1. Industry
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

How to Start a Retail Wholesale Business

7 Steps to a Successful Retail Wholesale Business


Europe, uk, diy shop interior
Charles Bowman/Photolibrary/Getty Images

What’s the difference between a lackluster, low-performance retail and a thriving, profitable one? Perhaps one or more of these 7 steps could be the tipping point.

Although some of these tips may seem straight-forward, the devil is in the details. If you successfully implement at least one of these, you’ll be on your way to great success.

1. Lay Out Your Store So It’s Easy To Navigate

When it comes to customers, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to buy from you, and that begins with them being able to find the product in the first place.

Merchandise arranged haphazardly, insufficient lighting, no signs - all of these make it more difficult for your customers to find their way around your store.

Make sure you arrange your inventory so customers have little trouble finding what they’re looking for, ensure you have helpful signage guiding your customers throughout your store, and have your overall design similar to other stores your clients are familiar with so they don’t have to learn your unique layout.

2. Make Merchandise Accessible

Although you may sell in volume, your customers buy based on seeing individual items. Make sure they have access to your inventory. Echoing tip #1: the more difficult it is for them to buy, the less likely they’ll be to do so. Make it as easy as possible for them.

Stock your merchandise so that customers won’t need salespeople to help them. Have individual items available for the customer to examine. The less of a hassle they have looking over your products, they more likely they’ll be to purchase them.

3. Have Product Information Ready

Again, you’re making it as easy as possible for your customers to make a decision. Don’t make them rely on salespeople for product information they could read in a brochure handy near the product. Ensure you stay well-stocked with product information sheets or brochures. Oftentimes, simply having something in-hand can reassure customers and encourage them towards a purchase decision.

4. Ensure Sales Associates Focus On Personal Assistance

It isn’t difficult to imagine your customer’s frustration as they walk up and down the aisles looking for a sales associate, only to find them joking with their coworkers at the register.

Your representatives can make or break your business, so make sure they’re providing the level of customer satisfaction your customers expect. It begins with hiring the right people, but includes ongoing training. This could be something as simple as role-playing with the associate or allowing them to observe your interactions with your customers.

5. Find And Keep Good Employees

The people in your business are really your business’s best asset. Hire the best people you can and make sure you keep them. Your customers will appreciate seeing the same faces again and again, and you’ll save quite a bit of money having to rehire and retrain someone for the same position over and over.

How do you find good employees? Perhaps the most effective step is checking their references. Even if the employer doesn’t tell you everything, you can gather quite a bit from what they don’t say about their former employee.

How do you keep good employees? A great place to start is by simply listening to them. When they believe their concerns and suggestions are being heard, they’ll feel much more loyal to your company. An incredible benefit is the great ideas and important problems your employees will identify.

6. Help Customers Help Themselves

Imagine a wholesale store wherein a customer can walk in, easily find what they’re looking for, review their options, make a selection, bring it to the cash register, pay, and leave - without seeing one person. Although this shouldn’t be your goal (after all, tip #4 focused on the human touch), it is the way many businesses are going with self-checkout. You don’t have to interact with any employees, if you so choose.

Similarly, making it as easy as possible for you customers to get in, help themselves, and get out can help your business tremendously. Your buyers usually don’t want to wait for anyone for any reason - being able to help themselves suits them just fine. Make sure you allow them to do so.

7. Offer 24/7 Shopping Online

Offering your customers the option to find, research, and buy online can provide your business online revenue. But there are also studies which demonstrate that a high percentage of people who research online will buy in-store. In other words, you’ll increase your physical store’s traffic by having a good website up - even if no one buys anything through it.

When you implement this tip, be sure your virtual store addresses tips #1-#6. Your virtual store should be easy to navigate, provide plenty of information, and be backed by a team of responsive, knowledgeable employees.

If you implement just one of these 7 tips, you should see improvement in your store’s performance. If you implement all 7, be prepared for one of your best years ever.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.