Buying wholesale chocolate might seem like a simple idea, and it is! But there are a few things that you ought to know first.
Maybe you are curious because you are starting your own business. If you have decided to embark on this exciting adventure, congratulations! Life is about to get very complicated, very busy, and VERY rewarding.
Or maybe you already have a business, but you are looking for ways to reduce your spending. Or maybe your business is growing and you are thinking about expanding. If you are planning to scale up, wholesale purchasing is hugely important and the success of the transition could depend on it.
Whatever your reason, you probably have already figured out that spending less on things like merchandise, inventory and supplies is one key way to maximize your profits.
However, you’ve got to spend money to make money — you can’t just eliminate your expenses. So let’s get into it!
Let’s say you need to order chocolate, for example. Either to give / sell to your customers or to hand out to clients. Even chocolate wholesalers normally only sell larger quantities of products and supplies. In other words, you can’t just buy a few of this and a few of that — you need to buy things by the case or bundle. It might seem like a lot at first, but buying in bulk can reduce spending in the long-term.
If you are in the planning stages of opening a store or business, you will, of course,
need a business plan. A business plan will help you determine what you need now and
how to make moves towards achieving goals down the road.
Go on a field study
In order to maximize your profits, you will need to have a solid understanding of the market and your offering’s position within it to determine appropriate pricing. This formula will need constant tweaking, and is dependent upon factors such as the time of year, for example. Peak chocolate sales usually occur around Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas.
It’s a good idea to do your research by going on a field study and visiting other stores or similar businesses to see what products they carry and how much they have stocked on the shelf at any given time. Take a look at what is on sale (which usually means they need to move that product before a certain time or that they have excess in stock), and what seems to be moving the quickest. Sign up to receive blasts to see what is consistently on sale and what never goes on sale.
What to look for in a wholesaler
As you search for companies that offer products at wholesale prices, you might come across some companies that sell a range of the things you need. This is usually a good sign and someone you might want to consider doing business with – the more business you can do with one supplier will mean lower up front costs in general. Wholesalers often reward higher spends so if you can direct more business to one supplier at a time, the higher your savings will be.
Once you have an idea of how things are moving with your business, you can set up consistent delivery times, but of course, you will need to be constantly monitoring your inventory to see what you have and what you need.
In addition to merchandise, another thing you will need if you have a storefront or an office is supplies. This includes things like stationary, pens, office furniture (desks, lamps, etc.), toilet paper and cleaning supplies. If you know that you are going to use things in the future, and if you have the storage to keep extras, it makes good financial sense to order these things in bulk.
Large-scale wholesalers might offer everything from merchandise to supplies. These
companies generally have catalogues that you can look through to pick out the things
Think outside the box
If you are setting up a storefront or business like a restaurant and will need certain supplies just once (like ovens for a kitchen or desks for an office), a great place to go looking is at auctions. Here you might find great second hand supplies that have a lot of life left in them at really good prices. You can even find merchandise at some auctions too so keep your eyes and ears open for these opportunities.
Look for deals (with caution)
Some wholesalers are in the liquidation business and therefore their own supply and selection can vary from time to time. They will sell products from truckloads, pallets, manufacturer defects, damaged goods, close-outs and so on. While you might be able to get some very good deals from liquidators, they are often one-off opportunities. And do make sure you completely understand the condition, prices and terms of sale before you order because these usually come with a no return policy.
Choosing a vendor
You will need to find a wholesaler who aligns with your vision, one that is able to supply your needs and that you can build a relationship with. Look for good deals on merchandise and supplies, and choose a vendor who caters to the size of business you have, and one that can grow with you. If you need to start small because you are not sure how much is going to sell while you are still getting the word out, give your wholesaler a call and see if you can set up a plan with them.
Be careful to research your needs carefully, as you won’t want to over-order supplies or merchandise. Some things can be stored indefinitely, while others have a limited shelf-life.
Most wholesalers will require you to set up an account and place a minimum purchase. This is often possible from the start because in order to get the business going, you will need a lot of both merchandise and supplies.
On the other hand, starting a business is expensive and you will have to consider things like rent, staffing costs, licences and other administrative expenses, and so on. So perhaps buying in bulk off the bat might not be possible.
In conclusion: do your research, look for deals and get creative. And good luck!