Behind the Scenes: The Essential Jobs Wholesalers Do

Behind the Scenes_ The Essential Jobs Wholesalers Do

Various jobs worldwide, ranging from farmers and factory workers to teachers and doctors. But out of all of these, where would you put wholesale and retail workers? The wholesale and retail business make up 13.2% of all employment in the world, according to the International Labor Organization. To put it into perspective, there are over 420 million jobs worldwide.

So what exactly is wholesale, and what are the essential jobs wholesalers do that make it such an important job? That is precisely what we are here to figure out. In this article, I will talk about what wholesalers do behind the scenes, the jobs they do, and how a wholesaler’s job can be made a bit easier in eCommerce wholesale.

Wholesalers: What Do They Do Behind The Scenes?

If you have ever wondered how products get from the factories to store shelves, it was done by a wholesaler. They are the link between the manufacturer of the product and the stores that sell said products. They acquire the products and then sell them to the stores.

But if they only buy and sell the products, how are wholesalers making money? When wholesalers buy finished products from manufacturers, they usually buy in bulk. When purchasing these products in large quantities, wholesalers have the bargaining power to reduce the price per product. So, for example, if a product costs $2 per unit, let’s say you negotiate the prices to $1.5 per unit because you are buying in large quantities.

So, you now have a profit margin of about $0.5 per unit from the previous example. But stores don’t buy in as large quantities as wholesalers. And since there are additional costs like transportation and managing inventories, let’s assume they charge $2.5 per unit instead. Now, the profit margin goes up to $1 per unit. That is the essential job wholesalers do to earn money.

Behind the scenes, wholesalers do a lot more as well. They can assist retailers by storing the inventory for them, or they can aid in marketing the products for the store. Consumers usually don’t see the services that wholesalers give to stores. Other than that, wholesalers are tasked with ensuring retailers get their products on time and fulfill orders on time. That is what wholesalers do behind the scenes by being the link between manufacturers and retailers.

The 7 Essential Jobs Wholesalers Do For B2B Business

We looked at what wholesalers do behind the scenes, but now let’s get to the individual job that a wholesaler is responsible for:

  1. Acquiring Customers From Reliable Suppliers
  2. Managing Large Inventory Levels
  3. Marketing And Selling To Retailers
  4. Coordinating Order Fulfillment
  5. Managing Employees
  6. Maintaining Financial Accountability
  7. Creating Meaningful And Lasting Relationships

Job#1 Acquiring Reliable Suppliers For Product Procurement

What is a business without its customers? That is why customer acquisition of reliable suppliers is the first job that a wholesaler has to do. Because wholesalers’ suppliers are other businesses, identifying and reaching out to potential clients can be tricky. B2B decision-making has to go through multiple stages through various channels like email, phone calls, or in-person meetings. After all the negotiations, wholesalers acquire customers. 

And not any customers will do either. Wholesalers require reliable suppliers to have products on hand. You never know when there might be a supply chain disruption, so product procurement has to be as optimized as possible. For that, wholesalers must vet their suppliers properly so that product procurement is as smooth as possible.

Reliable suppliers and manufacturers bring in new opportunities, diversify revenue streams, and allow a wholesale business to stay ahead of the competition. By continuously seeking out and acquiring new suppliers, wholesaler businesses can sustain their growth and thrive long-term.

Job#2 Managing Large Inventory Levels

The supply chain moves fast, and it needs to do so. Shops need the products as soon as possible, and manufacturers want to get them on store shelves as soon as they are finished. That is why wholesalers must have products on hand to keep a steady flow in the supply chain. To do that, wholesalers often have to manage large inventory levels to satisfy all their customers. 

A wholesaler’s operations involve supervising and controlling stock levels to maintain optimal inventory levels. They must also monitor inventory levels, track product movements, and forecast demand. It is a continuous process because wholesalers have to constantly procure products and move them, meaning inventory levels are constantly changing as a result.

Depending on how large the business is, one wholesaler might have to manage inventories in multiple locations. All of this has to be monitored and maintained to avoid potential wholesale risk factors like stockouts and be prepared for crises like supply chain disruptions. 

Job#3 Marketing And Selling To Retailers

Once the products are in the hands of the wholesalers, it is now their job to sell the products to retailers. That involves the usual price negotiations and sales agreements. The main job here for wholesalers is to meet different retailers’ expectations. A wholesaler does this by understanding the needs and preferences of these retailers and tailoring their offerings to them accordingly.

The interaction between retailers and wholesalers does not end there. There are other values that wholesalers add to the relationship and it is mainly through marketing services. Marketing strategies have to be made to increase the value proposition of the product. In turn, the retailers use these strategies to promote and sell the products to their customers. Some wholesalers can even collaborate with retailers and come up with marketing strategies together. 

Job#4 Coordinating Order Fulfillment

Alongside selling the products and services to retailers, wholesalers must be proficient in order fulfillment. It is the process through which wholesalers receive, process, and deliver customer orders that is just as important as everything else. Everything has to be perfect, from pick-up and packaging down to the shipment to the stores. Order tracking and inventory control must be managed to be as efficient as possible.

So why is order fulfillment such an essential job for wholesalers? It is simple: the supply chain relies on wholesalers’. But the supply chain itself is complex because so many little things are involved. From the moment a wholesaler receives an order from a retailer, it is their job to coordinate warehouse staff, logistics partners, and transportation providers to ensure orders are fulfilled accurately and on time. 

By completing orders on time, wholesalers significantly contribute to risk mitigation in the supply chain and keep everyone involved happy.

Job#5 Managing Employees

What we have looked at so far were jobs that wholesalers have to do for their customers. However, as much as the customers (be it manufacturers or retailers) are essential, a wholesale business also needs to take care of its employees. On a day-to-day basis, wholesalers are responsible for recruiting, training, supervising, and providing support and guidance to employees. Not to mention salaries need to be paid on time, and employees must also be satisfied with their management.

The employees are what makes everything possible in the wholesale business. Some may work in in-house teams, while others work in remote locations. All of them have to be managed efficiently so that everyone contributes to the business’s growth. Moreover, effective employee management helps reduce turnover rates, improve productivity, and enhance operational efficiency. So, a wholesaler’s responsibility is not just to its customers but also to its employees.

Job#6 Maintaining Financial Accountability

I have touched on some points regarding finances, but nothing is more of a logistic nightmare for wholesalers than when the books don’t add up. That is why managing finances and maintaining financial accountability are equally crucial in a wholesale business.

In terms of finances, it includes budgeting, cash flow management, invoicing, and financial reporting. Now imagine doing that and then tracking income and expenses, monitoring profit margins, and analyzing economic data to make informed business decisions. And that is probably for just one business alone. Multiply that by the number of customers who frequently order from a wholesale company, and you can get an idea of how much responsibility falls on the shoulders of a wholesaler.

Additionally, wholesalers have to do all of this and maintain healthy finances to build strong relationships with suppliers and creditors and access financing options when needed. The scope of finances is enormous and is one of the most challenging jobs a wholesaler has to do. However, the growth of a business must be done correctly.

Job#7 Creating Meaningful And Lasting Relationships

Maintaining a meaningful and long-lasting relationship is the last essential job a wholesaler has to do. Significant time and effort must be invested in building and nurturing this relationship. When all parties are satisfied, working together is much easier and more efficient. This requires open communication, complete transparency, and solving complaints and problems quickly yet effectively. Only then can a successful business relationship be established.

But what do wholesalers get by being trusted partners in the supply chain? Well, it has many rewards, which is why it is such a vital job to do well in. Suppliers happy with your work might lead to better rates or even be welcomed into a loyalty program. Retailers might favor your business over others, which fosters a stronger relationship. 

There can be more chances for collaboration efforts where retailers might depend on your marketing services. It creates a co-dependency with all partners involved, making for a more robust network and even referrals to other retail businesses. This can easily lead to further growth for your wholesale business. This is possible from one meaningful and lasting relationship in the wholesale industry.

5 Skills Required To Become A Successful Wholesaler

The wholesaler job might sound easy, but becoming a successful wholesaler requires a unique blend of skills, knowledge, and experience. Here are some of the key qualifications necessary to excel in this role:

Skill#1 Marketing And Sales Skills

First and foremost, wholesalers must have effective marketing and sales skills. Since wholesalers fill the gap between retailers and manufacturers, they have to negotiate between businesses. That is why marketing skills are needed to find the right customers and sales skills to negotiate favorable terms for both purchasing and selling the products.

Skill#2 Industry And Product Knowledge

If marketing and sales skills are essential for negotiating prices, then having in-depth knowledge about the product and industry is just as important. Product knowledge enables wholesalers to make informed purchasing decisions and communicate the value to retailers for better prices. With industry knowledge, a wholesaler better understands market demands and pricing dynamics, opening up favorable negotiations.

Skill#3 Supply Chain Management

A wholesaler’s main job is to move the product as efficiently as possible. That is where supply chain management is vital for a wholesaler’s livelihood. That means timely delivery of products, optimizing inventory levels, and minimizing logistical costs. Coordinating with suppliers, warehouses, and transportation is the key to supply chain management, a qualification one must have. 

Skill#4 Relationship Building Skills

A wholesaler’s job is even more difficult because you have to deal with real people responsible for their businesses and getting the products on time. It is all about trust; one way to build that trust is to have relationship-building skills. Most wholesalers will have long-standing vendor relationships with manufacturers and retailers. So, maintaining those relationship-building skills is vital to having a lasting relationship with all parties involved.

Skill#5 Data Analysis

Wholesalers have to deal with large, large volumes of data. However, without proper analysis, those data could be as meaningless as any other spreadsheet. That is where data analysis is a critical skill that all wholesalers require. It is where a wholesaler can identify growth opportunities, optimize pricing strategies, and forecast demand more accurately. All of this is possible by knowing what the data means. The margins could be as small as 1%, but the outcome of that small percentage change could mean millions of dollars worth of revenue, either gained or lost.

Make Life Easier For Your Shopify Wholesale Business With A Bulk Order App

So far, we have seen precisely how demanding a wholesaler’s job is. When you add the element of doing eCommerce wholesale on a platform like Shopify, there will be added complexity. So, how can you make life easier for your Shopify wholesale business?

Shopify has the bonus of integrating third-party apps into the store via the Shopify app store. Many apps can help your eCommerce wholesale business. Let’s take a look at an example of a Shopify store using a third-party bulk order app with inventory visibility to help make sales easier:

SVC Store On Shopify Using MultiVariants - Bulk Order App

On the store, you can see the store is selling one cover type for different variants of the iPhone. The app allows customers to choose how many cases they want of a particular variant using the plus or minus buttons or the text input field. All the variants are shown on one product page, and each phone case has its stock visible to the customers.

Showing all the variants like this helps the customer of this wholesale store pick and choose which type of cases they have in their stores. There is no need for multiple product pages; all the variants will be added to the cart with just a click of a button. The store also displays inventory levels so customers can see how many are left. This eases the burden on the wholesale business because customers can get immediate confirmation of how many are in stock to make purchasing decisions much more manageable.

An app like this, and many others on the Shopify app store, helps streamline the shopping experience for the customers. It is a quick and effective way to ensure orders can be made, which the wholesaler can send to the customer.

Bottom Line

There are a lot of essential jobs wholesalers do. They have to manage manufacturer and retail clients while maintaining smooth operations so the supply chain can keep moving forward. Thus, there are specific qualifications required to do a wholesaler’s job effectively. With this, I hope you gained insight into such a tricky yet vital component of the supply chain and can appreciate just how essential wholesalers are to all businesses.


Get MultiVariants from Shopify App Store