Though there are certainly many kinds of ecommerce and lots of business models, among the most frequent kinds of online retailing has merchants purchasing products from wholesalers and selling these products at a fair premium to consumers. In this business model, the merchant is determined by the provider — a producer or distributor — for setting prices, payment terms, shipment dates, and even determining whether a product can be found whatsoever.
It would be a mistake to think that a little or midsize retailer may simply place orders with any supplier. With so much at stake, Internet and multi-channel retailers would be sensible to spend time and effort into getting good supplier relationships.
No. 1: Pay on Time
The first idea for building great supplier relationships is a clear one. Pay on time and as expected.
Wholesale distributors and lots of product manufacturers operate on thin margins, so that cash flow is important to their organization. A merchant, even a little one, that pays on time as promised every time becomes a trusted and respected client. Some wholesalers track payment history directly in their customer relationship management applications and even rate retailers based on how well they cover.
Merchants that have a good payment history may earn better prices or, finally, get better terms, meaning that they’ll have longer to pay.
No. 2: Establish Clear and Clear Goals
Some wholesalers will wish to have estimates of the number of products a retailer expects to market in a given time so that those wholesalers can then provide feedback to producers or, in the case of vendors, better understand how many items they ought to order themselves.
Supplying clear sales quotes and goals will help the wholesaler program.
No. 3: Know They Have Other Customers
Little and midsize retailers have a great deal of competitors, and wholesalers might be serving both your organization and your nearest competition.
To enhance the provider relationship, be patient. Understand that from time-to-time your agent will be occupied. And do not act is as you have the supplier. You don’t.
No. 4: Discover What They Want From You
Since providers do have many clients and several connections to maintain, it can be useful to learn what they want from you.
Some providers will need documentation. A toy supplier, for instance, in the southeast liked to get a spreadsheet, filled out only so, emailed or faxed with each purchase. A bigger manufacturer selling direct may require a retailer to place orders through the electronic data interchange (EDI) standard.
Ensuring that providers have the appropriate documents, delivered in a favorite channel, can accelerate order processing — i.e., a merchant’s order may be shipped sooner.
No. 5: Don’t Blame Them
There will be problems. Every supplier is likely to make mistakes or become the victim of circumstance. Blaming the agent on the opposite end of the phone or complaining via email won’t help the situation.
Rather, work with the provider to discover a solution.
A buyer in a retail chain in the northwest learned a supplier wasn’t going to have the ability to send part of an arrangement. There’d been a manufacturing issue, and there wasn’t enough of the product to go around. The purchaser worked with the provider to make the best of this circumstance.
Later that same buyer made a mistake, ordering too much of a specific product. The provider’s representative, perhaps remembering how he had been treated when there was a difficulty previously, immediately agreed to buy back the additional merchandise.
No. 6: Make Friends
There are two great reasons to attempt and make friends with agents from wholesale suppliers.
The first of these has to do with human nature. We would rather work with people we enjoy. When you have the time to make friends with the people at a provider, placing an order over the telephone isn’t only a business call, it’s an opportunity to enjoy some great conversation.
There’s also a very pragmatic reason for making friends with providers. People are usually willing to do more for a friend than someone they simply understand by a corporate account number. Having friends at a provider can provide access to goods with reduced accessibility or even earn better prices.
No. 7: Train Them to Know Everything You Need
As soon as you’ve a reputation of paying on time, supplying orders in the appropriate arrangement, and being friendly with the provider’s agents, you may begin to train the provider to give you exactly what you require.
Ask if it’s possible, for instance, to get informed when new merchandise images are available. Or ask if it’s possible to purchase some products in smaller or bigger quantities. Many wholesalers will notice your requirements and help to meet them.