I wrote the following strategies with my wholesale customers in
mind, you can apply these strategies to your retail customers just
as well. Let me know what you think of my strategies.
Retaining wholesale customers is just as important, and maybe even
more important than, finding new wholesale buyers. Think of the
time and money you need to spend to attract a potential customer,
and then the challenge in getting him to purchase merchandise from
your company. If you put in effort to keep the buyers you work
with, you will save the money and time that you would otherwise
spend on advertising and on calling retailers. A loyal wholesale
customer will be inclined to purchase merchandise from you since he
is already familiar with your product line, and is satisfied with
your level of service. The following tips will help you retain more
Think about the value of having a customer that buys
100 wholesale Calvin Klein dresses from you on a regular
basis, as compared to having to look for new customers
Or if you have a retail store, wouldn't you love to
have 10 shoppers that regularly purchased a Coach
handbag from you every month?
Offer flexibility and choices to your buyers. The easier it is for
someone to order products from you, the more likely they will be to
purchase from you. You should have both a brick and mortar
warehouse, and a wholesale web site through which orders can placed
from. Some retailers will feel more comfortable speaking to a
person before buying stock for their shops, while others are so
pressed for time that they limit all order related communications
Focus on the long term value of your customers. For example, if a
clothing store places monthly orders for dresses from you, and
their average order is $500, their annual lifetime value is $6,000.
So instead of just focusing on the $500 order, keep in mind how
much they will spend with you in the future. By understanding the
long term value of their business, you will be motivated to go out
of your way to provide top quality service to them. It goes without
saying that retailers, flea market vendors, and eBay sellers should
all feel appreciated, regardless of their buying ability.
It might make sense to offer an existing customer a discount on a
closeout lot of Guess handbags even if you could
sell them to a boutique for a slightly higher price.
Keeping a good connection over the long term
is worth sacrificing a small periodic loss in potential profit.
Ensure that your sales people appreciate the business that your
wholesale customers give you. You can accomplish this by
compensating your sales people based on the volume of wholesale
merchandise that they sell. A commission based pay structure will
motivate them to not only make a sale, but to keep your customers
happy so that they will continue ordering.
Address and resolve issues immediately. This does not mean that you
have to satisfy any whim that your customer has, but it does mean
that you should show buyers that you are working to address issues
that are important to them. If a shipment has been sent to the
wrong store location, and you have corrected the issue, follow up
with a phone call and email to verify that they have received the
merchandise. Often a customer will appreciate your work, even if
the resolution is not ideal.
If a customer purchased a pallet of designer footwear
for their shoe store, and then 5 of the pairs
did not sell, you should consider allowing your
customer to exchange them for another 5 pairs
Shower your customers with extra bonuses. For instance, run
promotions such as a 5% bonus for all orders placed in a given
week, or surprise your best customers by adding in free closeout
products inside their boxes. If a customer has traveled to visit
your showroom, show your appreciation by serving her a snack and
drinks. It is important that your customers are perceived as people
first, and buyers second, since the majority of small business
commercial transactions are influenced by the quality of the social
relationships between suppliers and retailers.
If a customer just purchased a large lot of
Kasper women's suits, and is debating whether to
purchase a Ralph Lauren suit, you might consider
giving the suit to the customer at a discount.