Many E-commerce sellers are Business to Consumer (B2C) players, so understandably much of the focus is on customer acquisition and retention, branding, advertising and other related marketing issues. But effective sourcing is just as important when it comes to E-commerce. Locating a wholesaler and cultivating a mutually profitable relationship with them can be a great benefit to your E-commerce business.
There are fairly simple ways to connect with a reputable wholesaler without spending too much time or extra money. Here are some tips on signing up wholesalers:
Enlist the Help of the Manufacturer to Connect You to the Right Channel Partner
Avoid the temptation of signing up the first wholesaler you come across. Give the manufacturer an opportunity to point you in the right direction. It can be as easy as locating the manufacturer’s website and sending an email to customer support.
Visit Trade Shows to Establish Relationships with Wholesalers
Although the E-commerce world is a virtual environment, people still like (or even prefer) to work with people they have met in person. Maybe this is why there is an increase in the number of trade shows that take place globally. For most products, there are one or two major trade shows that are should not be missed. Make it a point to visit them and meet up with wholesalers in person. By doing so you will cultivate personal relationships can turn out to be a great business strategy in the de-personalized world of ecommerce.
Participate in Social Media and Industry Forums
Whether you decide to look around virtually or in person, there’s no shortage of opportunities to find reputable wholesalers. Try looking online in industry discussion groups and LinkedIn groups. You can also search on Facebook for groups that connect wholesalers and retailers.
If your prefer face-to-face versus virtual platforms, you can attend one of the many functions organized by your local chambers of commerce, industry associations and other networking venues for interacting with potential channel partners. When choosing a networking event, it’s a good idea to look on their social media pages to read about member experiences to see if it’s the right environment for your business goals.
Always an Option: Establish a Direct Relationship with the Manufacturer
If the manufacturer you are interested in setting up a relationship is not too large, it might be open to having direct contact with your E-commerce business. A benefit of having a direct relationship is that you get to cut out the middleman. Additionally, the speed that the manufacturer can provide is rarely matched by wholesalers who have to stock inventory from a large number of manufacturers.
As competition and customer expectations increase in your E-commerce business, you will increasingly have to rely on a reliable and efficient supply chain. A little extra effort you make in choosing the best wholesaler for your E-commerce can help avoid many headaches down the inevitable road.