When I started in Ecommerce I found that I needed to learn how to get wholesale accounts. I knew that with wholesale I would have a consistent supply of items, and the margins would be better. What I needed was a believable website, something that would get wholesale companies to take me seriously.
I started selling on my Shopify website a couple of years ago. I used a free app, eBay Importer, to bring over the items that I was selling on eBay to my Shopify store. This made it really easy and saved me a ton of time! Every once in a while I would get a sale and the margins were great because I wasn’t paying any marketplace fees. I go over how to increase eBay sales in another post that you can check out later.
How to get Wholesale Accounts
You will want to do a few things before applying for your first wholesale accounts:
- First you will want to pick a name for your business & setup the proper business entity in your state. Companies like Legal Zoom can help you decide on what business entity (llc, corporation, etc) to use. Please consult a professional, I am not qualified to tell you what business structure to go with.
- After that you will want to get your Tax ID number or EIN from the IRS.
- Then you will want to get a vendors license, or your states equivalent. Depending on what state you are located in you may need additional documents to be legally doing business, once again seek professional guidance.
The Big Business Perception
After you have the basics for your business, you will want to build the perception that you are a bigger business than what you really are. What I mean is, you don’t want to be thought of as a “Mom & Pop” shop, or someone working from their living room. You may very well be working from your living room or basement, but you don’t want them to know that.
You will want some things in your arsenal to pull this off effectively:
1. Company Logo: After you have all of your legal documentation in order you will want to have a logo made for your website. This is easily done and can be outsourced to a designer on Fiverr. Other places to have logos designed are Designhill, & 99 Designs. Having a good, professional looking logo will go a long way.
2. Website: I prefer Shopify for a company website for various reasons. Some of the reasons are ease of setup, robust apps to help with sales, & reliability. It is one of the most popular places to build an ecommerce website. They also offer a 14 day free trial, so you can test it out for yourself before committing. If you follow along, further in this article I give some pretty awesome ways to generate Free Traffic to your Shopify store.
3. Email: You will want a professional company email. I’m sure wholesale companies would cringe at getting an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. It just isn’t professional, they know it & you will probably get treated like an amateur without a good company email. I use Office 365 through GoDaddy, the cost I believe is around $5 per month. I’m sure there are a lot of other email providers out there, but I have only used Office 365 from GoDaddy. It gets the job done and the cost is reasonable enough.
4. Phone Number: Obviously you can use your cell number, but you will be taken more seriously (in my experience) if you have an 800 number. Most companies have an 800 number of some sort, this helps build trust with wholesale companies and with customers on your website. Think about it, if you were a wholesaler or a customer would you rather do business with a company that has a professional phone number with a voice over (you have reached ABC company, please wait while we connect you with our next available representative), or someone with a cell number and answers the phone just like anyone else? It’s a no-brainer. I use FreedomVoice for an 800 number and the cost is roughly $10 per month. You can assign extensions, listen to voice mails, etc., a really great service for the cost. I also used Fiverr for a professional Voice Over, and the cost was between $10 & $20 one time. If you decide to go with a professional phone number and a voice over, you are really going to help with converting wholesale accounts from a no to a yes.
5. Virtual Business Address: This one is up for debate but it worked for me. I actually rented a Virtual Business Address so when companies searched my company address they would find a big beautiful building. This gave the perception that I wanted, & made getting accounts that much easier. I don’t need one now because I’ve since moved into my own office/warehouse. It’s up to you, but if you choose to go this route one of the better known companies is Regus. Shop around though, look on google as there are many companies that offer this.
Wholesale companies will more than likely search your company name on the internet to see if your business is actually worth their time to setup an account. Your job is to control what they see. You will want to setup Social Media profiles and post some products that you are currently selling on those profiles.
- Facebook Fan Page: Facebook is the most popular social media website and people use it to see who you are and what you’re about. A fan page ranks really well in google, so when a prospective wholesale company googles your company name your fan page should be near the top. If you’ve never setup a fan page before, this easy to follow article will help. After you have followed the steps in the article, you will want to get “Likes” to your fan page. With Facebook ads you can spend $5.00 per day or whatever you decide, and have real people liking your page. You can see exactly how to do that here.
- Pinterest: This social media platform is great, easy to setup and people shop there a lot! You can link your website in your Pinterest profile & can also create product boards which people can save.
- Twitter: Another platform that ranks great in google is Twitter. It’s easy to setup and get going, and you can “tweet” your product URL’s for prospective buyers to see.
- LinkedIn: This is a great platform for networking with prospective wholesale companies. Once you have setup your profile, start reaching out to people and get them in your “Circle”. I haven’t done a whole lot with LinkedIn, but I will be in the future. Oh, and your company profile will rank high in google for your companies search terms.
- Instagram: Instagram is really hot right now for building a fanbase & can be another weapon in your perception building arsenal. Learn how to build your brand and use this platform properly & you will increase your standing with wholesale companies even more, as they want to deal with companies that are actively marketing. Instagram also allows you to link your website in your Bio, which is also great for your fans to connect with you and buy your products.
Ultimately you want to be Omnipresent, the more Social Media platforms that you are on the more likely you are to be found by wholesale companies and customers.
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How to structure your Shopify Website
- Home: You will need to choose a Theme for your store, you can choose from some free themes here. With most themes in Shopify you will be able to upload a banner, or have multiple banners called a Slideshow. A slideshow rotates every few seconds. You can use a free tool like PicPick to create a banner. You can learn to customize your theme right here, don’t worry it’s easy. You will also want to group your products into Collections so you can feature them on your Home page. Collections are just another word for categories. This short article will show you how to make collections. This is fine to start with, but in the future you may want to add some content to your home page.
- About Us: You want to make this page outstanding…don’t skimp. Put a lot of thought into it as wholesale companies and customers will all be checking to see who you are. You don’t have to write a book here, just 6 or 7 sentences explaining who your company is, where you are located (don’t give your exact home address, your city and state will be fine) and what you can do for them. You can also link to your Social Media profiles, this will help build the trust factor. You can see how to create a page on Shopify here.
- Contact Us: This page can be short and sweet. You really only need to say something like “Please fill out the form and we will get back to you as soon as possible”. Many themes have a contact form that you just have to enable, if not you can find the instructions right here.
How to Find Wholesale Companies
Once you have your legal business, social media profiles set up, and your website’s foundation laid, it’s time to find wholesale companies and start applying. One of the more popular wholesale directories is Worldwide Brands, I started with them and it worked out great for me. They have many companies to choose from and make it easy for you to find good wholesale companies. Also if you’re an Amazon or eBay seller, they have a filter you can select to see only companies that will work with you.
They actually go through and check each company that is in their directory, this is to make sure they are legit and worthy of the coveted “Certified” badge that Worldwide Brands gives to companies that meet certain criteria. You only want to deal with real wholesale companies & they help pave the way for you. Now Worldwide Brands is a paid directory, a 1 time fee for life, but this membership paid for itself very quickly for me. There are many paid directories found on the internet, but I have only used Worldwide Brands & that is who I recommend.
Another way is to simply search a place like eBay. I show you exactly what to do in this short video:
Free Traffic to your Shopify Website
While you’re waiting for approvals from the wholesale companies, you will want to get visitors to your new website & start selling. Shopify gives you some pretty sweet ways to do just that. There are many social media platforms that you can post your products on, but the suggestions below are the ones I use. I’ve seen 35-100 visitors per day using these traffic sources.
- Facebook Shop: This app will post all of the items in your store to a Shop section of your Facebook page. Wholesale companies will want to see that you are actually marketing to customers, and this is 1 great way to show them just that.
- Pinterest Buyable Pins: Pinterest came out with this really cool feature a while back that lets customers purchase certain pins. You simply go to the “Sales Channels” part of your Shopify store and add Pinterest. You will have to be approved, so be sure and have a Pinterest account up and running before you apply. Once you are approved you should start seeing your website traffic increase significantly, as long as you have plenty of pins posted. I’ve had many sales from Pinterest pins and I expect you will have the same results in due time.
- Twitter: Simply “tweet” your product url’s on your company Twitter page. Give a short description and use a few hashtags. This will get you visitors.
- Wanelo: This option is free to list on their marketplace, but you will pay fees when you sell an item. The Wanelo Marketplace is definitely up and coming. It’s kind of like a Facebook Shop, as all of your items will be transported after you have connected to the app & are approved. You can connect to the free app right here. Wanelo does charge marketplace fees, at the time of this post it is 15%. Regardless, I’ve seen many sales from Wanelo and continue to use them.
I hope you’ve found some real value in this post, I hope you’ve learned how to get wholesale accounts and start taking action. That’s the most important word in this entire post, action. If you don’t move forward nothing’s going to change for you. If you haven’t joined our Official Mastermind Group you are more than welcome, it’s free and full of successful ecommerce sellers. Until next time.