How to Have a Good Wholesale Supplier Relationship

April 3rd, 2014

HandshakeHere at WorldwideBrands.com, we are all about working directly with the suppliers. Many don’t understand why this is so beneficial! This post will explain that a little bit as well as give some tips on how to have a good wholesale supplier relationship.

When you have a great direct relationship with your supplier, you become privy to extra special care. Better prices, good terms, potential buybacks and better communication. So it is worth your time to get to know your suppliers.

Your suppliers are the life blood of your online retail store. If they weren’t there to supply products or drop ship products for you in a reasonable time frame, then you wouldn’t have a business!

So how to get that good relationship? Here are some tips….

1. Become Friends
Everyone wants to enjoy what they are doing and who they work with. Your wholesale suppliers, vendors and service providers are no exception. You have to work with these people quite often to ensure that everything is working properly. So don’t be rude, open up a little and listen. You could end up with a long lasting fantastic friendship, and everyone knows that a good friend will do extra things for their friend. So with a good starting and lasting relationship with your supplier will mean faster response times and maybe even give you access to things that no other retailer gets.

2. Pay Attention to the Supplier’s Requests
If the supplier wants you to order from them, contact them and pay them in certain ways, comply with that! It’s that simple. If they want you to order through their wholesale portal, you should do that. If they want you to email the orders, then that’s how you submit the orders. Going against what they want, will throw a wrench in their process, and cause delays for everyone involved. So pay attention.

3. Pay on Time
Not paying your bills on time is always careless, but when it comes to your supplier, they may re-think about working with you. If you don’t pay on time, or your payments decline often, the supplier can drop your re-seller account at any moment. They reserve the right to do that. So pay on time, and don’t get into that type of mess.

4. You’re Not the Only One
Most Wholesale Suppliers have many retailers selling for them. So keep in mind that you aren’t the only one who works with them. Patience is a virtue.

5. Don’t Play the Blame Game
Like with every business, there will always problems. Everyone makes mistakes, that is human nature. Blaming and complaining will not get you anywhere fast nor help the situation. Instead, work with them to try to find a solution.
For example, say that you ordered a product from a supplier because it sold, and the supplier immediately told you that the item was out of stock. Oh no! Your customer is waiting for that product! Don’t blame the supplier and get into a bout with them. It’s easy to rectify this situation.

First, ask when they will get more in stock. Then contact your customer, and explain that unfortunately you are out of stock on this particular item, but you will have access to more in X number of days or weeks. Then see if the customer would like to wait and you will expedite the shipping at no extra cost or perhaps you can suggest other items that are similar instead. If the customer wants to wait, then contact your supplier and tell them that your customer would like to wait for them to get the products back in stock and request if they will expedite the shipping to this customer and you will pay the extra shipping cost.

Being professional and friendly about the situation will make a mark on the supplier (as well as your customer), and in the future, they will remember how you treat them.

So remember, you get what you give. So always be professional.

photo by: blu-news.org

Why You Should Sell Products Online

March 25th, 2014

Online sales are constantly climbing. More and more shoppers are on the internet looking for good deals, and unique products that they can’t get in their local stores.

So why should YOU sell online? I can give you a couple of good reasons…

You can make money. Online retail is a billion dollar industry and it is always growing. The internet isn’t a fad; it’s not going away any time soon. There is always room for more retailers if you are smart about it.

The customer base is already there. Billions of people are “surfing the net” every day. So the customer base is already there and waiting for you.

It’s easy! Selling products online isn’t hard and many store platforms and selling platforms make it easy to create a store or list something for sale.

Of course with any new business, there is a learning curve and there will be trial and error in order to find the things that work for you. But there are some important things to keep in mind…

1. You must be a registered business. You must get your business legal before selling products online from wholesale suppliers and you need it for a business bank account. That means a registered business name and a tax ID. The Sales & Use tax ID allows you to purchase products without being taxed, because ultimately, it is your customers that pay the tax.

2. The internet is full of scams. Scams are all over the place when you search online for business opportunities. So you have to be careful about who you trust to help you with your business. Don’t fall for get rich quick schemes, because that’s what they are… Schemes! The ones offering it get richer off of your hard work. So be careful and do your homework!

Here at WorldwideBrands.com, we have been helping online retailers find legitimate wholesale sources for their online stores or auctions for over 14 years now.  We love what we do, and we love helping people. If you are unsure about where to start, I recommend reading our Free eBook “Starting Your Internet Business Right“. This popular free eBook has helped so many online retailers get their businesses started out the right way. Learn about getting legal, about legitimate wholesale suppliers, how to conduct parts of your business, learn about scams to stay away from and more.

It’s a free eBook. No strings attached. We won’t ask you for your email address or a credit card. Just go the above link and download it to get on the right path to success.

 

Manage Costs – Competing with Big Online Retailers

February 11th, 2014

MoneyDon’t let your money management get out of control. You need to track all money coming in and going out. In the beginning stages of your online store, you will need to invest in your business to get all of the things you need to get started and once your site it built and tested and ready for shoppers, you can splurge a little on ad campaigns to start driving traffic.

But once all your initial costs are out of the way, be conservative with your cash. Strive to constantly work on minimizing your costs and always have cash on hand for any emergencies or opportunities for your business that you can’t pass up.

Big online stores have accountants and financial officers for their companies to help them manage their cash flow. Small businesses typically only have one owner and you will have to do all of these things on your own. Of course you can always hire an accountant or get a program like Quickbooks to help you manage your money.

But the important thing here is to be mindful of what money you need for your monthly costs and what you are bringing in to balance things out.

photo by: 401K 2012

Customer Support – Competing with Big Online Retailers

February 4th, 2014

TelephoneBeing available for your customers questions is very important. Many small business owners don’t have a phone number on their website and prefer email support. This is a mistake, as many customers want the assurance they can call if they have any questions or problems ordering or questions about their order.

In order to compete with big online retailers, you must be able to provide the same level of support (if not more) to your customers. This will help them trust you.

RingCentral is a great provider for toll free numbers for your site. They are low cost, and you can setup different extensions, as well as route the toll free number to ring to any phone where you are located.

Make sure that your email address is available on the site in different locations or if you have one main email address that you want customers to use, you can post that near your phone number.

Always provide an About Us page. Simply provide your business story or why you are selling the products that you chose if they have meaning to you, or if you are solving a problem for customers. This will help your customers understand that there is someone real there on the other end of the order.

There is also social communication. If you create a Facebook Page for your business, or a Twitter account, place those where people can find them and like them or follow you. Then make sure to check those areas for customer questions.

Another way for communication is a chat on your site. However, for a small business, this is probably not feasible because it will be offline most of the time if you still hold a full time job. So you can avoid offering this, if you cannot give it at least 8 hours a day where you can check to see if anyone asks something.

Having all of this open and available communication with your customers is very important for competing with big online retailers. Big online retailers are available for their customers, so you should be as well.

photo by: plenty.r.

Better Website – Competing with Big Online Retailers

January 28th, 2014

smiley-faceYour website is the face of your company, because that is what people will see. A beautifully designed website with easy navigation and shopping procedures will go a long way to help you compete with big online retailers.

Take a cue from these bigger retailers as well by taking a look at how they arrange their websites and how the ordering process works. One of the big disadvantages that a big retailer has is they try to offer as many products as possible. With a smaller more focused site, you can make your navigation even simpler and keep your customers focused on what they should be buying.

I recently posted a series of blog articles called the 7 Deadly Sins of Online Store Design. These tips will help you understand the need for simpler sites along with ideas for how to design your store. You can see them by going to our blog home page and typing 7 deadly sins into the search the blog bar on the right.

After taking a look at the 7 Deadly Sins, take a look at your website again and see if there are improvements to be made. If you aren’t making the sales that you hope to, but you are getting traffic, poor site design should be one of the first things to look at and improve upon.

photo by: Dancing Tuna

Loyalty Programs – Competing with Big Online Retailers

January 21st, 2014

Shopping CartIt has been reported that around 80% of a online store’s revenue is from 20% of their repeat customers. So try to think of ways that will keep bringing them back to shop!

To keep consumers coming back to your store, something that many shopping carts offer are rewards. Whether it is a discount for purchasing over a certain amount or points for purchases or auto-shipments. Take advantage of what your store builder or shopping cart provider has to offer in the way of marketing and promotions, because they can be a big help in the long run.

A consumer that knows they have store credit, or that they are earning store credits, will be more willing to shop at your store as well as come back to use those points.  They are like coupons that never expire.

I’m a member of some sites like this. One of them charges me a monthly amount and that turns into a store credit. I can then use that store credit to purchase something each month. Another that I’m a member of, gives me reward points for every dollar spent. I enjoy shopping on these sites because 1. they offer products that I like and 2. the rewards keep me coming back for discounts.

Here are some examples of what some popular shopping carts have to offer:

Zen Cart, which has been asked about in our Member’s Only forum, allows a module for store credits. So for every dollar that the customer spends at your store, they will get a certain amount of points to use for future purchases that will discount their purchase. They also have a approved partner for this program that will email your customers their point balances and other features.

3D Cart, another shopping cart that has been mentioned in our Member’s Only forum, also has great marketing features. Coupons and promotions, affiliate programs, newsletter management, gift certificates and more.

Magento, that has also been talked about in our forum, offers rewards programs where shoppers can get points towards future purchases.

Yahoo Store, which has always been a favorite here at WorldwideBrands.com, offers promotions and marketing help as well.

Each of these providers will either offer their marketing and promotion for a fee or it is built into the service. If you don’t have a shopping cart or a site builder with a built in shopping cart yet, then make marketing and promotions part of your research to determine which platform is right for you.

photo by: Navicore

Talk it Up! – Competing with Big Online Retailers

January 14th, 2014

BlackBerry email on the BB 8330Communicating with your customers and  potential customers is important. You do this to keep your business in front of them so they don’t forget about you.

As a small business owner, you can’t afford commercials on TV or big billboards across the country, but you do have email & social media.

Have a new product? Tweet, Facebook and email about it! Another great thing you can do about a  new product is take a video of it and post it on YouTube, so you can then post it on your website. That will get the customers coming back to your site to check out your newest products and while there, maybe they will browse and buy. :)

If you don’t have new products regularly, then you can always communicate about other things. With a niche site, you can do all of this more easily, because you can talk about the benefits of the products, explain what people can do with the products and offer tips and advice.

Have a site where you sell pet products? Then talk about cute puppies and kittens or comment on the latest TV show that features pets. Not only do you want to promote your business through social media, but it is important to also be SOCIAL and build a good rapport with customers.

There are so many things you can talk about and there are also services that you can setup a lot of Tweets and Facebook Posts and schedule them out so you aren’t updating your status and tweeting all day long. For a suggestion, we use SocialOomph.com

Newsletters are another great way to talk to your customers and providing them a simple signup on your site will help boost your communication as well as your traffic. So get talking!

photo by: ilamont.com

Great Content – Competing with Big Online Retailers

January 7th, 2014

crownContent is king and for various reasons!

Not only does good content (keyword optimized) help you with the search engines but it makes you stand out from the crowd which is beneficial to compete with big online retailers.

Big online retailers have good descriptions of products and all the product information that you need to understand what you are buying, but what they lack is a good sense of humor or creativity about it.

There is a retailer online that I buy from every year for Christmas presents. They have funny descriptions, hilarious product videos and great images on the products that they sell. I love to browse through all the things that they have, even just to read about them!

I’m sure that you have come across clever sites like this and look forward to seeing what they come up with next. This is something that large retailers can’t do because they carry too many products and it would take too much time, energy and money to create individual videos or creative descriptions for each product.

But as a small retailer, you can do exactly that! Shoppers love creative content and with any luck, they will buy from you, talk about you and bookmark you to come back at a later date to see what YOU come up with next!

photo by: trainjason

Go Niche!- Competing with Big Online Retailers

December 17th, 2013

pile of sprinklesWe have talked about this time and time before. Why? Because it works!

Something that small retailers have that big retailers don’t, is the ability to specialize in different areas. That specialization of areas is called a Niche. Selling Niche Market products is staying away from the Mass Market products that many of the large retailers carry. These big retailers carry hundreds and thousands of products in many different areas so they aren’t able to specialize in one thing or another, nor do they have the time to explain in better detail what the product is and how it can benefit you or how you can use it to improve your life.

There are so many niche markets available that people can tap into!

Niches can be an area of your expertise (if it isn’t saturated already) or something that you are very interested in and/or you see a hole in the market for it.

A niche website will be centered around one or two products and you can always throw some extras in there as accessories or good add-on’s to the products.

The essential building blocks to finding good niches is making good lists. So for example;

You want to research the potential of selling Kitchen Products. Now, just kitchen products on it’s own wouldn’t be a niche, because that area is 1. too broad and 2. already saturated, so get creative!

So what would be a good Kitchen area? Well, I personally love to bake, anything from bread rolls to pastries. But I have the most fun when I’m baking for my nephews birthdays… cupcakes and cakes! We have trouble finding themed supplies for these and typically have to go to several stores in order to get what we want.. so voila! The beginnings of a potential niche!

But  baking again, isn’t the niche… or cupcake supplies or cake supplies for that matter! We have to continue our list…

Thinking about the items that we need in order to make our cute cakes and cupcakes; color & style themes are very important. One time they want blue, or red or superhero or character themed. So we go to one store and get cupcake liners in the right color, we go to another to get toppers or cupcake decorations in the proper theme, we go to another to get the right plates and napkins… it can be quite frustrating!

So what would ease this frustration? A website that was dedicated to nothing but cupcake kits! But what would make this more of a specialized niche? Cupcake Kits for Boys! There, we go! Our niche! Here’s how the list would play out…

Kitchen Products
Baking Supplies
Cupcake Supplies
Cupcake Decorating Kits
Cupcake Decorating Kits for Boys Birthdays <——- Niche!

This isn’t all you need to do to find your niche, but this is where it all starts! So get your thinking cap on, find a frustration in your life and try to find out what would ease that frustration for thousands of other people. Or create lists of interests and find a hole that needs filled when you are doing your research. :)

photo by: S. Diddy

Know Your Customers- Competing with Big Online Retailers

December 10th, 2013

handshakeThere are a lot of big online retailers and it may feel impossible to compete against them, but you can! You don’t do it with trying to have a bidding war with PPC’s or spend a lot of money outsourcing services, because you can never compete with your money against their money, you need to be more creative and customer service oriented in order to succeed.

Know Your Customers
Make sure that you know your customers and know what they are buying and why. It is easy to perform a survey after someone purchases from you. Ask them why they purchased from you, what else would they buy from you, were your prices competitive?

Get as much invaluable information that you can from your customers. This will really help you with deciding to offer different products, change prices, make adjustments to your site and more.

Large companies have extensive data that they collect on what people are buying, but they may not know why or why they chose to purchase with them. When is the last time Amazon sent you a survey? Or Wal-Mart? As a small business, you can place more attention on your customers because you don’t have employees and extensive overhead to manage.

Some people are more willing to offer their opinion than others, so if you don’t get the amount of responses that you want, then you can offer them a discount or a coupon for your site after they answer. Many people need incentive in order to go above and beyond, and a store discount will only make them come back and buy something else from you. :)

photo by: buddawiggi