Retaining wholesale customers is just as important, and maybe even more important than, finding new wholesale buyers. Think of the time and money you need to spend to attract a potential customer, and then the challenge in getting him to purchase merchandise from your company. If you put in effort to keep the buyers you work with, you will save the money and time that you would otherwise spend on advertising and on calling retailers. A loyal wholesale customer will be inclined to purchase merchandise from you since he is already familiar with your product line, and is satisfied with your level of service. The following tips will help you retain more buyers.
Offer flexibility and choices to your buyers. The easier it is for someone to order products from you, the more likely they will be to purchase from you. You should have both a brick and mortar warehouse, and a wholesale web site through which orders can placed from. Some retailers will feel more comfortable speaking to a person before buying stock for their shops, while others are so pressed for time that they limit all order related communications to email.
Focus on the long term value of your customers. For example, if a clothing store places monthly orders for dresses from you, and their average order is $500, their annual lifetime value is $6,000. So instead of just focusing on the $500 order, keep in mind how much they will spend with you in the future. By understanding the long term value of their business, you will be motivated to go out of your way to provide top quality service to them. It goes without saying that retailers, flea market vendors, and eBay sellers should all feel appreciated, regardless of their buying ability.
Ensure that your sales people appreciate the business that your wholesale customers give you. You can accomplish this by compensating your sales people based on the volume of wholesale merchandise that they sell. A commission based pay structure will motivate them to not only make a sale, but to keep your customers happy so that they will continue ordering.
Address and resolve issues immediately. This does not mean that you have to satisfy any whim that your customer has, but it does mean that you should show buyers that you are working to address issues that are important to them. If a shipment has been sent to the wrong store location, and you have corrected the issue, follow up with a phone call and email to verify that they have received the merchandise. Often a customer will appreciate your work, even if the resolution is not ideal.
Shower your customers with extra bonuses. For instance, run promotions such as a 5% bonus for all orders placed in a given week, or surprise your best customers by adding in free closeout products inside their boxes. If a customer has traveled to visit your showroom, show your appreciation by serving her a snack and drinks. It is important that your customers are perceived as people first, and buyers second, since the majority of small business commercial transactions are influenced by the quality of the social relationships between suppliers and resellers.
Donny Lowy owns www.CloseoutExplosion.com a wholesale export company that specializes in brand name designer clothing, handbags, and shoes for the United States, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe. His warehouse is located in Brooklyn, NY. Donny can be reached directly at 718-389-5502