read more about Turis’ awesome product here.

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