Please Sell My Products! How to Be the Perfect Supplier and Attract Quality Re-Sellers

Many, many thanks to Fairy Godmother Erika Wilde of StopDirt.com for sharing her magical wisdom yet again! Enjoy her 10 secrets to being a perfect supplier!!

erika2.JPGAs an internet reseller for eight different suppliers, I’ve had my share of good and bad experiences with suppliers. I am approached almost weekly by people who want me to sell their products on my websites. I turn many suppliers down because they did not have enough of the perfect supplier qualities.  If you are looking for resellers to sell a product that you produce, follow these ten tips to become the perfect supplier.

1. Drop Ship. You save your resellers time and money by drop shipping your product directly to their customers. Most resellers are willing to pay a nominal drop ship charge, usually $2-$5 per item. By drop shipping your product, you allow the reseller to enjoy ultimate cash flow by receiving payment from her customers before purchasing the item.

2. Offer Branding. Put your reseller’s contact information on the product. Can you offer a custom tag or sticker on the product? This leads to repeat business for your reseller.

3. Ship Blind. Do not include your contact information or the purchase price. Instead, make sure all the contact information will point customers to your reseller, not you.

4. Allow Resellers to Pay You By Credit Card. This saves accounting time and lets the reseller earn miles or rewards.

5. Ship Quickly. Make sure your product gets out the door within a couple of days. Slow shipments are the kiss of death for resellers. Immediately inform resellers about backorders or delays.

6. Ship Correctly. Send the right product to the right person.

7. Provide Internet-Ready Images. Resellers will be much more likely to add your products to their website if the reseller does not have to take her own pictures. Provide as many quality images as you possibly can.

8. Load ‘Em Up with Info. FAQ’s, tech or ingredients lists. Detailed product descriptions. Provide as much information as possible in a cut-and-paste format that makes for easy uploading to a website. Remember, your reseller needs to be able to answer all customer questions and she needs to know everything about your product. Make yourself available to answer questions and provide product updates.

9. Send Samples. It is hard for a reseller to sell something that she hasn’t actually seen. If your product is too expensive to send out for free, you can request that the products are returned to you after the reseller checks them out.

10. Don’t Compete. If you plan to sell the product yourself also, sell it at full retail so you aren’t undercutting your reseller’s profit. Feel free to set at MAP price (minimum advertised price) to protect your brand image, but make it low enough for reseller promotions and profit.

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35 Responses to “Please Sell My Products! How to Be the Perfect Supplier and Attract Quality Re-Sellers”

  1. Sarah Jane on December 19th, 2007 11:45 am

    this is great! Just what I needed to hear this week. I am starting to sell my art to ‘resellers’ so thanks! I can’t wait to start implementing!

  2. Marina Westerdahl on December 19th, 2007 12:06 pm

    HI Erika,
    those are very good tips, I would say that shipping on time is very important. As a reseller, I appreciate great pictures of products that help the product sell well, fast shipping, and prompt updates on inventory. I also appreciate reasonable shipping charges, product press clips, and being listed on their website as a fellow vendor of their product. Thanks for your article. :)

  3. Jamie Bird on December 21st, 2007 10:32 pm

    Thanks for the great article! Great shipping prices, quick shipping, and photos I do not have to edit are so important to me. Like Marina said, product inventory updates and good communication skills are also a must! There is nothing worse than receiving an order…only to find out it was out of stock three weeks ago.

    I also wondered about the free sample issue. I would love suggestions as I obviously can see both sides. As a seller, it is important to know the product fully and actually feel it in person. However as a manufacturer, sending out free samples to EVERY store/online site that requests them is not an option. Is there an alternative to this?

  4. Erika Wilde on December 28th, 2007 1:02 pm

    Jamie, I agree that it is definately a dilemma on how best to provide samples for resellers. I have several mat suppliers who provide free samples endlessly — both to my customers and me. It’s fantastic. But on the other hand, my RaceDeck garage floor supplier charged me $40 for a reseller “start up” kit. I was happy to pay the $40 at the time because the kit had $100 worth of products in it, as well as videos, t-shirts and promo literature.

    I think as a supplier you really need to judge how much it actually costs you to provide the samples. If it is a minimal investment, offer it for free.

    But if offering samples to everyone is just too costly, remember that a serious reseller will be willing to pay. Especially if you can make the samples appear more valuable.

    Also, brain storm how you can “miniaturize” your product and send out a tiny sample version of it… or a small piece of the product… or color swatch only.

  5. Jamie Bird on December 28th, 2007 10:00 pm

    Thanks for that information! I currently send out samples of the materials I use along with all pertinent info, just not a full sample. With the amount of wholesale requests I receive, right now it is not possible to send out to all that request. That really is my fault- I probably should restructure and raise minimum orders and then it would not be such a stretch. I feel like that is such a fine line, too, because I personally hate really high minimums. It limits how much I can carry.

    It would be great to find some sort of balance. I am going to brainstorm a start up kit- that is fantastic. Thank you again–I apreciate it!

  6. Heather from Mom 4 Life on February 6th, 2008 8:28 am

    Great info. I plan to link to this from a page on my website that moms visit to find out how to get their product on Mom 4 Life. Also, to chime in on what Jamie Bird was asking. I give companies the option of sending their product with a pre paid return envelope if they would prefer to get their sample back rather than having me keep it.

  7. Heather from Mom 4 Life on February 6th, 2008 8:38 am

    I thought of something else I might add into your point #2: Add your retailers info (address, website, etc) to your website under a “where to buy” or “stores” link. It provides extra sales, an inbound link to their site and shows them that you really support them selling your product.

    I will also add to #10 that it really says a lot to your retailers if you don’t sell your product via retail on your website. I know that a ton of people do it but it does in fact put you in a position where you are a competitor to your retailers and this is not the best way to support them in my opinion.

  8. Joanne Galliher on March 24th, 2008 11:23 am

    I want to sell a product I developed. It is a DVD program accompanying textbook that helps non-native English speakers improve their English speaking clarity. It’s ready to sell – meaning it is already in DVD form, with nice label and in an attractive box. If you go to
    http://www.barrierbreakers.info you can find out about it. It’s called SILC – Saying It Loud & Clear. I am wondering if I can just sell the Rights to it outright to someone who wants to market it. My email address is
    joey@qldnet.com.au

  9. Olivia Zarnack on May 3rd, 2008 5:13 pm

    Hello

    Our business hand makes Eco-Friendly therapy products & gifts in Williamstown NJ, which are herbal therapy wraps, called CozyComfy’s, treat Arthritis, Migraines, stress, Insomnia & rejuvenate, & are microwaveable or freeze.

    We also make DeadSea Salt Bath Teas with Camomile & Lavender, naturally therapeutic.

    Feedback from our customers, who buy online or at festivals, is 98% positive, but in our 3rd year we are still not where we want to be in growth & revenue.

    I would like to make contact with several health food shops, hospital gift shops, & natural food markets, to introduce my product & give samples & get a contract to sell my products.

    I don’t feel cold calling is productive, & want to instead send an introductory letter with a sample of my product.

    Finding an Angel Investor or getting a grant to open a shop, is very frustrating since there are thousands on the internet & we do not know who is trustwothy or reputable.

    I feel certain once I open my shop, it will be successful, since there are no other natural therapy product shops in our area. I already have the location picked out which is high traffic & would bring customers daily.

    I would appreciate any advice you would be able to give.

    Thank you & looking forward to hearing from you.

  10. Erika Wilde on May 5th, 2008 9:15 am

    Olivia,
    I like your idea of sending out a sample with an intro letter to your potential resellers. I would recommend following up each sample with a personal phone call and/or email. Track the samples so you know what day they will arrive, then follow up the same day or next day. I think you’ll find that is a much easier way to get a re-seller interested in your product than just a cold call.

    Remember when you follow up in person to be sure to tell the reseller on how easy you can make it for her to sell your product. You can’t ONLY present your product. You need to present YOURSELF as reliable. While the reseller wants a quality product, she also needs to know that she can trust you to provide many of those “top ten” things listed in my article so she can make money and not waste her time.

    Best of luck in business!

  11. kim moore on May 28th, 2008 12:38 am

    Hello, i have read the article and read all the comments but, i have one question is there a company out there that that takes your product and puts in there product portfolio and resells it to anyone they want, for example a giant general resale company or maybe a professional buying group, or maybe a reselling firm.
    thank You,e

  12. damonte on June 24th, 2008 4:13 pm

    hi erika, I would like to know what do i need to do to get my product on your website

  13. Heather Allard on August 10th, 2008 3:41 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    As someone who has sold my products (Swaddleaze & Blankeaze) to wholesalers, I’d have to disagree with #1 on here.

    While drop shipping may save resellers time & money, it can cost YOU quite a bit of time and money. If you’re an established, profitable company, then it might be ok to drop ship, especially if you’re drop shipping for a company that does a huge amount of business. But if you’re like most mom entrepreneurs just starting out, YOU might be the one looking to save time and money, and have ultimate cash flow.

    If you are trying to build your brand and your product sales, it just makes more sense, in my experience, to require minimum orders for all resellers–that way, they purchase a certain number of items, stock your product at their facility and ship it themselves. Then, you don’t have to worry about “shipping blind” or putting the resellers contact information on your product.

    I agree with Heather Ledeboer about placing a “Where to Buy” page on your website. That’s a great way to get your product AND your resellers noticed.

    As far as samples go, you could send them free, send them for a small charge, send them with a prepaid return shipping label…OR hire independent sales reps and load them up with samples to show prospective resellers. :)

    Good luck!!
    Heather Allard
    The Mogul Mom

  14. Deborah Rossiter on August 11th, 2008 10:08 pm

    Please take a look at my site. This is a non profit organization. The site is not complete as we are still looking for products. Our intention is to have several icons on the product page that will go directly to the merchant. We are considering how this would work. Please email me so we can discuss this.

    Thank you
    Deborah

  15. startupprincess on August 13th, 2008 8:09 am

    Hello Deborah,
    Thanks for the comment and inquiry, you might contact some other charities who have done this successfully and ask them what has worked for them. There’s companies like Doba who offer drop shipping. Here’s an interview by Janet Meineres and Erika Wilde that tells more about how to be a dropshipper. http://startupprincess.com/wordpress/how-to-find-a-drop-shipper-for-your-online-store/

  16. ken Duncan on September 4th, 2008 3:58 am

    I have a 100,000 ready to sell, I can have Another 100,000 made up in two weeks times. If interested reply to this email. Thanks…..Ken Duncan

  17. Onista Admin on October 13th, 2008 10:58 pm

    I would like to introduce you to innovative and fun marketplace called Onista .

    There are NO listing fees on Onista and sellers can also receive sales leads (of specific defined product categories) if desired.

    Here is quick summary of Onista Features,

    1. Free listings for sellers
    2. Sellers get open access to qualified sales leads and targeted product placements
    3. Auction-less format
    4. Instant Real-time price negotiation resulting in Instant Gratification for consumer
    5. Buyers can buy products without searching and hunting for products using Request for Quotes and Price Quotes model like Alibaba.com
    6. Support for multiple payment systems (Paypal, Amazon, Money Order, check… etc..)
    7. A Social Network to build trading communities and mitigate the propensity for fraud

    Please let us know if there is anyway we can help to get your products listed.

    Look forward to see you on Onista,

  18. Yahgie on November 20th, 2008 4:53 pm

    I make handmade jewelry and design graphic tee and I am looking for sites that I can sell my products does anyone know of any good sites besides amazon, eBay, overstock which are not friendly to the little guys that are just starting out.
    thanks

  19. santie victor on December 7th, 2008 9:11 pm

    Hi Erika, I would like to know what must I do to sell my products on your site. Or can you sell it for me. Please let me know. My product is a very popu;ar product for the back to school projects. Pencil bags ,pvc aprons and bean bags. I do not have a website

  20. Alex on December 29th, 2008 10:22 pm

    Hi, there. My name is Alex, and i would like to open a small business,
    selling products, I have this small idea selling Medical supplies, like
    Blood Pressure hosess, and i also can pre-cut different kind of tubing,hoses,
    different length for any need to any body. Do you think you can help me sell my products, if so. How much are you charging for this service.
    Please email me with info. Thank you.

  21. w. Ford on March 17th, 2009 8:44 am

    I ‘m against drop shipping…you just gave away your customer to your supplyer..manufacture. Now your customer is added to there list and what is to stop them from selling direct and by pass your company.

  22. TIFFANY WILLIAMS on October 12th, 2009 1:59 pm

    I HAVE A WONDERFULL CAR ORGANIZATION PRODUCT. I AM REALLY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO MARKET OR SELL THE PRODUCT PROPERLY. I WOULD BE WILLING TO PAY FOR A SERVICE OR PARTNER WITH A PERSON/COMPANY TO GET THIS PRODUCT OUT THERE. PLEASE HELP ME WITH AN INFORMATION YOU CAN PROVIDE TO HELP THIS PRODUCT GET ON THE SHELF.

  23. yvette campana on October 28th, 2009 1:34 pm

    Have created a timely product that if exposed to the public will become a hot seller. It is an impulse item. It has not be marketed and I would like to offer it to a company or companies who are currently selling to the public from their websites.

    Can you please advise me on how I should proceed. I once had my own Company and sold products to the major chain stores. I am not prepared to do that again. This is truly a fabulous product that will sell.

    I do not presently have a website.

    Thank you.

    Yvette

  24. canvas prints on November 23rd, 2009 2:33 pm

    thats a great article and some great pointers there, now for the real hard work to find someone to sell my products LOL!

  25. Edward Nolan on December 4th, 2009 5:03 pm

    This is a great thread. I just wanted to introduce myself and let everyone know that i developed a website that allows ANYONE to sell products and the sales go directly to YOU. I simply provide the venue for everyone to SELL ITEMS.

    Here’s what I am currently doing to help create an income for myself. I know of 3 thrift stores within 3 blocks of my house so I went in and introduced myself asking if I can take pictures of some products to put on my site. I told them I needed content and the site was very new, and they all 3 said YES. They simply let me put a markup on the products and I have the sales go directly to me via a paypal buy now button i created for each product I put up. Once I make a sale I remove the ad from the website and go make the purchase from the thrift store owner and either they or I ship it.

    You can do this too. If you dont have products or a website and want to start your own business, then I recommend duplicating what I am doing. You go make friends with the thrift stores, take pictures, and then follow the directions on my site ShadowInventory.com to get them listed. IT”S 100% FREE.

    I hope this answers or help you in your personal quest of working for yourself.

  26. Grace natalie on January 8th, 2010 12:11 am

    maybe all of you can try this tools:
    http://marketplace.flazzup.com
    to sell your products to many countries..

  27. Anthony on March 16th, 2010 2:28 pm

    A Great site to sell your jewelry and other products

  28. Clifford James on May 12th, 2010 5:53 pm

    I have a wonderful product that is helping many people in my area. The company is just about a year old. How can I duplicate and share my product.

    Kindest Regards

    Clifford James

  29. Dominick Testa on June 25th, 2010 3:16 am

    I have a great product, that was the idea of my 11 yr. old can you help me

  30. Dawn on November 30th, 2010 7:20 am

    What is your take on Dealer Agreements? Are they an absolute necessity? I sell both wholesale and retail and I just received a request from an online dealer who wants to sell with drop ship terms.
    I appreciate any help.
    Thank you in advance

  31. judy on January 20th, 2011 1:28 pm

    I am a gluten-free manufacturer and am trying to sell to retail stores. I am currently in three health food stores but am looking to expand. Does anyone have any direct suggestions? I read over the article’s pointers, but still am ending up sending “sample packs” to companies without any specific direction. Any assistence would be greatly appreciated. It seems everyone wants free items or for me to pay, but I am to small. Thank you.

  32. hazel leslie on March 25th, 2011 12:58 pm

    Thank you for the information that you have given on the email.Well I am a new Business Woman I need all the help I need to get my Product into the chain stores where my Customers shop alot they said.Can you help me if you can please send me an email .Thanks .Hazel

  33. Tim on July 25th, 2011 1:26 pm

    If you want to sell to retailers like Macy’s, Target, and Kohls then go to Merchanthaus.com. Its a website dedicated to linking suppliers and buyers that was created by a buyer for a major retailer. You can post unlimited products for free and have buyers contact you directly. If you have questions then email me at Tim@merchanthaus.com.
    Thanks, Tim

  34. Adell Endres on October 23rd, 2011 1:36 pm

    Hello, I would like to find a drop shipper to sell their products(that have them in warehouse etc) i do not want a middleman where i pay fee’s that seems to be all i can find. I sell on ebay and could make a web site up if product was good and promote it. Thanks, Adell. PS i am a professor retiring in end of DEC 2011. I need income on internet. My husband and i have a few web site all going very slow. Our actual products are on http://www.ball-greeting.com and http://www.cheatthecherrymaster.com. (by the way anyone wanting to sell these two item tell me how and what you want. Regards, Adell

  35. Anna on January 13th, 2012 11:52 am

    Thanks for a very useful article!

    The problem I have had with drop shipping is that despite the fact that you are offering the buyer a very low minimum order (1!) and they therefore have low risk; they still seem to expect a higher than 60% markup on the product, which in my case is simply unsustainable, as each of my perfumes is bespoke and made by hand (www.designyourownperfume.co.uk). Maybe this is just my relative inexperience, but surely the supplier should get a better deal if they are offering to dropship?

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