February 3, 2012

Online Stores – Not Just For Retail Anymore

online_wholesale_storeHaving a web store on your site is a great way to make purchasing easy for retail customers but are you really utilizing the concept as well as you could?  If part of your sales channel strategy includes selling wholesale to retailers how easy do you make it for those buyers to purchase from you?

I’m not talking about the big stores who have a well-staffed purchasing department and who can make phone calls and send out purchase hours during the course of a normal work day.  I’m talking to those of you who’s wholesale accounts are made up primarily of smaller mom-and-pop stores.  In these cases, the store owner is usually the only one who can make buying decisions and between their hectic day-to-day responsibilities of running the store, stocking shelves, balancing the accounts, and helping customers, they may not have time during the day to pick up a phone and place an order with you or call for more information about your product line.  Don’t you want to make it easy for them to place orders too?

Just like an online store for retail customers, with the help of a web developer you can create a password-protected online store for your wholesale accounts.  This section, which is only accessible to retailers, showcases your wholesale prices, complete ingredient and shelf life information, and any minimum quantities required for wholesale ordering, along with a place for the retailers to actually place the order securely.  Some small food businesses I know also set up their wholesale web store to include free downloadable .pdf merchandising materials that the retailers can access and print to help them promote your products in their stores.

Having an online store for your wholesale accounts means that when said mom-and-pop store owner finally has the time to think about reordering or wants to find out more information about your wholesale pricing, it can all be easily done online regardless of what time it is.  While computers will hopefully never fully take the place of an in-person visit or telephone call with regards to relationship-building, in this day and age the more information you can make easily accessible online the better.  Besides, wouldn’t it make your day to wake up and find out that six wholesale orders came in overnight?  It’s like literally making money while you sleep!

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