If you’ve been selling your products as a retailer yourself for a while and are looking at setting up a wholesale program then you’ll know that one of the first things you have to do is get your first wholesale customers.
But where do you find them?
Sometimes it can be as simple as identifying the people in your retail setting who are re-ordering a lot and seeing what they’re using your products for. Often they can become your first wholesale customers as they might potentially be on-selling your products anyway.
If you aren’t quite so lucky then you need a way to identify potential wholesale customers.
Read on for 4 great tips that you can use to find retail companies to recruit for your new wholesale program:
1. Find out where your audience shops
There are a lots of ways to help you narrow down where your audience shops and this can help you identify potential retailers to target with your wholesale program.
Here’s two great ideas you can do today:
1. Pick a similar product and find out who stocks it. You can often do this by browsing the websites of these company’s and checking out their Stockists list (many of which are freely published).
If they don’t publish a stockists list then you might be able to call or email the company as a customer to find out where they are stocked in your area.
2. Conduct a survey of your existing customers (retail or otherwise) asking about their shopping preferences. Big companies do this kind of thing all the time when launching new products. It can help you find out more about your customers and what kinds of places they like to visit frequently.
Chances are if they frequent somewhere, there will be more of your target market in that retailer, so that makes them a good place to approach.
2. Determine where you sit in the market
In our recent article about how to price your products for wholesale, we talked about Value Based Pricing when determining where you sit in the market.
I generally recommend sitting somewhere in the top 1/3rd of market from a price point of view as this gives you more margin to play with for promotions while maintaining a healthy wholesale business.
Determining where you sit can also help you narrow down potential retail partners for your wholesale program.
Can you think of general retailers that have a similar market positioning to your products? Customers of these general retailers in your space might also be interested in your products if they are a good fit.
Of course you’ll need to analyse this on a case by case basis, but it can help you eliminate companies that don’t fit this ethos. For example, you wouldn’t want to retail your high end products to stores that focus on the bottom half of the market and vice-versa.
3. Spread your distribution geographically
It might be comfortable to stick to your geographical area when it comes to finding wholesale customers, but there are untold benefits of having a wide distribution of wholesale customers.
The main benefit is that they will not be in direct local competition with each other and this can help maintain margins for your retailer as they won’t be tempted to play the discounting game in order to compete.
4. Think different
Can you think of alternative retailers that might want to stock your products even though it’s not exactly aligned with their core business?
For example, if you sell a range of healthy snack bars, you might want to consider approaching people you otherwise wouldn’t consider such as yoga studios or beauty salons.
They might have lower volume orders, but adding a large numbers of these alternative retailers together can provide a healthy stream of orders and spread your risk of relying on one or two big retailers.