We're passionate about helping more independent businesses thrive. That's why we’ve compiled everything we know about how to sell wholesale in this handy guide.
With advice on everything from setting up your store online, product manufacturing, to marketing your business — here you’ll find guidance for every step of your wholesale journey.
Want to sell your products wholesale online? Join CREOATE and to get your products in front of thousands of retailers worldwide. Find out more.
- What is wholesale?
- Is selling wholesale worth it?
- Which are the best products to sell wholesale?
- Manufacturing a product from scratch
- Planning your wholesale pricing strategy
- How to sell wholesale products online
- Marketing your wholesale business
- Start selling wholesale today
What is wholesale?
When you sell your products wholesale, you’re selling them in bulk to a retailer who will then sell them on to the final customer, or ‘end consumer’.
Because another party (the retailer) also needs to make money from your product, the price you (the maker) get per unit is lower. But the fact that you’re selling in a larger quantity will often make up for this; not only are you selling more, but the cost of making each unit becomes lower.
Is selling wholesale worth it?
Wholesale today looks very different to the way it did 15 or 20 years ago. Where once tradeshows reigned supreme, or businesses needed to work with a wholesale distributor to make connections, today more people are connecting and finding their audiences via online marketplaces and social media.
Whether or not it’s ‘worth it’ depends entirely on what you’re looking for. We explore the benefits of selling wholesale and whether it appeals to your business model in our dedicated blog post.
For a quick summary of the benefits of selling wholesale:
- Increased exposure minus the cost
- Ability to expand into new markets and territories with less risk
- Expanding your network and discovering new opportunities
- Selling larger quantities with lower production costs
- Financial buffer for existing business ventures
Want to know more about the benefits we’ve listed above? Read more here, and get ready to weigh up those pros and cons!
Which are the best products to sell wholesale?
If you don’t already sell or make your own products, you may be wondering which are the best products to sell wholesale. The most popular and best-selling categories of wholesale products vary, and that’s without taking into account what makes the most sense for your brand.
Many brands choose to sell across multiple categories, with artists and illustrators straddling stationery and homeware to reach different audiences with their designs. When it comes to trends, be wary of accumulating stock you can’t shift. Future-proof your brand by picking your niches and sticking to them.
Still looking for ideas of which products to sell wholesale? Why not take a peek into some of CREOATE’s data insights to find out more about the products and categories that make our platform tick.
Manufacturing a product from scratch
Sometimes marketplaces and tradeshows just don’t cut it. Got an idea in mind and fancy yourself a bit of an entrepreneur? Then perhaps manufacturing a product is the answer for you.
Here's what you'll need to get to grips with before manufacturing your own product:
What kind of product do you want to create? — What gap are you trying to fill with your product? What purpose does it serve, and who is its target audience? Once you know that, pull together as much information as you can about how it will look, feel, and function. Get a product engineer or designer on board to help iron out the details and create blueprints.
Finding a manufacturer — Easier said than done, the perfect manufacturer for you will depend on multiple factors. Do you want your product to be manufactured locally, or overseas? What kind of batch quantities would you be looking to order? These are all things to bear in mind when choosing which manufacturer to work with.
Pricing up — You need to be super diligent here and ensure you’re accounting for all the associated costs when calculating your product’s final price. Also, be sure to check in to see what potential competitors are doing.
For a more in-depth look, read our product manufacturing guide.
Planning your wholesale pricing strategy
Your wholesale pricing strategy is the bread and butter of your business.
Wholesalers typically give retailers a decent percentage margin from the recommended retail price (RRP), so you need to establish what price you’re willing to come down to for bulk orders to remain both competitive and profitable.
In short, a few things to remember when calculating your wholesale pricing strategy:
Research market costs — Familiarise yourself with what your competitors charge. Research your target audience, and price your products to align with your ideal customer. Going in too low makes it hard to raise prices when necessary later down the line. You want to know where your products sit within your category before determining your pricing.
Calculate variable & fixed costs — Get to grips with your material costs, as well as packaging, your availability and skillset, as well as any tools you use to make your products. Fixed costs may also include your bills and utilities, taxes, and rent — any ongoing expenses required to run your business must be accounted for when establishing your pricing strategy.
Pricing formulas can also come in handy here and we go into these, along with everything else you need to know, in our wholesale pricing guide.
How to sell wholesale products online
One of the most effective ways of reaching customers in the modern world is online. Setting up online means standing out among countless other sellers, regardless of how or where you reach people.
'We’ve found both new partners and helped convert existing wholesale partners onto CREOATE after joining during Summer 2020. We couldn’t justify the expense or even go to trade fairs that year but wanted a sustainable way to grow our small business. CREOATE offers that and more and we’re so proud of every partner we bring on board, and help them find a way to bring AHLT to their customers in a way that feels personal and true to their business, too.' - AHLT Founders, Ky & James
Managing a digital wholesale business means adapting to a more user-friendly interface, automating processes, and using data to both your and your customers’ advantage. Think of the process as adapting to a new business model. It may take some getting used to at first, but will only help grow your business in the long run. We can offer tips on how to optimise your CREOATE store so you get the most out of the platform, though many of these can be applied to your own website, too.
Pictures say a thousand words
As you’d imagine, visuals are up there as key attention-grabbers. Whether it’s ensuring your business logo and banners are of high quality, or that you’re displaying multiple high-resolution images to showcase each product — professional-looking imagery is what lends your business credibility online. Think of it like your shop window.
A 2018 study of US shoppers aged 25-34 found they expected around five photos for any product while shopping online. Consider how you might present your products in these five images.
Here are some suggestions:
- Images of the product in its packaging
- Images of the product out of packaging
- Lifestyle shots of the product in use
Featuring a variety of product images helps show the product off in different ways, and can help build trust with customers. Doing so also helps retailers decide how they might sell and market your product, as well as helping them visualise how it could look in their store.
For ideas on how to enhance your product photography and plan the perfect photoshoot, check out these tips from professional photographer, Danni Rossi.
Optimise your product copy
Pair stellar images with a killer SEO strategy to get your products showing up when people search for them on Google.
SEO, or search engine optimisation, involves simple tweaks and optimisations to make it more likely that search engines (like Google) will show your website and products to people 'googling' relevant terms.
SEO can include getting backlinks — that is, links back to your website from trustworthy and reputable websites to boost your own searchability, and credibility! — including high-ranking keywords that people regularly search for on your website in product descriptions and names to help customers find what they’re looking for. All this, and much more!
Feel a bit clueless about how to implement SEO for your wholesale business? Check out our guide on the basics of SEO for ecommerce.
Marketing your wholesale business
There are many ways you can market your wholesale business that don’t have to cost much, if anything.
Social media marketing for your wholesale business
Social media marketing is a great place to start. Setting up a Facebook group for loyal customers can be a great touchpoint for your business. In addition to a Facebook page, a group is a place where you can host member-only live sales, special promotions, and regular events.
Instagram is also a great way to connect with customers, as well as fellow retailers for networking purposes. The nature of the Instagram grid, feed, and stories lend themselves perfectly to showcasing products with obvious aesthetic appeal. Instagram polls are another great way to engage with your audience and garner feedback.
With the rising popularity of video content due to TikTok, sharing updates such as the arrival of new stock, or the making of a product in video format is likely to get your profile in front of more eyeballs. The benefit here is that any content you make for TikTok can be reused as an Instagram reel, and shared on your Instagram and Facebook stories. The interconnectedness of major social media platforms makes it easier to cover a lot of ground with less content.
If you don’t yet have the capacity to set up accounts on every social media platform, don’t fret! Prioritise the ones that your customers are more likely to be on by looking into demographic distribution, and start there.
Email marketing for your wholesale business
Email marketing is a great way to keep your customers regularly updated on new stock, promotions, and more.
Give customers the option to sign up to your mailing list at checkout, and signpost via social media and any marketing collateral you may include with orders such as business cards, flyers etc.
Check out our email marketing tips for more ideas on how to get the most out of this underrated platform.
Use your B2C website
This may seem obvious, but not enough sellers are promoting their wholesale businesses on their B2C websites. Having a footer link advertising your wholesale business may be all you need.
We recommend including a form to capture email data for anyone who may want to join your wholesale newsletter, as well as linking to any wholesale marketplaces you may sell through (obviously, we hope CREOATE makes an appearance!).
Some small businesses opt for a password-protected wholesale portal on their website. Doing this makes it easier to vet any potential wholesale clients, but can be offputting for some. Linking to marketplaces enables potential buyers to view your selection, while only displaying wholesale prices to those with accounts. Anyone not yet set up can also be incentivised with sign-up benefits such as spending credit, as well as new user promotions.
Offer wholesale incentives
Speaking of incentives, if you’re looking to boost sales with your customers, there are a number of ways to encourage spending. Our suggestions:
- % Off a buyer’s first order
- Freebies and samples
- Product bundles
- Buy now, pay later & other payment options
- Free shipping
- Low order minimums
Samples could be offered before buying (especially for scented products like candles or perfumes, as well as food items), or as a perk of spending over a certain amount, just to say thanks.
Low order minimums can also encourage retailers to try products they might not otherwise stock by testing a smaller batch with less risk.
Is selling wholesale profitable?
Yes, establishing a wholesale business can be lucrative and profitable.
Since wholesale enterprises acquire products in bulk, this leads to a lower cost per unit compared to typical retail prices. It's this factor that contributes to the profitability of such businesses.
How do I sell wholesale to shops?
When determining wholesale product prices, keep in mind that the per-unit cost in bulk should be lower than the standard retail price. Although individual profits may seem reduced, it's essential to set prices considering unit costs and the volume of units per sale to ensure a sustainable profit margin.
What is an example of a wholesaler?
As a wholesaler, you have the flexibility to sell to both individual consumers and fellow retailers, offering you a versatile approach. You're not confined to exclusively serving one market. When envisioning a wholesale business model, the initial examples that may come to mind often involve prominent brick-and-mortar department stores, such as Walmart or Target.
Start selling wholesale today
Now you’ve got your info, you should be ready to go forth into the world of wholesale and start making some sales. You can register for free and sell wholesale with CREOATE here.
Still have some questions about the platform? Be sure to check out our Help Centre to see if we’ve already addressed what you’re looking for here.
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