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How to Become a Successful Wholesaler

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Wholesalers play a vital role in the pipeline that brings products from their place of origin to the hands of end users. Whether you are shipping items to retailers, commercial users or other industrial customers, becoming a successful wholesaler means keeping a sharp eye on shipping schedules and other important details. Understand the nature of the items you wholesale, the customers you serve and their unique demands. Work continuously to enhance your logistics and view the success you achieve as a platform on which to build.

Familiarize yourself with the category you are wholesaling, including the key suppliers and retailers. Research historic sales trends. Understand, for example, if sales are driven by seasonal demand or if they can be affected by external factors like weather. Use the information gathered to build a wholesaling operation that is uniquely focused on your category and addressing the needs of retailers or other wholesale customers.

Secure reliable sources for the products you plan to offer. A wholesaler is only as good as the suppliers he works with and the products he sells. Make certain you have solid relationships with your industry's leading suppliers. Develop alternative sources to ensure you can negotiate terms and are not reliant on one supplier.

Establish delivery systems and warehousing facilities that will give your wholesaling operation a competitive edge. Determine the best method of getting products to their destination in a cost-effective, timely manner. For example, many small non-perishable items can be shipped through UPS or other outside companies. Larger goods and food items usually require a fleet of delivery vehicles. To ensure you always have ample supplies, lease warehouse space in anticipation of seasonal demand.

Create a marketing plan aimed at building your client roster. Reach out to retailers or other organizations likely to be in need of your wholesale services. Emphasize that your prices, selection and delivery are superior and seek to develop a long-term business relationship. Use direct marketing to regularly add new clients. Help clients facilitate a line of credit.

Build a reliable communication link to clients. Use it to share data on sales trends in your industry. Regularly inform them of expanded product offerings. Offer just-in-time distribution that coordinates the deliver of products with inventory demands. Go beyond traditional roles and seek new ways to build business for your clients. When your clients are successful, you will be a successful wholesaler.


Al Stewart's 30-year background as a writer/editor includes staff positions at "Adweek," "Billboard," "Chain Drug Review," "Cable World," "DNR" (men's fashion), "National Floor Trends," and "Variety." A native New Yorker, he is now a writer/editor living in Los Angeles. He has a BA in political science from Wagner College.

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