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What Does Wholesale-Only Mean, and When Should Your Business Use It?

3 minutes read
What does wholesale only mean?

If you’re wondering what it means to be a wholesale-only seller, this is the article for you. By the end, you should have an idea of whether you can or should move to this business-to-business model.

The good news is that wholesale on Shopify can work well — with a little help from some apps to make administrative tasks more efficient.

What Does Wholesale-Only Mean?

What does wholesale-only mean?

“Wholesale only” is a term you use to indicate you only sell large quantities of an item. You typically say this to indicate that you’re running a business-to-business (B2B) operation.

Wholesale comes with certain expectations, although you’re more than welcome to run your business any way you choose. Some common hallmarks of B2B selling include:

  • Large minimum order sizes, such as cases or pallets versus single units
  • Quote-based prices for custom, extra-large orders
  • Regular relationships with other businesses

The general idea is to provide the services and qualities that other businesses need. When procurement professionals or business owners see “wholesale only,” they expect things like technical specifications, reliable supply, bulk discounts, and a basic understanding of retail business requirements.

When Should Your Business Use a Wholesale-Only Strategy?

You might start wholesaling when you find a great deal on a large quantity of units of merchandise. Alternatively, you might find that you can add value to a manufacturer’s product somehow, such as by storing it closer to customers, sheltering it from damage, or breaking it down into more manageable quantities for other businesses.

You could gain some advantages from this approach, such as a more predictable revenue stream. However, in order to keep your inventory moving and your business profitable, you have to spend your limited time pursuing the largest orders you can manage.

Most individual shoppers do not need to buy in bulk, and, as a wholesaler, handling the sale of a single item might take you almost as long as handling the sale of thousands. That’s why you would want to focus on businesses and other entities that can afford to make large purchases.

Where Do You Start With Bulk Discounting and Wholesale Pricing?

What is wholesale-only and when should you use it?

Once you decide that you need to start moving to wholesale pricing, even if it’s only for a limited number of items in your inventory, you need a pricing policy. The classic example is a tiered wholesale price in which the discount increases as the buyer increases the size of the order.

For example, you might be a fashion wholesaler with the goal of selling white T-shirts to a range of different types and sizes of retail, institutional, and trade clients: small print shops, sports goods stores, regional sports leagues, and so on. In this situation, you might set a minimum order size of 15 units, increasing the discount off of the suggested retail price as the order size increases.

Shopify and many other storefronts do not make this easy. However, there are apps that allow you to easily build policies and apply them to different items in your store.

Start Selling Wholesale Today on Shopify

Now that you know what it means to be a wholesale-only seller, are you ready to try it out for yourself? Remember: You don’t have to completely exclude your retail customers if you aren’t ready. Simply add wholesale capability with our versatile pricing apps today.

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