Differences between small and large wholesalers (advantages and disadvantages)

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The differences between small and large wholesalers are revealed in many aspects of their business. They concern both the manner and the range of services directed at customers. In this article, we will try to present the most important differences between small and large wholesalers, as well as inform you about the similarities between them. Working with wholesalers touches on many important aspects in the context of the operation of online shops. The most important of these are:

1. Assortment

Large wholesalers have a larger and often more varied assortment than small wholesalers. This is certainly an advantage for the online shop owner, who in this situation has a greater sense of security regarding the availability of a large quantity of a given (often popular) assortment. Often, the goods in question sell out very quickly – their presence in large quantities is a guarantee of customer satisfaction for the online shop. The e-shop should find out early on (when planning cooperation with the respective wholesaler) which quantities the wholesaler has. It is then necessary to check the following points:

  • quantities of goods
  • the number of pieces of a particular model (e.g. for clothing)
  • the number of variants of the product in question
  • number of colour variants

Small wholesalers, on the other hand, can turn a smaller number of products into an asset of sorts: a common practice among such wholesalers is to look for a “product niche”. – they offer rare, original products that are different from products of a certain type on the market. These may be unique products, made by local suppliers, or products known on the market, but imported, for example from abroad, which have no equivalent on the market where the online shop operates.

2. Possibility of importing and updating stock levels (xml, csv files, automatic integrator)

When it comes to this aspect of online shops – there are often no differences between small and large wholesalers. Automatic integrations are based on xml/csv files. Their good technical quality is taken care of by both large and small wholesalers – it depends on the wholesaler’s approach to taking care of these kinds of files and thus on the wholesaler’s approach to developing their business on the online market. Of course, among both large and small wholesalers there are some – who do not have the necessary files for integration or have them, but their technical quality is very poor. Automatic integrations are crucial for the smooth functioning of online shops. To make your task easier, you can use the offers of companies dealing with automatic integrations (e.g. Megamo.pl). Their advantages are:

  • updating of stocks every few minutes
  • possibility to exclude products that have not sold
  • the possibility of narrowing the database of products to be added to the shop
  • assignment of price rules, e.g. to categories
  • showing update history
  • 24-hour operation
  • automatic removal of unwanted elements (not in all integrators)

3. Ordering system

In this case, the differences between small and large wholesalers become more apparent than in the case of automated integrations. Larger wholesalers generally have more resources to use complex, (often individual) ordering systems that are adapted to handle large business. These systems generally work very effectively and have a wide variety of order-related functions – such as integrations with couriers, integrations with a variety of payment systems, tracking shipments, observing order statuses, etc. Below is information on what should be important for an online shop when it comes to a wholesaler ordering system.

  • speed of operation
  • logical, coherent interface
  • adaptation to the dropshipping model (e.g. space for entering the address of the customer to whom the wholesaler is to send the goods, possibility of entering the consignment note number when you have your own courier)
  • various shipping options in terms of categories and prices
  • ability to quickly search for products by code or product name
  • the payment system (if a wholesaler only accepts traditional bank transfers, we should consider whether to do business with them. Time is of the essence when dealing with a multitude of orders, and limiting payment options lengthens the process)

Small wholesalers can also have efficient and effective ordering systems – while they rarely use the sophisticated individual solutions offered by IT companies.

4. Contact with the wholesaler

The quality of contact with a wholesaler has little to do with the size of the wholesaler. The issue mainly depends on the quality of management in the company. Both small and large wholesalers should have designated people trained to contact customers (webshop owners). Large wholesalers may find it easier here insofar as they employ more people who can deal with customers more comprehensively.

Why is it important to contact a wholesaler?

It is especially important at a more advanced stage of cooperation: e.g. for updating XML/CSV files, for questions about the order process, the product range, possible shipping difficulties, etc. Please remember to get the contact person at the very beginning of the cooperation.

5. Returns

In the case of returns, it is also difficult to point to differences in the context of the size of the wholesaler. The cooperation of an online shop with a wholesaler is a B2B cooperation. Therefore, returns – caused, for example, by damaged, defective or incorrect goods – are applicable. However, the provisions on so-called consumer returns indicated in the Consumer Rights Act of 30 May 2014 do not apply. Wholesalers therefore generally do not accept so-called returns from shops without a reason. Some wholesalers have an individual policy on this issue.

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