5 Tips for Selling Wholesale to Retailers

You’re ready to scale up into wholesale selling. The problem is, you don’t know exactly where to start.

No matter the reason you’re considering entering the wholesale market, this article will allow you to understand what the wholescale landscape is about. You’ll also learn what’s required for you to start successfully selling your wholesale products to retailers that are looking to buy.

1. Identifying the Right Retailers

Before you can identify the retailers you’re going to target, spend time doing market research.

Here is what you’ll need to learn from your research:

  • Who is your target customer?
  • What is their purchase journey and buying motivations?
  • Where do they presently purchase or research?

After completing your market research, begin identifying the top prospects. If you’re targeting online retailers, understand:

  • Who their target customers are
  • How they acquire their customers
  • How they feature their online products

If you’re targeting brick and mortar retailers, head down to one of their locations and take a look around. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do you envision the shelf placement of your products?
  • Where are the products of your competitors?
  • How much shelf space will your products require?
  • Do your products fit in line with the store’s image?

Once you’ve addressed these questions, you’ll have a good understanding of the customers you can target.

2. How Does the Retailer Make Purchases?

Depending on customer types and industry, customer buying behaviors will differ. As an example, if you want to sell to a small local boutique you’ll probably be dealing with the owner. If you’re selling to a chain of restaurants you’ll be dealing with a corporate buyer.

Dealing with a store owner is a relatively straightforward process. Sure, personalities are different. But at the end of the day, you know you’re selling to the one that will profit from buying your products.

Dealing with a corporate buyer can be a bit more challenging. For example, they may place one order and expect that you’ll be able to deliver to several different facilities on varying dates.

3. ECommerce Strategy

Most retailers don’t make purchases by email or phone anymore. As a wholesaler, you’ll need to embrace eCommerce to be a player in the game.

There are several options you have:

  • Sell on Alibaba and Amazon
  • Use a B2C eCommerce platform that’s been configured for B2B
  • Use a dedicated B2B portal for eCommerce transactions

There are pros and cons for each of these options. Do some research and find out which one is best for your business.

4. How to Price

This step is vital. As a rule of thumb, your wholesale price should be around 2.5 times the amount each item costs to the product. When pricing, make sure you include all costs of labor, materials and overhead. Also plan for the costs of shipping and shrink.

Set a suggested retail price based on these margins, making sure the retailer has enough profit built-in as well.

5. Managing Pricing for Different Customers

When you get into B2B sales, you’ll be dealing with a wide variety of customers. Some may be small while others may be multi-national giants. Pricing should be different due to varying purchase frequency and volume.

The simplest way to keep up with varying prices is to use pricing lists that detail each customer’s terms and pricing. This helps you make sure you never give a wrong quote to a valued buyer.

Getting in the Wholesale Game

Selling wholesale isn’t difficult when you have the right products and the right strategy. With a little research and planning, you can help increase your chances of having a successful business.


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.