Can a Business Be Both A Wholesaler And A Retailer

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

Can a business be both a wholesaler and a retailer? Well, yeah! In fact I recommend it. There are pros and cons to each but doing them together creates a synergy that can really grow your business.  Selling retail can mean having in house parties like Mary Kay, Fairs, and Pop Up Stores and a website.  For this article we will discuss wholesaling on your website.

There are many reasons why you should sell your fashion line from your website.  Let’s face it on line sales continue to grow at a significant rate.  By having an on line presence you have another avenue in which to sell your product.  Some companies do most of their business on line and have very successful and profitable businesses.  Below are my 5 top reasons.

  1. Your website is a great place for you to create a brand experience.  From the style of your website, to your photography, all the way to customer service you are in control.   You don’t have stores you sell to filtering the experience through the look of their stores and how they take care of their customers.
  2. You can build a direct customer list.  A list is a big asset that an online business will cultivate.  By having a list you can market directly to an audience that has already expressed interest.
  3. The margins are great!  Think about it.  You have to sell online at the same price as the MSRP that you tell the stores you sell.  So you have the margin on the wholesale price plus the margin on the retail price.  Pretty awesome!
  4. You are open 24/7.  This way customers are not locked into shopping when a store is open.  It’s fun to wake up to sales that occur through the night.  These are sales that you might not have had if the consumer had to wait till the morning.
  5. You can create links to your site.  Links are very important to viral marketing. If you have many sites linking to you, it is like spreading the word about your company all around the world. If you have a good website with good products people are more likely to link your website to theirs.  It is a relatively inexpensive way to market your site.

The Internet has changed the way we do business.  It has allowed small start-ups to get in the game in a relatively small way and build a business before having the big expenses of showroom space and staff.  It should also be an important part of your selling strategy.

 Selling to retail stores is also important. -This is a tried and true method.  Selling to stores or having your own store is a great way to get your merchandise out there.  People love to shop and use it as a form of entertainment.  So even though retail stores are not growing as they had in the past it is still a major source for sales.  Having people see, touch, and try on all at once is a big advantage.  While the margins are less when you sell wholesale the orders are larger.  This helps you build cutting tickets so that you can place larger factory orders.  Which then lowers your make charges and improves your profitability.  

The additional advantage to selling wholesale is the custom of showrooming. According to Wikipedia “Showrooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store or other offline setting, and then buying it online, sometimes at a lower price. Online stores often offer lower prices than their brick and mortar counterparts because they do not have the same overhead cost.”  Retailers have learned that having brick and mortar stores increases their on line businesses.  Which clearly shows that doing both wholesale and retail together works. 

Finally an under appreciated aspect is the data you gain about your customers by selling both wholesale and retail. 

Can a Business Be Both A Wholesaler And A Retailer?

Selling both wholesale and retail together builds your audience.  This increases your exposure to potential clients exponentially.  Adding in the marketing that drives consumers to stores selling your product and your website you can be unstoppable.  The nature of the fashion industry is changing.  Look for many silos in which to sell because it works together.

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About the Author

Maria Pesin knows fashion, especially the business side of the fashion industry. Do you know how Manolo Blahnik got his start in the industry? How he leveraged a paltry 3 grand into one of the world’s most famous luxury brands? While she doesn’t take credit for Manolo’s success, Maria has walked a similar path on numerous occasions. The world of fashion is not silicon valley, and it has nothing to do with Madison Avenue marketing. In this industry there is ALWAYS room for something new and exciting, but you have to have your ducks in a row. If that’s what you need, believe me, Maria is the General Patton of fashion ducks!

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