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How To Start Selling Wholesale To Retailers (Complete Guide)

How To Start Selling Wholesale To Retailers

Selling wholesale to retailers can be a profitable business strategy. Often, these customers will become a source of recurring revenue for your business, which can have a positive impact on your bottom line. However, you first have to take the necessary steps to secure accounts with relevant businesses.

Fortunately, the process is fairly straightforward, especially if you have an effective system for managing your wholesale customer accounts and orders in place. With some careful planning and the right tools, you can set yourself up for success in no time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of selling wholesale to retailers. Then we’ll walk you through four key steps to get started with this strategy. Let’s dive in!

The Benefits Of Selling Wholesale To Retailers

Selling wholesale means selling in bulk. There are very few individuals who need to purchase large quantities of products for themselves. As a result, business-to-business (B2B) sales are vital to the longevity of any wholesale business.

Retailers always need products in bulk to make sure they have enough stock to serve their own customers. If you manage to build strong relationships with relevant businesses, and your products sell well among their customers, you should be able to secure a reliable stream of revenue.

If you sell wholesale and retail yourself, getting your products on the shelves in stores can help build brand awareness and result in more sales on your site to individuals as well. This way, you can have the best of both worlds.

4 Simple Steps To Start Selling Wholesale To Retailers

Fortunately, if you’ve already established your wholesale business, selling to retailers is pretty straightforward. It just takes four primary steps to get started.

Step 1: Conduct target market research

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure there’s a market for your product(s) among retailers. Otherwise, you may end up pouring a lot of time and effort into a venture that won’t pay off in the long run.

This process is a bit trickier than traditional market research, because you have two different audiences to consider:

  • Retailers who might want to sell your products in their stores
  • End-users, or the customers who would be purchasing your products from the retailers

If you’re already running a successful e-commerce business, you’ve probably done some end-user target market research. Now is a good time to revisit this data, update your customer profiles, and look into where your audience likes to shop.

Then you can move on to compiling a list of potential retailers you could sell to. Ask yourself questions about these leads such as:

  • Does this retailer already sell similar products?
  • If so, how well do those products sell?
  • Where is this retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores located (if they have any)?
  • Is my end-user target market familiar with this retailer?
  • What is the scale of this retailer (single location, chain, big-box store, etc.)?
  • Would this retailer’s brand appeal my end-user target market?

The answers to these questions (and potentially others, depending on your industry) should help you determine whether each retailer you’re considering might be open to selling your products and if the relationship would be profitable. You can then decide if you want to proceed with your plans.

Step 2: Set up your website to sell wholesale to retailers

Once you have an idea of which retailers might be a good fit for your products, you may feel tempted to jump right into marketing to them. However, it’s important that you have everything set up and ready to go on your end first.

By this, we mean that you probably need to implement or modify certain systems in order to make selling wholesale to retailers a smoother experience for everyone involved. This may include:

  • Assessing your wholesale discounts to decide if you want to offer different deals to retailers
  • Creating retailer accounts on your e-commerce site so customers can easily log in and restock
  • Setting up registration forms so retailers who come to your site can apply for accounts
  • Developing a wholesale order form so retailers can quickly and easily re-order products for their stores

Making sure you’re ready to sign retailers up for accounts and start selling right away will help you appear organized and credible to your new customer base.

Step 3: Approach retailers to sell your products

Once you’re ready to receive retailers on your wholesale e-commerce site, you can start reaching out to see if the businesses you researched earlier are interested in stocking your products.

We’ve published an entire post on how to approach retailers to sell your products, but the three top strategies are:

  • Schedule in-person demonstrations of your product(s) with retailers
  • Contact the head office of large chains
  • Write letters of introduction to retail buyers

Make sure you know your product inside and out so you can answer any questions retailers might have. It’s also wise to produce a summary sheet or PDF they can review while making their decisions.

Step 4: Follow up and nurture your relationships with retailers

After you secure your first B2B customers and the orders start rolling in, it’s easy to feel like you’re home free. However, don’t slack off just because you’ve made the sale!

There are plenty of other wholesalers who would like to sell to your retailers, so it’s important to give them a reason to stick with you. The two biggest factors that will contribute to this are:

  • The retailer’s customer experience with your brand
  • How well your products are selling in stores

In regard to the first point, it’s important to invest in your relationships with your retailers. Send them regular emails that can improve their buying experience and introduce them to new products. Provide top-notch customer service and resolve any issues as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

While you don’t have a ton of control over how well your products sell to end-users, there are strides you can make in this area as well. Consider reassessing and improving your packaging. Supply retailers with marketing materials to help them promote your products without requiring them to do all the work.

These gestures can go a long way towards fostering long-term relationships that will pay off for both you and the retailers you work with.


When it comes to wholesale, selling to retailers is a top strategy for boosting revenue. While diving into the world of B2B e-commerce may seem intimidating, it actually doesn’t take that much to get started.

In this post, we reviewed four steps you can take to start selling wholesale to retailers:

  1. Conduct target market research
  2. Set up your website to sell wholesale to retailers
  3. Approach retailers to sell your products
  4. Follow up and nurture your relationships with retailers

Do you have any questions about selling wholesale to retailers, or how to set up a wholesale e-commerce site? Ask away in the comments section below!

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Editorial Staff

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