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5 Retail Business Strategies You Can Copy to Boost Wholesale Business Sales

7 min read
Jun 24, 2024 2:39:12 PM

Although B2B, retail, and DTC sales have unique considerations, the core principle of building strong relationships and driving sales is really the same all throughout these business types.

Large quantities, impersonal transactions and a focus on price points can make bulk-selling feel less engaging and more impersonal. 

Thankfully, retail success is less a happy accident and more a combination of thought-out tactics that keep customers engaged and coming back. 

With a pronounced customer focus, strategic marketing and efficient operations as your backbone, retail tactics can be useful in wholesale too. 

So, let’s go over some of their practices and help you figure out the best game plan to upgrade your wholesale business. 

Strategy 1: Customer Relationship Management

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As a wholesaler, you’re dealing with specifically tuned businesses that have clear needs, preferences and goals. If you want to cater to those needs, you’ll need to know more than just their order history – you need to understand their scope inside and out. That’s called customer relationship management and it comes down to building genuine partnerships with your clients.

Building Strong and Personal Business Relationships

Customer trust and loyalty should be your top priorities. The best way to ensure both is an in-depth look at their business. Figure out their USP, analyse their customer profile and operations, and identify their unique pain points. With a good read of their needs, you can offer solutions and relevant updates on the fly. 

The second thing you’ll want to keep in mind is a personal approach – and it'll come naturally from the first step. This doesn’t mean knowing birthdays or weekend hobbies, but it does mean staying on top of things. Keep in touch with your customers through relevant updates and targeted messages, schedule calls to keep everyone in the loop and make sure your timing aligns with their needs. This fosters a sense of commitment, reliability and, ultimately, a feeling that you genuinely care about their success. 

Our proprietary CRM tool, Customer Communication Hub, allows brands to view, document, manage, and execute communication between management, sales reps, customer service, and retail accounts. It also lets you dig into what retailers are viewing, favoriting , items they've abandoned in their cart, etc.

Strategy 2: Enhanced Marketing Tactics

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Understanding your customers is one thing, reaching them is quite another. While business success of any kind depends on effectively positioning yourself on the market, wholesale faces a unique challenge: lack of direct interaction with end-consumers. So for traditional B2B-methods, it’s time to get creative and that means focusing on the power of content and social media to connect with potential customers. 

Implementing Retail Marketing Tactics in Wholesale

Retail marketing relies on eye-catching setups and impeccable product placement to turn a passerby into a customer. But for wholesale, strategic lighting or stunning displays don’t translate as well. 

Fear not, options exist. 

  • Referral incentives offer customers a benefit for referring you to other potential clients, giving you a way to efficiently expand your client base while strengthening the existing relationship. 
  • Product demonstrations or in-person events, centered around trade shows or conferences, could allow you to showcase your products and build future relationships. 
  • Repeat purchases could be rewarded in wholesale, same as retail – think loyalty programs offering tiered discounts based on order volume or exclusive benefits for ongoing customers. 
  • Drop shipping is a good way to directly reach the customer, encouraging clients to buy from you. 

Utilising Social Media and Content Marketing

Wholesale doesn’t have to be all email blasts and brochures. Nowadays, moving onto digital platforms and creating compelling content is very much a legitimate strategy for B2B. 

This, however, means sales pitches and walk-ins need to make way for new approaches to marketing. By focusing on building trust and credibility, your online reputation will precede you and followers will turn into customers. 

Thought leadership, blogs reviewing industry trends, X-ing (formerly tweeting), targeted ads or a LinkedIn presence that emphasises expertise all allow for personal and organisational interaction. Bear in mind, the internet is discerning – your content needs to fit the format.

Blogs can turn into visual content for Instagram or videos for Facebook, guides can become newsletters while content-heavy material can become a podcast.

If you'd like more B2B marketing tips, check out how RepSpark can help you market your B2B business.

Strategy 3: Superior Customer Service

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Resolving issues and “being there” is good, but wholesalers need to exceed expectations in customer service to truly set themselves apart. Come rain or shine, you’ll need to make sure your client feels valued, understood and confident in their decision to choose you. A human touch from your support team or expedited use of technology will ensure every interaction is seamless and positive.

Providing Exceptional Customer Service

Long-term partnerships come from a place of security and dependability, so in a wholesale setting, white-glove service is the way to go. This means anticipating client needs, proactive communication and personalized support. 

  • Think reaching out before re-stocking is due. 
  • Think dedicated account managers for individualized and optimized support. 
  • Think of feedback that helps you figure out what you’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement. 

By prioritising the customer’s experience, you build trust and solidify your role as a dependable partner.

Utilising Technology for Better Service

Managing customers essentially means having a customer hub that provides your team with enough information to appropriately understand and handle them. Tech is here to help. Look into customer service platforms that address inquiries and needs seamlessly (ticketing systems, chat support or tracking). 

CRM systems can help you turn customer data – like records of interaction, preferences or purchase history and rhythm – into actionable, proactive insights. Free up your team to handle complex issues or build partnerships by relying on automated tools for basic and extended support (after-hours chatbot or self-service portals for independent account management).

RepSpark's Digital Catalogs can help you create more personal experiences for retailers, such as a cover photo for the Digital Catalog that includes a picture of their retail location and store name. During the COVID-19 lockdown, a sales rep from Salt Optics used this approach and opened up 20 new doors. 

Strategy 4: Inventory Management 

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Between having enough to meet customer needs and overstocking on unused products, keeping tabs on inventory can feel like a tight balancing act. Retailers have long mastered this art, so taking notes will help establish and maintain a seamless supply chain that meets demands efficiently.

Retail Inventory Techniques for Wholesale

Data will be your primary focus. Analyze existing sales info and rely on forecasting tools to predict future demand, ensuring you have the right product at the right time. 

  • Just-in-Time inventory minimizes storage costs by coordinating deliveries with client orders. 
  • ABC analysis prioritises your inventory based on value and sales frequency to ensure high-value items are always available, while efficiently managing the rest. 
  • Safety stock acts as a buffer against unexpected demand surges, but steer clear of overstocking. 

Use historical data to determine appropriate safety stock levels for each product category. By implementing these retail-inspired hacks, you can streamline your inventory management and keep your clients satisfied.

Technology and Tools 

Inventory management software gives you a centralized platform that tracks everything from stock levels to sales and deliveries, while saving you the scrambling or overselling thanks to real-time updates. Automated systems trigger reorders when stock dips below a set point, so you can rest assured knowing you’re ready to go whenever your clients need it. Analytics tools can help you identify slow-moving items, peak sales periods or turnover rates – use them to optimize your day-to-day.

The integration with ERPs that we've built for RepSpark provide your business with real-time insights so your customers know what's available and can get answers immediately.  

Strategy 5: Pricing Strategies and Promotions

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Calculating your pricing structure may seem like a guessing game, but there are steps wholesalers can take to make sure they're in line with current industry trends. Again, taking a page from the retail book can help you drive business by adopting pricing structures or promotions that keep customers happy and business booming. 

Retail Pricing Strategies Applied to Wholesale

You can reward loyal customers just like retailers – think volume discounts to incentivise bulk purchases. Think tiered pricing to cater to different needs – lower prices for high-volume orders or exclusive pricing for loyal customers keeps them coming back. 

Got slow-moving inventory? Bundle it in packages with discounted pricing to increase overall sales. Data is your friend – use it to adjust the price points based on market demand, competition and inventory levels. 

This ensures you stay ahead of the curve and optimize profitability. Plus, 80% of your business is from 20% of your customers, so keeping them happy and engaged is a sound long-run investment.

Effective Promotional Strategies

Promos always pack a punch – they capture attention and drive sales, so to boost your bottom line, take a hint from retailers. Capitalise on peak seasons or holidays with special deals, discounts and promotions to attract new clients or maximise sales. 

Ten percent off the first order, free shipping or a consecutive order bonus helps stimulate business and incentivises new customers to engage and keep engaging. Flash sales will help you clear out excess inventory and boost sales during hump periods, creating a sense of urgency through short-term, high discounts. 

The RepSpark platform has many of the tools we outlined in this blog. If you want to see how our software can help your DTC business add a wholesale component, book a 1-on-1 consultation. 

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