When most people think about wholesaling, they imagine pre-packaged products made in some factory and imported in bulk. However, if you run a store that sells handmade items, there’s no reason why you can’t accept wholesale orders too. In fact, accepting wholesale orders may drastically improve your overall earnings.
Using the right tools, you’ll be able to take bulk orders without breaking a sweat. If you prepare your store for selling handmade items wholesale, you’ll be able to handle basically any type of order that comes your way.
In this article, we’ll talk about why you should use your own website instead of selling handmade items on third-party platforms. Then we’ll go over six tips for selling handmade items wholesale. Let’s get to it!
Why You Should Use Your Own Website Instead of Third-Party Platforms
If you’re selling handmade items, it’s easy to gravitate to platforms such as Etsy or eBay. After all, they make it easy for you to set up a simple online store and handle the occasional order.
Despite their ease of use, platforms like those two aren’t built for wholesaling. In fact, they’re not good options if you’re earning a decent amount for your handmade products and getting new orders every day.
There are two main reasons why we recommend that you use your own website if you see sales picking up:
- You can spend less on fees. With your own store, you can select what payment gateways to use and other platforms don’t take any fees off the top.
- You get full control over your store. There are plenty of e-commerce platforms that give you full control over your store’s configuration. With eBay or Etsy, you’re limited to what they enable you to do.
The idea of setting up your own online store might sound intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. If you’re already familiar with WordPress, then you know how intuitive the Content Management System (CMS) is. With the right tools, you can also use it to create an online store for selling handmade items wholesale. We’ll return to this in a minute, for our first tip.
6 Tips for Selling Handmade Items Wholesale
Every single one of these tips hinges on you having full control over your online store. If you’re using WordPress, you’re already halfway there, so let’s talk about what else you need to do.
1. Use WooCommerce and the Wholesale Suite
WordPress isn’t an e-commerce platform – at least not without the right plugins. There are a lot of options as far as WordPress e-commerce plugins go. However, if you’re selling physical handmade items, there’s really only one choice, and that is WooCommerce:
By using WooCommerce, you can transform your WordPress website into a full-fledged online store. The plugin enables you to manage inventory, process sales, payments, shipping, and put new products up for sale whenever you want.
Although WooCommerce can handle wholesale orders, it’s not built with that purpose in mind. If you want to run a store that can service both retail and wholesale customers, you’ll need to use the Wholesale Suite.
With the Wholesale Suite, you get access to several powerful wholesaling features, including:
- Creating unique user roles for wholesale customers
- Providing wholesale customers with unique prices
- Creating custom order forms for wholesale customers
- Customizing your user registration process
Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll talk more about some of those features. If you want to try the Wholesale Suite, you can purchase a license for all of its components or each one individually.
2. Be Prepared for Large Orders
A lot of retail operations struggle with wholesale orders because they don’t have the inventory on hand to fulfill them. If you want to try selling handmade items wholesale, you need to prepare for it by stocking up.
That might mean putting in overtime crafting more products or expanding your operation by hiring other people to do it. Depending on how much money you’re bringing in, the latter might not be an option. However, inventory is essential if you want to keep wholesale customers happy.
If you’re just starting out, you can let customers know that if they order over X number of an item, there will be an additional waiting time. It’s not an optimal solution, but it does enable you to run your store without requiring you to stockpile products.
3. Make Sure That You Have a Profit Margin
If you want to attract wholesale buyers, then you need to offer wholesale prices. In other words, if you sell a product for $10 individually, you might want to bring that price down to, let’s say, $8 for bulk purchases.
What prices you set for your wholesale customers is up to you. However, before you start offering wholesale prices, you need to take a close look at your numbers. That is to say, how much you can lower prices for each product before you start to lose money on sales.
Offering percentage-based discounts for your store can be tricky. In most cases, we recommend that you go over each product individually to set individual wholesale prices:
Another way to ensure that you don’t lose money on bulk orders is to configure minimum purchase amounts. That means configuring a minimum order amount before wholesale discounts kick in.
You can also use the Wholesale Suite to set how many products customers have to add to an order before they get access to wholesale prices. By combining all of those features, you’ll never lose money on a sale, no matter how large it is.
4. Set Up a Wholesale Registration Page for Bulk Buyers
The way the Wholesale Prices plugin works is that helps you create custom wholesale user roles for your store. Then, you can assign custom prices for each of those products by editing their WooCommerce settings.
There’s only one problem with that process and that is that by default, you have to assign custom roles to your existing users. That is unless you create a wholesale registration page for your best customers.
By offering a custom registration page, you can ask wholesale customers for all the information that you need for bulk purchases. You can do this using the Wholesale Lead Capture plugin, which is part of the Wholesale Suite.
Using this plugin, you’ll be able to approve new registrations automatically or review them manually. That way, you can ensure only the customers that you want have access to wholesale prices.
5. Set Up Wholesale Order Forms
Most online stores aren’t built with wholesale customers in mind. That is to say, the buying process is designed for users that want to buy one or at most a handful of items each time around.
Wholesale customers, on the other hand, might want to buy dozens or hundreds of handmade items every time they visit your store. If you want to cater to them, you need to streamline your buying and checkout process.
One way to do that is by using the Wholesale Order Form plugin, which is part of the Wholesale Suite. What this plugin does is help you set up custom shop pages that you can limit to wholesale customers only:
Depending on how you configure your wholesale order form, customers will be able to review existing stock, add items to their cart without leaving the page, type in how many products they want, and more.
Creating a wholesale order form is easy with the Wholesale Order Form plugin. By making the purchase process easier, you increase the chances that wholesale customers will want to come back to your store.
6. Charge Customers for Shipping
Free shipping is increasingly common among handmade item stores. The idea is that since customers are buying handcrafted items and not dealing with “big-box” stores, costs should be cheaper.
Although that might be true, offering free shipping for selling handmade items wholesale is a quick way to hurt your margins. If you’re selling products with low margins and you’re already offering wholesale discounts, free shipping could ruin you.
In our experience, the smartest thing that you can do is to be upfront about shipping costs and be as clear as you can about how much they might run depending on order size. If you’re shipping hundreds of items in one sale, that’s not going to be cheap.
The good news is wholesale customers usually don’t balk at shipping costs. If someone’s buying in bulk from you, they’ll be willing to pay reasonable fees as long as the products arrive in good condition.
Using the Wholesale Suite, you can configure specific shipment methods for wholesale customers, on top of all the options WooCommerce offers by default.
Selling handmade items wholesale is easier than you might imagine, at least if you’re using WooCommerce alongside the Wholesale Suite. With the right tools, your store will basically run itself so you can focus on what you do best, which is crafting the amazing products your customers know and love.
If you want to take your handcrafted goods and start targeting wholesale customers, then you’ll need to prepare for bulk orders. It’s also essential that you work out the numbers to see how big a discount you can offer and that you think about shipping costs.
Do you have any questions about selling handmade items wholesale? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!