You have been trying to wholesale for a while now but you feel like you're not getting anywhere, no-one is responding to your emails or expressing any interest in your product despite consistent retail sales. Does this sound like you? Below I list the most common mistakes when wholesaling that I've come across since I started my business.
Sales materials and professional looking images
Your line-sheet/catalogue and website/social media are usually the first things buyers will notice, they are your shop window and you want it to stand out and attract buyers. With lots of free design software you can put together a good line sheet or catalogue by yourself if needed but it will only look great if you have great product and lifestyle images.
I've written quite a few blog posts to help you design your catalogue or line-sheet.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Photography is really important for many aspects of your business so it's not the place to skimp. Plan it out carefully to make sure you get everything you need.
If you can't offer retailers enough margin on your products it doesn't matter how good your range is. Most retailers will want a minimum mark-up of 2.4 = 50% of the ex Vat Recommended retail price (RRP). You can read a little bit more about this in my ebook which you can get 15% discount on if you sign-up to my newsletter.
Another common pricing mistake is that you're not making enough margin on each sale. What you need to make is very individual and in an ideal world, you would make just as much as you're offering your stockist but this is very rarely the case when you start out.
Wholesale is volume sales so you might be selling your products at a lower price and make less per sale but you should be selling significantly larger quantities.
Make sure you review your numbers often and that you always make money on each sale, even if it's not as much as you hope to make at a later stage.
I see this over and over again, if you want to scale your business you need to find ways to cut your lead-times to as short as possible. It is a competitive market out there and even though larger retailers do work on longer lead times you need to be able to produce a consistent quality in a reasonable amount of time.
If your product is handmade it's understandable that it will take longer to make but if it takes a very long time, wholesale might not be the best model for you. Or perhaps you only want to be selling to a select few retailers.
Never over-promise and under deliver
The most common way to get in touch with potential buyers is to send an introductory email. You will have a much higher rate of conversion if you take the time to research who you are reaching out to and tailor your email to them.
Remember to make it super clear what you are selling, ask questions and embed a few product images as well as including a link to your catalogue. For more help, I wrote a post on how to write a good email pitch.
Not following up
It's very rare that the first email results in a sale, continue to follow up and get in touch and if you can, give the buyer a call as well. Persistence without being a nuisance is key. Really you are helping the buyer to discover your brilliant brand so don't feel bad about getting in touch.
Not keeping in touch with your stockists
It's much easier to keep a stockist happy and engaged than getting a brand new customer so look after your stockists and make sure you stay in touch with them.
Keep them updated with any special offers or new product launches and check in every so often to see how your range is selling.