I write this from personal experience in online retail for the best part of a decade. I spend a lot of time talking about how wholesale businesses should define the perfect retailer, well here is my idea of how a perfect supplier might have looked to me when I was an internet retailer.

Let's start with the more tangible, business-related qualities. My ideal supplier would offer:

  • Exciting, well-designed products that are priced realistically
  • Decent margins
  • An easy and quick way to place orders -see here for more about this!
  • Fair and clear terms, MOQ's etc.
  • Efficient and accurate order processing
  • High quality images optimised for online retailing
  • Good reputation and image
  • Care about the standard of websites they supply

Bonus points for suppliers who:

  • Offer things like limited edition or exclusive items to give a retailer something unique. Obviously this isn't possible for everyone, but working with suppliers who helped us to stand out from the crowd was always fantastic.
  • Consult key stockists about feedback and popularity of products, and keep them updated on upcoming new designs as appropriate.

And now the all-important soft-skills, the perfect supplier would be:

  • Genuinely interested in my business and its future
  • Respectful and discreet (i.e. Not discussing my business with competitors!)
  • Honest and up-front about any upcoming changes that might affect my business
  • Fair competition if they also sell direct to the consumer (bearing in mind their margins will always be better)

You may not be able to cater to all of these, this is more of a wish-list than anything. It might just give you some ideas about what you can do to improve your relationship with stockists. If in doubt, ask your stockists if there is anything you could do differently to make life easier for them.

Further Reading:
Getting The Best From Your Wholesale Customers
Get Bigger Orders From Your Wholesale Customers
3 Golden Rules to Make Life Easier For Your Stockists
Five B2C Principles You Should Apply To Your B2B Sales Process