August 30, 2023

10 tips for getting the most out of your wholesaler relationships

Vividly Team
CPG Education

Managing a successful relationship with your wholesaler is critical to your brand’s growth and success.

Here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your wholesaler relationships:

1. Monitor Product Movement

Ensure that they are not forward buying when running an OI by regularly reviewing all available reports.

Example reports you should be running from your TPM:

  • Pull your wholesaler trade calendar to see the exact timing of promotional OIs and be sure to let your demand planning team know. 
  • Stay in communication with your customer service team for alerts in higher-than-normal POs

2. Launch New Products Successfully

Communication is key when launching a new product. Make sure to share all product details, including timing, pricing, category fit, and product details, with your wholesaler. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate as you’re better off sharing all details upfront. 

3. Strategic Promotional Calendar

Plan a strategic promotional schedule/calendar to make the most of your promotional spend. Consider transitioning from an OI to an MCB to maximize your trade spend. Off Invoice promotions are a fixed % or $ discount shown on the incoming purchase order (PO). They can be great for simplicity and drive volume, but difficult to measure ROI and effectiveness. MCBs are a type of trade where the retailer buys your product at a discounted price during a buy-window and then hopefully the retailer passes along the discount to the consumer during a predetermined promotional period. MCBs are also deducted off a future payment, which make them a much smarter way to spend your trade dollars.

Changing promotional calendars can be tricky, but by exploring more creative ways to spend (while not decreasing your trade) it’s beneficial for both you and the wholesaler. Sometimes however, OIs are the way to go when trying to maximize new distribution and gain traction on new items. 

4. Avoid Spoilage

Monitor your inventory regularly and react promptly to avoid spoilage by reviewing all available reports.

5. Product Knowledge

Educate your wholesaler representatives on your product to help them sell it effectively to their various accounts. This can be done with self-serve tools such as recorded videos, through hosted webinars, or in-person regional training.

6. Warehouse Volume Requirements

Consider which warehouses are most suitable for gaining new distribution and make sure you meet the volume requirements for each warehouse.

7. Excess Inventory

Identify and react to excess inventory promptly to ensure it is moved before spoilage. Consider running promotions to move inventory quickly, but be mindful of the cost.

8. Ordering Patterns

Save on freight costs by shipping in full truckloads and avoid going LTL routes.

9. Attend Trade Shows

Attend their biannual or annual trade shows to see what their KPIs are and understand your competition.

  • While you’re at it, use the time to further strengthen your relationship with your wholesaler.
  • Use the time to show them you care about their success just as much as yours.
  • Remember, you’re in it together! 

10. Maximize the Partnership

Foster a strong relationship with your direct partner by maximizing the partnership and keeping your product top of mind.

  • Are you providing them with enough training as outlined above?
  • Are your best partners getting the best promotions?
  • What key learnings can you glean from your partnership?

In conclusion, maintaining a strong wholesaler relationship is essential for your brand’s growth and success. By implementing these tips, you can ensure that your product is effectively distributed, your promotions are well-planned, and your inventory is managed efficiently.

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