How To Sell Wholesale Online (3 Ways Compared)

There are several ways that you can sell wholesale online. You can share lists of products with your customers, set up a wholesale store, or just wait for orders to come in. Out of all three approaches, setting up a wholesale store is the best one, but also the most complex (if you’re new to e-commerce).

In this article, we’re going to go over three ways to sell wholesale online. We’ll discuss a manual approach, one using purchase forms, and setting up a dedicated wholesale store. Let’s get right to it!

1. Create Wholesale Product Spreadsheets to Share With Customers

A lot of customers who have been in the wholesale game for a while know that it used to be standard for distributors to share product lists via spreadsheets or PDF files. As a customer, you could let them know what products you wanted and in which quantities. Then you’d talk prices and logistics and repeat the whole process over again for each purchase.

That what we call an old-school approach to wholesaling, though. It works, but it also means a lot of back and forth between you and your wholesale customers. Moreover, you’ll also need to update spreadsheets manually as you run out of stock, bring in new products, or modify prices.

Overall, using spreadsheets for your wholesale operation works much better than PDFs, as those require more work to update. If you use a service such as Google Spreadsheets, you can simply share a link with your customers and let them check in whenever they’re ready to make a new order.

2. Set Up a Dedicated Form for Wholesale Orders

If you already have a website for your wholesale operation, you can set up an order intake form that customers can fill out whenever they’re ready to make an order. An alternative is to use WordPress with an e-commerce plugin such as WooCommerce and let clients purchase directly from your store:

Sell wholesale online
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The downside of using plugins such as WooCommerce is that they’re not designed with wholesale operations in mind. If you have a wholesale customer wanting to buy hundreds of products at once, they might need to increase the quantity manually. Moreover, traditional payment processors for small online stores are usually not a good fit for big-ticket purchases.

One way to work around that limitation is to set up your store to act as a product catalog. That way, wholesale customers will be able to see what items you sell and they can use an order form to submit purchase orders:

How to sell wholesale online
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With a wholesale contact form, customers can reach out to tell you what products they want to buy. Then you can coordinate payment and shipping directly, without needing to go through your store’s checkout process.

There are a lot of WordPress contact form plugins that enable you to build almost any type of form that you can imagine. However, we’re partial to WPForms due to our own experience with the plugin, so we recommend that you check it out.

The downside of this approach is the same as with using wholesale product spreadsheets. Customers still need to make a lot of effort to complete a purchase and you’ll spend much of your time answer queries instead of improving your operation.

3. Use WooCommerce With Wholesale Suite

WooCommerce is a fantastic plugin. However, as we mentioned earlier, it’s not built with wholesale operations in mind. If you want to create a store that caters to wholesale customers, you’ll need to extend WooCommerce’s functionality and that’s where Wholesale Suite comes in.

Wholesale Suite is a collection of three plugins that add critical wholesale functionality to your WooCommerce store. Here’s what each plugin does:

  1. Wholesale Prices: This plugin enables you to add multiple wholesale customer user roles to your store and set different product prices for each of them.
  2. Wholesale Order Form: With this plugin, you can set up an order form page that’s optimized for wholesale customers. That page can display how many products you have in stock, enable customers to enter how many items they want to purchase manually, and more.
  3. Wholesale Lead Capture: Using this plugin, you can create custom wholesale user registration pages so you have full control over who gets access to your store.

We recommend that you use the full Wholesale Suite for the best wholesale customer experience. However, if you want to sell wholesale online on a budget, you can start by using the Wholesale Prices plugin on its own:

Wholesale Prices plugin
Wholesale Suite lets you bring your entire wholesale business online so you can streamline & make more profit.

Using Wholesale Prices, it becomes easy to set custom wholesale prices for each product within your product catalog. All you have to do is edit the product as usual and set your new prices below the item’s regular value:

Setting a product's wholesale price
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If you’re ready to get started, read this tutorial on how to use Wholesale Prices to set up a wholesale operation. Once you’re comfortable using Wholesale Prices, we recommend that you upgrade to the full Wholesale Suite.

Conclusion

Learning how to sell wholesale online is more simple than you might imagine. That applies particularly if you’re using WordPress. With WordPress, you can get access to a lot of plugins, such as WooCommerce, which enable you to sell products online, even to wholesale customers.

If you’re not sure what approach to take to sell wholesale online. Here’s a quick breakdown of the three methods that we recommend:

  1. Create wholesale product spreadsheets to share with customers.
  2. Set up a dedicated form for wholesale orders.
  3. Use WooCommerce with Wholesale Suite.

Do you have any questions about how to sell wholesale online? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

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