Historically wholesaling was an extremely personal business, heavy on relationships and in-person contact. The internet has changed much of this dynamic as business priorities shift to real-time supply and 24/7 availability. A successful online wholesaler needs a sharp business sense, organizational skill, and intuition to be successful. Here are the key activities for creating a successful venture.
The first step is to decide on what products one wants to sell or which industry to serve. Many successful wholesalers launch their business with a product or material they have experience sourcing. If one doesn’t have a particular area of expertise, do some research to identify up and coming products or ones with upside potential.
Next is to check to see what potential licenses or permits are required for one’s business. The government has an online resource for businesses called Business Link which provides valuable resources.
After establishing the framework for one’s business, suppliers need to be developed and secured. This is another area where the internet has radically changed the wholesale business. Depending on the product or material one has chosen to wholesale, suppliers from across the globe can be sourced.
Armed with the list of potential suppliers, one will need to initiate contact to establish business relationships. This is one of the most crucial steps in the process as the supplier needs to provide quality products (or materials), sell at a good price and be reliable. This is where negotiating skills come into play to secure the lowest possible cost.
Depending on the product, one must decide on whether to have orders drop-shipped or take delivery and coordinate delivery on one’s own. Drop shipping is certainly simpler as no warehouse space is required; however in the case where some grading, inspection, assembly or repackaging is required, a warehouse is required.
Now for the essential element of an online wholesale business: your website. Before beginning to build, do some competitive analysis and see what competitors and other businesses in related industries feature on their site. Clear descriptions and photos are essential, but it might be important to add videos of how a product works or how it is made. Content for the site can often be sourced from one’s suppliers, but it may be necessary to develop your own content too. Be sure the site is architected to be optimized for search so potential customers can easily find your business online.
Once the site is up and ready for business, it’s time for sales and marketing. Just having a web presence will not ensure sales. Even online wholesaling requires direct outreach to potential customers. Every industry has a trade association so look to become active, either virtually or by attending events and trade-shows.