Written by Giles Bennett
Wholesale with Magento
Many of our clients who both produce and retail their own products, once they’ve got to grips with their Magento store, realise that there’s a great deal of potential within it waiting to be unlocked. A common first step is to start processing wholesale orders through the site. The onus of responsibility for marketing, shipping individual orders, selling and dealing with retail customers can be passed onto your wholesale customer allowing you to focus on other aspects of the business. You also get the added advantage of your product being distributed through multiple channels.
Wholesale Stock Control and the Wholoesale Shopping Experience
A common problem we come across is that the Magento store is setup with retail in mind rather than wholesale. As a result, most of our clients end up taking wholesale orders over the telephone or via e-mail, which results in more work for them as, not only do they have to pack and dispatch the stock as they would for a retail customer, but they then have to go into Magento to update stock levels manually.
You have stock, your retail customers buy your stock, you ship them the stock.
You have stock, your wholesale customers buy your stock, you ship them the stock.
The main difference is that a wholesale customer generally already knows what they want to buy, they don’t need the same end user experience as a retail customer. Where a retail customer wants to browse and have the full “shopping” experience, a wholesale customer wants a quick and easy ordering process. In fact, we have found, that the quicker and easier it is for them to place an order, the more chance they will come back time and time again, and the more chance they might chuck a couple of extra items into their order to see how another of your products does. If you tie your wholesale site into the same Magento back end as your retail site, stock levels will be automatically adjusted when wholesale orders are placed, making stock management much, much easier.
Exposing the wholesale price of products to your retail customers wouldn’t be a great idea and so it is imperative that as well as offering wholesale customers a streamlined shopping experience, you also ensure that the area in which they place their wholesale orders is completely secure and not visible to normal retail users. You also don’t want any Tom, Dick or Harry stocking your products, as jumping into bed with the wrong retailer may damage the reputation of both your product and your company. Having a “Become a Wholesale Customer” link that gives prospective customers a form to complete to request wholesale access, will give you the opportunity to screen prospective retailers before giving them access to the site.
Wholesale users are still customers
Although a wholesale customer has different motives for shopping on your site, they are still your customer. They are just as susceptible to advertising as your retail users, but offers you have for them will differ from those of your retail users. You may have a buy one get one half price deal for retail users, how about a buy 2 pallets of product x get a free box of product y. You may have Point Of Sale materials available to order, different shipping methods, and different minimum quantities. In other words your wholesale site requires just as much planning and thought as your retail site.
Help is at hand!
HummingbirdUK have developed a neat little solution that will bolt on to your existing Magento store and give you the ability to provide a simplified, secure Wholesale experience to your strategic retail partners, without compromising your existing retail site and without over complicating your stock management. Get in touch and we can talk about adding our Wholesale Add-On to your Magento site.