Archive for November, 2010

Qualifying Potential Wholesale Suppliers

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Qualifying Potential Wholesale Suppliers

Finding a reputable wholesale liquidator to work with can be a daunting task; there are hundreds of companies out there advertising all kinds of products but you may have heard a story or two that makes you leery of working with such companies.

There are steps you can take to qualify the liquidation companies you find to determine if they are a good company to source from.

1. Do your research. Don’t be fooled by a beautiful website with lots of pretty colors but no substance.  Dig deep and get to the core of what the company is about and find out about the reputation they have in the industry.

How long have they been in business?
Do they provide a company profile or history on their website?
Are they members of the Better Business Bureau and what rating do they have?

Once you find a supplier that looks attractive to you either for the products or service they offer, Google the company name and see what comes up.

Do you find helpful resources and information about the company?
Or do you find a particularly high number of complaints and scam reports about them?

Take the time to do your reading. Keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to satisfy 100% of customers so if you do come across one or two poor reviews, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Look at the other factors like the company’s growth, the information or resources they provide on their website, what people say about them on forums and blogs, and whether they are listed with the major wholesale search engines like www.toptenwholesale.com and www.wholesalecentral.com

2.    Buy from the source. In the liquidation industry, brokering merchandise is very common. Companies set up websites to sell other larger companies’ products. This results in many companies listing the exact same lots in several places on the Internet. While it is okay to purchase from brokers, it’s better to go straight to the source.

How do you know if the company you are looking at is a broker?

Brokers generally do not have their own warehouses or spaces. They do not own, see or touch the merchandise they sell. It gets drop-shipped straight from the supplier to the end reseller.

Does the company provide actual photographs or videos of their warehouse and operations?
Do they list a phone number, email address and physical address?

If you see a physical address on their site, Google it and use the “satellite” function to zoom in on the location.

Does it look like an apartment building or a residence?
Or does it look like a warehouse space?

If they do not list an address at all, consider that they might be “online only,” and thus not in possession of the merchandise they are selling. This makes it difficult for them to accurately describe it to you and difficult for you to make sure the goods will be right for your business.

3.   What kind of service do they provide? Read their website and look for an invitation to contact them.

Do they have contact forms? A phone number and email address listed?
Do they encourage prospective buyers to contact them before buying?
Do they provide many customer testimonials on their website?

Whenever possible, make contact with the company before you place an order. Make sure there are real people behind it so that you have someone to turn to if there is ever any kind of problem with an order you place.  Customer service should be a priority for any supplier you work with.

4.    Take note of their accepted payment methods. Most reliable, reputable suppliers will make it as easy as possible for their customers to purchase: they will make multiple payment methods available to you like credit card, paypal, wire transfer, money orders, etc.
Be wary of suppliers who require payment by wire transfer in 100% of cases. Paying for your purchases by Credit Card or Paypal gives you recourse in case a supplier does not deliver the merchandise. When you do wire money, make sure you’ve established a trusting relationship with a company as some dishonest suppliers may cash in on your wire and never deliver the goods. Although this is fairly rare, it does happen. Paying by Credit Card or Paypal (even though it occasionally means paying a 3-5% service charge), may avoid headaches in the future. Note that some companies only accept wire transfers for large amounts until a relationship of trust is established with their customers – this goes both ways. Do be flexible, but be vigilant as well. Do your research and know where your money is going.


5.    Whenever possible, try to visit your suppliers. Seeing their physical operation and meeting them in person can enhance your understanding of the product and can enhance your working relationship with the account managers you deal with regularly. Many companies exhibit at liquidation and wholesale industry trade shows. If you can’t visit them at their locations, consider attending an industry trade show. Not only will you get to meet your suppliers face to face, but you’ll be in a room with thousands of other companies and may very well find additional suppliers while you’re there.

6.    Be realistic in your expectations. Many people who start out in the business of buying merchandise for the purpose of reselling it expect to at least double their money on every lot they purchase. This is simply unrealistic when dealing with liquidated goods. While it CAN happen, there is a learning curve and you need to allow for a little margin of error. When you find a supplier you’ll be working with for the first time, start small, test the waters and build your way up.

Tips for Selling Merchandise Online

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Tips for Selling Merchandise Online

  • Take advantage of 3rd party websites like Amazon.com or eBay. They have a loyal customer base, lots of website traffic, built-in payment methods, seller and buyer protection plans and more. If you’re just starting out, considering selling on one of those sites until you build some credibility and branch out into your own stand-alone website.

  • Source from lots of suppliers. Even if you find 2 or 3 that you particularly enjoy working with, it doesn’t hurt to have a good contact book of wholesale suppliers you could potentially work with. If one is out of stock on the product line you carry, be sure you can source this product from somewhere else so you don’t have a service interruption for your customers and so you don’t have to scramble to find new product.
  • Research your market. Check out what other items like the ones you are listing are selling for and try to find a competitive edge. If you can lower your item by a few dollars or offer free shipping, you will make yourself stand out and drive the customers to your store instead of someone else’s. Don’t just base your selling price on your purchase price. See what others are doing and do better.
  • Don’t be afraid to buy larger lots and liquidate. Many online sellers are afraid to get their hands on larger loads of merchandise for fear of the space it will take up, the time it will take to sort through it all and what to do with any unwanted items. There are tons of liquidation services available out there to move unwanted inventory, and the money you will save overall by purchasing larger lots at a time will put you ahead of the game.
  • Make sure your service is impeccable. There are hundreds of sellers on the internet carrying very similar products at very similar prices. If you prices are good but your service doesn’t follow, customers may be inclined to go to your competition who might charge a little more but provides better service, faster shipping times, etc. Make sure you answer customer inquiries quickly, get orders out the door fast and keep an open line of communication with your buyers.

November 2010 Customer of the Month! Brent Dill of GreatBuy.com!

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

NOVEMBER 2010 CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH

Brent Dill of GreatBuy.com

In an increasingly global marketplace, online sales have long become the way to go for many retailers.
Brent Dill of GreatBuy.com has been in the merchandise resale business since 1984. Before the days of the Internet, he had launched his business with the now old-school model of mail order catalog sales and quickly expanded to a retail storefront once his sales grew fruitful enough.Several years into his retail store business, Dill was met with a new challenge: acquiring new customers and growing his business. Mail order catalogs were slowly going out of style and, being set up in a small town, his retail store did not have the foot traffic necessary to bring him the profits he desired.

“Our retail store did okay, but due to the small population here, it made sense for us to look for ways to expand our reach,” Dill explains. GreatBuy.com began selling online in conjunction with their retail store and eventually moved fully to online sales where they currently do all of their business. “We sell primarily through 3rd party websites – namely eBay and Amazon.com. This allows us to move our product without spending money on advertising, since these websites do their own publicity,” says Dill. Indeed, launching a website can be a daunting task and getting it to rank high in internet searches without the proper optimization can require a business owner to spend a hefty sum on pay per click and banner advertising to get the word out.

Utilizing 3rd party websites allows sellers to get a lot of exposure for their products spending money only on the listing and selling fees, and simultaneously benefiting from the credibility and loyal customer base that these 3rd parties have.  “Selling on eBay and Amazon eliminates the need for you to prove to customers that you’re a legitimate business,” says Dill. “Since they have such a large customer base and buyer protection plans in place, there is a lot less hesitation on the part of the buyer to bid on or buy your items.” This presents a great opportunity for new sellers especially, who do not yet have the credibility in place to launch a full-fledged website of their own.

GreatBuy.com currently sources their products from 10 to 15 different wholesale suppliers. Dill explains that he prefers to work with multiple suppliers rather than just one or two. “Since the liquidation industry is so fickle in terms of what products are available at any given time, you need to make sure you have enough sources. If one vendor is sold out of something you need, you’d better have another place to go get it or your sales will suffer.”

That said, it’s important to not work with just anyone. The liquidation business is rampant with brokers brokering other brokers’ merchandise and with companies just out to make a dollar without consideration for the customer’s real needs. “I always look for price, selection, quality and service when trying to determine what supplier to work with,” expresses Dill. “It’s important to feel that a supplier wants you business and wants you to succeed. That’s smart thinking and we prefer smart suppliers who like us, are in it for the long haul.” It’s easy to make a one-shot deal in this industry, but it does not often contribute to a long and successful business.

GreatBuy.com has been working with Via Trading for the last 6 years, purchasing a variety of merchandise including electronics, general merchandise and tools. “Electronics have become our best niche,” says Dill. “Customers can’t resist a great deal on an electronic item that they would pay top dollar for at regular retail.”

When asked about how he differentiates himself from his vast online competition, Dill replies that “it’s all about the price. We try to be lower than other sellers for the same item. The cheapest price always sells.” This might translate into a lower profit margin on any single item, but it allows the company to sell more volume, which is ultimately more profitable than selling fewer items at a higher price per piece.
“We try to provide the best price and the best service so that customers come back, purchase again and send their friends.”

Just like the success of their business is built on volume sales at a lower profit margin, their purchasing process is very similar. “We typically buy loads at a time instead of individual pallets. It works out cheaper overall, though we do occasionally come across a single pallet that is too good to pass up in which case we’ll pick that up as well.”

Purchasing full loads at a time however, can be difficult to manage. While you can purchase loads by category, often times there will be items inside the loads that simply don’t fit a niche market or the exact categories a seller deals with. Furthermore, storage spaces can quickly become filled with items that are unsellable, missing parts or too inexpensive to sell online. While some Internet sellers shy away from buying full loads for this exact reason (they don’t wan to be “stuck” with a surplus of product), Brent Dill uses a different tactic. “I pull out the items that fit my market, and anything that doesn’t fit my niche or isn’t going to get me a good ROI, I resell at Via Trading on consignment.”

Wholesalers like Via Trading make liquidation services available to their customers and other sellers to move slow-moving or unwanted inventory. Instead of sitting on problem merchandise indefinitely, wholesaling it through the original vendor or through an auction or liquidation service is an easy way to free up space and capital for the next load that comes in.

Over the years as their business has grown, GreatBuy.com has found that the biggest challenge they face on a regular basis is sourcing products that will sell at the right price. There is a consistent need to shop around and look for the best deals in order to remain competitive and true to their business model.
“I’ve found that aside from great pricing on my merchandise, the one thing that pays off exponentially is treating customers and staff very well. If people feel valued, appreciated and respected, they work more efficiently and buy more loyally– which translates into a better bottom line for the company.”

Brent Dill is currently selling on Amazon and eBay.


Visit his website at
http://www.greatbuy.com for great deals on electronics, tools and more.

All payment methods accepted. In-person pickup available from the Central Coast of California.


Via Trading News, Articles and Literature!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

check out our new articles page! Read press articles, news write-ups, resources and other Via Trading information! http://www.viatrading.com/category.jhtm?cid=602