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GETTING STARTED ON WHOLESALE PLATFORMS
First things first, there is no cost to join a wholesale marketplace – woohoo! However, it’s important to know that you do have to apply to be accepted to these platforms. A lot of people even have to apply to join these platforms multiple times before they get accepted.
I think Faire is a little pickier than other platforms so you better have your ducks in a row before you apply. Here are some little quick tips that might help you get accepted faster
In the A-Z directory Facebook Group, I did post a Faire referral link.So search for that, if you’re a member because that will help you. I think if another established retailer refers you, you have a better chance of being accepted on the platform.
It’s helpful if you’re already selling wholesale. Like, they don’t want you to be like, I’ve never sold wholesale before. You need to have some sort of base and be like, I’m in X number of shops already.So doing the whole work on your own and having some shops under your belt, that is a huge plus.
You want to have good photos. They don’t accept crappy photos on Faire. It’s not like Etsy where we can kind of get away with less than stellar photos sometimes. Faire really judges your listings so you want to be sure to have professional photos and mockups.
If you’re thinking about trying out a wholesale platform, you’re probably wondering, “How the heck do I get paid?” Each platform has a slightly different payout structure, so It can get a little confusing. But, here’s a breakdown that will help you weigh the pros and cons!
0% commission on direct orders, 25% commission new orders, 15% commission on reorders
Net30 payouts 0%, next-day payouts, 3% fee
Option 1 (lower commission) charges a commission rate of 15% for first-time orders and 8% thereafter per retailer with net 45 payment terms (from the date of product delivery).
Option 2 (faster payment) charges a commission rate of 25% for first-time orders and 15% thereafter per retailer with payment within 5 days of product delivery.
0% on direct orders
No commission, but you have heard you need to pay $3 a day minimum for promotions to get traction. Also they get sassy with your prices because they want you to be LOWER than other sites like Faire for example, but Faire wants you to have the same prices across the board, SO prepare to get micromanaged a bit. I think they require 55% lower than retail.
15% flat commission. But it’s dead over there.
Shopify’s version of wholesale. You need to have a Shopify store to be on it. Total crickets, and I’m not sure how to market it? Orders will come through like a normal Shopify order. Shipping is whack. No fees and no commission.
BUYERS AND EXPOSURE
When you’re selling from your own website, you obviously don’t have to pay any commission – woohoo! However, that doesn’t mean that selling exclusively from your own shop is necessarily the way to go. Of course when you’re selling from your own platform, you are missing out on the potential of new stockists finding you organically. You are in charge of driving all the traffic. Even with SEO in place, stockists might not find your wholesale site because your retail shop will pop up first, especially if it’s password protected!Getting exposed to new shops is a HUGE PERK of joining a wholesale marketplace.
Being on a wholesale marketplace can give you an advantage of offering buyers perks that you couldn’t easily offer on your own, like the Net 30 ordering, free shipping, free returns, etc.
You basically have all the nitty-gritty policy stuff worked out for you on a marketplace, so it’s easy to run things efficiently without having to follow up on net 30 payments, etc.
However, you don’t get as much control over these terms, so selling from your own site does allow you to make your own rules, policies, etc.
EASE OF USE
First of all, we all know making your own easy-to-use wholesale platform can be tricky and costly, even if you decide to host a separate site or use some sort of app to make it work. Typically, this has been a huge pain point in the industry, so most makers end up “duplicating” their site and creating a wholesale only one. Inventory counts can be harder to maintain with linking two separate sites, so that’s also something to consider in how you set it up. You’ll also need to set up minimum order quantitiesfor each SKU.
Option to set up a 50% coupon for buyers to shop directly on your site, but you’ll need to reiterate minimum order quantities. Sometimes a buyer will just email me an order and I create it in Shopify and send it to them. I have a few old-school buyers who like to do it this way!
Wholesale platforms have all these tools built in, so it’s super easy to get set up right away, and a lot of times they will even have onboarding services (although you still need to go through and perfect things.)
It can be more difficult to maintain buyer relationships within marketplaces because it’s not as direct. But this is where your customer experience can really shine so you stand out. Little things like throwing in an extra card, writing a note on the packing slip, sending follow-up emails, asking them if they’d like to be on your email list, following and engaging on social media can go a long way!
If they’re ordering from you directly, you can set up a branded experience for them. It’s just like someone ordering from you on Etsy vs. your own site.
This is something you might want to consider if you want control over where your items end up. Faire does allow free returns, with the exception of holiday items, so stores can order risk free, and return if something doesn’t sell. The items don’t go back to YOU, however, they end up on the sale section of Faire, so another store will snatch them up. You don’t have any idea who this buyer is or any control on your part for that. BUT it’s a perk for the buyer.
On your own site, you would be able to set up policies for returns and not have your products floating around in space basically.
CAMI’S ACTION PLAN
My strategy? I like a mix of both passive and active selling, meaning I will let these marketplaces do the work for me, but I’m always working to fill the gaps and make the most of it by doing my own outreach, follow-up and marketing. I do offer stores the option to order from me directly, but it is SO EASY for them to order from Faire, and if they use my direct link, it’s 0% commission so the same as ordering from me. I also know that more orders can help boost my shop on Faire, so this is a win-win for me. My secret trick is to email a million stores because if you can prove you’ve contacted the store, Faire will remove the commission. I’ve done that A LOT.