operations technology

10 ways to increase your wholesale sales

As a wholesaler, you make money when retailers buy your goods, but that’s sometimes easier said than done. Selling products should be the easy part of running your business, but without a strategy in place to draw in customers—and keep them coming back—it may not be. There are many factors that may contribute to low sales, from prices that are too high compared to competitors to a poor customer experience.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase wholesale orders and overall sales for your business. If you’re out of ideas on how to attract more buyers, read the following 10 tips for wholesale business owners that can help you turn things around. You can also use the links below to go to a specific section of interest.

How does wholesale work?

Before we dive into how to sell wholesale successfully, we need to cover the basics:

  • What is a wholesale business? Wholesaling is the business model where you sell your products in bulk. In this model, buyers get goods for lower than retail price but must purchase a large quantity at one time.
  • Who are the target customers for wholesale businesses? Retailers purchase bulk inventory from you and then turn around and sell to consumers. Retailers benefit from this system because they can set a higher retail price.
  • Where do wholesale businesses sell their products? Wholesale businesses can sell through brick-and-mortar retail stores. However, many wholesale businesses are shifting to e-commerce.

Whether you’ve been operating your wholesale business for years or are just now entering the market, a reminder of these principles is important. With a fundamental understanding of how wholesale works, you’ll be better equipped to implement the best wholesale sales strategies.

Image of a manager and warehouse employee shaking hands.

How to increase your wholesale sales

Use the following tips to drive wholesale sales and grow your business:

1. Offer specials that bring retailers lower-than-wholesale prices

Building extra savings into your offerings through daily, weekly, or monthly deals will put you at a competitive advantage and help you move your merchandise quickly and easily. Instead of paying higher prices offered by your competitors, B2B buyers will watch for these specials. They’ll appreciate the added savings they receive when they deal with your company—which means more orders for you.

Like retail businesses, wholesale suppliers can offer special deals on merchandise beyond the initial wholesale discount. You can also offer incentives in the form of discounted prices for purchasing large quantities. Creating a program that incentivizes your target buyers can lead to a major boost in sales while you run the promotion.

However, these incentive programs may not be sustainable in the long run. Make sure to do a cost-benefit analysis to ensure the sales you’re bringing in are worthwhile. Ideally, you want to make sure the additional business you bring in by offering low pricing is a good trade-off.

2. Provide outstanding customer service

Always treat your buyers with courtesy and radiate professionalism. Be willing to go the extra mile for a retailer who purchases your products, and never be afraid to lose an occasional “battle” in order to win the wholesale business “war.” Treat every retailer with respect and professionalism. Even if you occasionally have to refuse a request, be sure to do so courteously. This sort of treatment will go a long way toward creating loyal, higher-volume wholesale customers.

The little gestures do matter, just look at Amazon. The company implemented many industry firsts to take the customer experience to the next level. Among them are free shipping, order tracking, one-click ordering, customer reviews, and related product recommendations that make ordering quicker, easier, more convenient, and less costly. In fact, Amazon was first to introduce a customer review section on an e-commerce website, in addition to their extensive, multi-channel customer service approach.

If you use a direct sales strategy, make sure you take the time to cultivate relationships with buyers. This will help establish customer loyalty, allow you to make personalized upsell recommendations, and find the most effective incentives to get them to buy more.

3. Make wholesale ordering, delivery, and billing as seamless as possible

Automate your order management and product distribution processes as much as you can. The key value of automation is that it streamlines these complex processes to avoid common pain points. Leverage automation to complete purchase orders, add wholesale products to your sales channels in real time, calculate sales tax, and process payments. With fewer resources devoted to manual labor and oversight, you can provide better, more efficient customer service, from ordering to payment and shipping.

4. Streamline your operations

Business owners that run their own companies efficiently expect the same from their suppliers. That means the onus is on you to maximize operational efficiencies at your own business. To accomplish this goal, you want to focus on improving your supply chain management. Fortunately, there are software solutions such as QuickBooks Commerce that leverage automation to improve inventory control, order management, and fulfillment.

Streamlining your supply chain management with software such as QuickBooks Commerce allows you to create a customized B2B storefront and manage all aspects of your operation in one organized dashboard. Even if you use multiple sales channels to sell your products—such as eBay, Amazon, and Shopify—all your orders are handled through the same system.

Integrating inventory, finance, shipping, logistics, etc. within an intelligent cloud-based wholesale inventory management system is a win-win for both the customer and your business.

5. Make order recommendations

You may want to suggest additional merchandise based on the order placed by the retailer, a process that can either be automated or handled by a live customer service representative. This is the equivalent of upselling in retail sales.

This is something Amazon excels at. They offer customers related merchandise during checkout, as well as on every product page. This not only makes it easier for the customer to find related items if desired, but it also increases the likelihood of cross-selling or upselling, which puts more money in Amazon’s pocket.

The system is automated, making it a painless process for the customer and allowing Amazon to save its workers for tasks that can’t be done just as well by computers. To top off that strategy, Amazon offers free shipping on orders with a relatively low total cost. No wonder so many customers end up buying more than they originally planned.

You can apply this strategy through your online store and other sales channels, at trade shows, or by having your sales team reach out directly to clients.

6. Create compelling, eye-catching campaigns

Aesthetics are just as important as content. Use color, contrast, and other professional design elements to attract the attention of new B2B customers with an engaging digital marketing campaign. Pair design with sharp copy and a clear call to action to make ads as effective as possible.

These principles can be applied across your marketing strategy, from social media to email campaigns.

Image of a woman writing on white board while a group of employees sit at a table working together to plan a sales strategy.

7. Offer special discounts to new buyers

A one-time discount for new customers can be an effective way to attract new business, whether the customer is a retailer or a consumer. This incentivizes prospective customers to give your business a chance, with minimal risk—they are getting a discount after all. If they like doing business with you, they’ll keep coming back, even without a discount.

This strategy can be implemented in several ways—from percentage off total sales value to free shipping.

8. Offer incentives for referrals

It’s all about who you know. Your buyers have their own networks. Leverage them by offering a reward for referrals so you can easily tap into these wholesale connections.

Keep in mind that with referrals, you typically need to provide a discount to both the customer doing the referring as well as the new customer. When setting up your referral program, consider what kind of discount would be the most effective, without putting your business at a disadvantage. There’s a cost to adding a middleman to help you make sales, but it can lead to a big pay off if your referral program is successful.

9. Advertise a free gift with every new buyer’s first purchase

Everybody likes presents, including B2B customers. Consider offering different gifts based on the size of the initial order. This way, you increase the likelihood that a buyer will select your company as its supplier while encouraging a larger initial purchase.

When selecting the free gift, make sure it will provide value to the buyer. However, that’s not to say it has to be one of your most popular products. A smart move may be to try making the gift something that doesn’t typically sell well on it’s own or that you have overstock of.

10. Provide limited-time offers that encourage retailers to buy now

You’ve got their attention. Don’t lose it. Building definitive deadlines into your offers can provide the incentive your prospect needs to move from “maybe” to “yes.” Buyers of all kinds enjoy exclusivity that makes them feel like valued customers. By running limited-time offers, you can pique their interest while also making them feel like they’re getting a special opportunity.

This not only means that you’ll increase order and sales numbers in the short term, but you can capture new customers who want to leverage the deal. This is also a great way to move inventory that’s been lingering in your warehouse for too long.

Implement your new wholesale sales strategy

Wholesaling can be a profitable business venture if it is paired with an effective wholesale strategy. These tactics combined with QuickBooks for wholesale businesses could be just what you need to boost your sales. QuickBooks Commerce is designed with multi-channel e-commerce businesses in mind, allowing you to manage retail and wholesale operations all in one dashboard. With this software, you can track sales, manage sales channels, track orders and inventory, and analyze your sales. This makes it easy for you to implement wholesale sales strategies based on accurate, up-to-date information. Streamline and take control of your business with QuickBooks Commerce so that you can focus on increasing sales with the latest tools and tactics.

If you’re just getting started with your wholesale business, check out our  guide for small businesses on wholesale vs. retail and how to wholesale to retailers.

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