Buying Wholesale - A beginners guide

When you have worked in retail for many years, you forget how it was when you first began, remembering back when wholesalers asked us to pay ‘pro forma’ we nodded while thinking ‘what actually is pro forma…?‘ we had been in completely different industries so why would we know! (it means pay up front by the way!)16
When you are thinking about taking the plunge and buying wholesale, basically it means you are spending more money on a larger volume of goods to then resell on. You will benefit from large discounts, the larger the quantities you buy, the bigger discounts you get.

Some wholesalers start with a minimum spend of just £50 others ask you to spend £1000. It varies depending on the supplier (wholesaler). Quantities per item is another consideration, some suppliers let you buy just 1 of each item, others sell in 4’s 6’s 24’s or more. It’s not unreasonable to ask what quantity of each item do you have to buy.

When you first show interest in a supplier its very important to get clear on their terms, what are their likely delivery times, what is the carriage charge? Many suppliers will have a level of spend that is ‘carriage free’ this can be anything from £100 to £1000. Many of the smaller suppliers are happy to ship goods for a £300 order, (this would be called a ‘carriage free’ order. If you look at the suppliers on this Giftshop Wholesalers site we have the free shipping/carriage free amount. This becomes important as when buying for gift shops its much more financially viable to not pay ANY carriage. Note: Many companies will still send carriage free if they for example have out of stock items in your order but CHECK as you don’t want to drop below the amount and have to pay £10 extra.

Here are some points (and a recap) to consider when looking for wholesale suppliers:

  1. What are the individual product product quantities? (how many of each item do you have to buy). Some wholesalers sell in packs where you get a set number of each colour, make sure you like all the colours! They will not usually split packs.
  2. What are their delivery times? – How long do you have to wait until the products are shipped to you.
  3. When do you need to pay? – It is normal to place your order then the invoice will be sent to you via email or post and you will then pay. Some companies will ask you to pay over the phone. I would expect the delivery imminently once the payment has been made, reputable companies will not keep you waiting too long for goods unless previously agreed.
  4. What if items are missing or damaged? – This doesn’t happen too often but is unfortunate for both parties, most companies will give you a timescale to report missing or damaged items, make sure you report this as soon as possible and keep any damaged or faulty items, some companies like them back, others will tell you to dispose of them. Note : To keep up good relations we don’t report every single tiny item, if its just £1/£2 we just take the hit as we feel its not worth anyones time, but that is just how we work!
  5. What is the minimum spend/Carriage free amount? Most suppliers will have a ‘Minimum spend’ this is the minimum amount you have to spend to benefit from the wholesale prices, they also have the ‘carriage free’ amount. The minimum spend can be anything from £50 upwards, always check the carriage costs on the lower amounts as this becomes a cost you have to absorb.

I hope you have found this article useful, if you have any further questions please pop over to Twitter and give us a tweet!




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