Ecommerce is all about relationships. Sure, you can’t engage with your shoppers face to face as you would in a brick-and-mortar. But you must still develop a relationship with them that drives them to follow you on social media and make purchases from your ecommerce site.
You also need relationships that aren’t so obvious at first glance, such as those with wholesalers and suppliers.
Here’s why developing relationships with wholesalers can be beneficial.
Get Better Deals. One of the primary reasons ecommerce owners build relationships with suppliers is to get better deals on merchandise—which in turn improves profitability.
However, before you start demanding discounts left and right, it’s important to understand relationships are two-way street. It’s unlikely you will get a discount on merchandise simply because you asked. After all, this cuts into the wholesaler’s bottom line. You must demonstrate to the supplier that you are a reputable and legitimate business.
To do so, it helps to:
- Pay on time for your orders, every time.
- Set reasonable goals and expectations for your suppliers to meet.
- Provide background on your business and offerings, and clarify how their services aid your business.
- Maintain open and ongoing communication.
- Show appreciation.
- Address problems or issues in a constructive and respectful manner.
On the other hand, once you have developed a longstanding business relationship and are looking to increase your orders, asking for a discount will be met with serious consideration.
There is an important distinction between “I want cheaper goods” and “I want to grow our professional relationship, how can you help me out?” It also helps to meet with suppliers over dinner or drinks to establish a more memorable presence; as well as create a personal bond beyond the realm of business.
Receive First Dibs on Liquidated Products. Another way to get discounts from wholesalers is to ask for information on products they may want to liquidate. This is beneficial for both parties because suppliers will want to get rid of these items quickly.
Regardless of whether or not the supplier can fulfill your request the first time around, it’s advisable to ask for regular updates on future liquidations. If you take advantage of these opportunities repeatedly, you will likely enjoy a reputation for picking up liquidated goods and your suppliers may give you first dibs.
Increase Visibility Through Cross Promotion. As you can see, there is a little bit of give and take when it comes to building relationships with wholesalers and suppliers. And this doesn’t just apply to sales. It can also include marketing.
One example of quid pro quo marketing is through external linking. Essentially, the supplier agrees to promote your e-store by placing your logo on their client’s page, or hosting a guest blog post from your site. They may ask you to do the same in exchange.
These changes can be accomplished quite easily when your e-store employs premium web templates from a site provider like Shopify. You can even blow out these cross promotions over time by creating a regular cadence of social media and blog posts mentioning your suppliers (and vice versa).
Developing relationships with suppliers is simply a matter of taking the time to get to know them and strive to meet them in the middle. Done with finesse, this can nurture profitable partnerships. The above guidelines will help you develop healthy, mutually beneficial relationships with your suppliers.