The wholesale clothing industry is highly competitive, with retailers constantly vying for customers. As a clothing wholesaler, acquiring new accounts and increasing sales from existing customers is essential for business growth. However, with so many wholesalers selling similar products, standing out can be a challenge. Implementing targeted strategies to attract more wholesale clothing customers requires an understanding of your target market, savvy marketing techniques, competitive pricing, strong relationships, and excellent customer service. This article will provide clothing wholesalers with tips and advice on proven methods for getting more wholesale accounts and increasing repeat business from current customers. With the right approach, clothing wholesalers can expand their customer base and boost revenues.
Research Your Target Market
The first step to attracting new wholesale clothing customers is understanding who your best customers are. Conduct thorough market research to gain insights into your target market’s demographics, psychographics, buying behaviors, and preferences.
- Identify the types of stores most likely to buy from you. This may include boutiques, department stores, specialty shops, discount stores, etc.
- Determine what sizes and price points are in demand. For example, plus size clothing and budget-friendly pieces may be underserved markets.
- Learn where your potential customers are located. Certain geographic areas or regions may present better opportunities.
- Research pain points your target customers face with current wholesalers. Your value proposition can be tailored to address those needs.
- Use surveys, interviews, and focus groups to get direct feedback from existing and prospective customers.
Armed with detailed knowledge of your ideal customers, you can craft marketing messages and product offerings specifically aimed at them. The more tailored your approach, the higher the conversion rate. Continually conduct market research to identify new customer segments and remain responsive to shifts in buyer needs. Targeting the right customers from the start makes acquiring new accounts much easier.
Build Your Online Presence
An appealing and informative website and strong e-commerce capabilities are must-haves for reaching wholesale clothing customers. Your online presence introduces your brand and products to potential buyers searching for new suppliers.
- Invest in a user-friendly website that outlines your product catalog, pricing, minimum order quantities, and clearly explains your wholesale program.
- Enable B2B e-commerce functionality like online product ordering and account management. Retail buyers prefer the convenience of self-service.
- Ensure your site is mobile-responsive so customers can access and order from their phones or tablets.
- Create a section dedicated to retailers with useful info on how to become a customer, perks of your wholesale program, and relevant resources.
- Produce unique content like blog posts on industry news, sales trends, tips for boutique owners, and spotlights on your designers. Quality content builds brand awareness.
- List your brand and products on online B2B directories, marketplaces, and apps used by clothing buyers.
The more visibility you have online, the easier it will be for buyers to learn about you and shop your wholesale offerings. Maintaining an informative, functional e-commerce website with robust account management tools is essential for acquiring and retaining wholesale customers.
Attend Trade Shows and Events
In-person events like trade shows and fashion markets are crucial for networking with potential wholesale clothing customers. Retail buyers attend these events specifically to discover new brands, view products, and meet suppliers.
- Identify the top trade shows for your product category and target market. Popular events include MAGIC, Coterie, and SAMPLE Sales.
- Research which retailers and boutiques typically attend each event. Review past exhibitor and attendee lists.
- Book your booth early and select a high-traffic area. Focus on visibility and easy access.
- Create an eye-catching display showcasing your product line and brand story. Have lookbooks and line sheets available.
- Train your sales reps on talking points, inventory details, and closing deals. Prep them to connect with buyers.
- Follow up promptly with leads and contacts acquired. Send collateral, fulfill sample requests, and schedule meetings.
- Attend complementary events and activities like VIP parties and retailer tours for additional networking.
Trade shows let wholesalers interact face-to-face with qualified prospects. The connections made can result in big accounts. They should be a consistent part of your marketing plan.
Offer Customer Incentives and Discounts
Providing the right mix of financial incentives can motivate new wholesale customers to place initial orders and encourage existing ones to increase purchase volume.
- Offer seasonal discounts or limited-time percentage-off deals around peak ordering periods. This can boost sales during slower times.
- Provide free shipping or discounts on shipping costs for meeting minimum order values. Reduce logistics friction.
- Give new accounts discounted pricing or extra markdowns on their first 1-2 purchases. Get the relationship started.
- Implement a loyalty rewards program for repeat customers. Points can earn future discounts.
- Create bundled deals where purchasing a certain number of units unlocks deeper savings. Drive higher order values.
- Offer rebates if reorders reach specific sales thresholds within a defined timeframe.
- Provide customized incentives like holiday coupons to top-tier accounts. Make VIP buyers feel valued.
- Avoid sitewide sales that erode brand value. Use targeted offers that incentivize profitable actions.
Judiciously used discounts and perks give retailers more reasons to choose your brand amid fierce competition. Incentives should produce a positive ROI in the long-term.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Superior customer service is one of the most important differentiators for winning new wholesale accounts and keeping existing customers happy. Retailers have many options when selecting suppliers, so ensuring each interaction is positive is crucial.
- Hire sales representatives who are experts in wholesale and have strong product knowledge. Proactivity and responsiveness are valued.
- Make it easy to contact your sales team through phone, email, and live chat. Be readily available to answer questions.
- Set reasonable turnaround times for sending samples, fulfilling orders, shipping products, etc. Then over-deliver on your timelines.
- Carefully listen to buyers’ needs instead of just pushing your offerings. Find solutions tailored to each account.
- Resolve any customer issues, complaints, or returns as quickly as possible. Follow up to ensure satisfaction.
- Seek feedback on how you can improve as a partner. Use reviews to address weaknesses.
- Surprise top accounts periodically with small gifts like holiday treats or exclusive product previews.
Providing five-star service ensures regular buyers remain loyal and new prospects have amazing first experiences that convert. Customer retention hinges on consistent, high-quality support.
Leverage Social Media
Social platforms like Instagram and Facebook provide wholesalers effective channels for getting in front of potential new accounts. These visual networks are used extensively by boutique owners and clothing buyers to discover new brands.
- Curate Instagram content displaying your products attractively on models, influencers, and real customers. Showcase your brand lifestyle.
- Share user-generated content from retailers promoting your products in their stores. This builds credibility.
- Give behind-the-scenes looks at your design process and company culture. Tell your brand’s story.
- Run targeted Facebook and Instagram ads promoting your wholesale program to small business owners in your area.
- Partner with micro-influencers in your niche to produce branded content and showcase products.
- Use Instagram Stories and Live video to engage followers and take them behind the scenes.
- Respond promptly to social media inquiries, comments, and tags from potential retail partners.
- Provide links to your e-commerce site and contact info to make it easy for motivated followers to place orders.
A strong and interactive social media presence gives boutique owners a window into your brand and products that can turn them into customers.
Partner with Influencers and Bloggers
Influencer marketing collaborations are an effective tactic for raising awareness of your wholesale brand among boutique owners and prospective retail customers.
- Identify micro-influencers in your niche with engaged follower bases of boutique owners and clothing buyers.
- Offer to send complimentary products for influencers to showcase on their channels through sponsored posts.
- Ask influencers to publish content featuring your products and tagging your brand’s handle to gain exposure to their audience.
- Compensate influencers through free products, commission on any sales driven, or flat sponsorship fees per post.
- Partner with fashion bloggers to create branded blog posts showcasing your products styled in different ways.
- Invite influencers to any launch events or sales meetings to have them model your latest pieces.
- Share and repost user-generated influencer content. Credible third-party promotion builds authority.
- Track sales and engagement from influencer partnerships. Refine based on highest-converting collaborations.
The right influencer relationships expand your brand’s reach to engaged retail followings, leading to new wholesale opportunities.
Utilize Paid Ads
Paid advertising allows wholesale brands to get in front of motivated buyers actively searching for new suppliers. You can target your ads precisely to reach clothing retailers and boutique owners.
- Run Google Shopping ads so your products appear when buyers search for related items.
- Advertise on B2B marketplaces like Alibaba, Global Sources, and Wholesale Central.
- Sponsor relevant trade publications, industry blogs, and niche websites your customers read.
- Target retailers through Facebook and Instagram ads using interests, job titles, business types, and lookalike audiences.
- Retarget visitors who browse your website with ads across channels to bring them back.
- Coordinate promotions between your paid ads and website offers for amplification.
- Continually test new formats like connected TV and streaming audio as well as different creatives.
- Track cost per lead and sale as well as ROI by source to optimize your ad spending.
Paid ads put your brand in front of motivated boutique owners as they search for suppliers. Capturing their attention early on can turn them into loyal accounts.
Create a Referral Program
Referrals from existing wholesale customers are one of the most cost-effective ways to gain new accounts. Satisfied retailers who are happy with your brand are often eager to recommend you.
- Offer current customers discounts or rewards for successfully referring new wholesale accounts.
- Make it easy for them to share referral links and promo codes on their websites and social channels.
- Supply existing accounts with branded materials about your referral program to share with fellow business owners.
- Highlight retailers who drive new referrals on your website and social media when they give permission.
- Send new referring accounts a thank you package with free products or gift cards to incentivize future referrals.
- Personalize outreach to referred prospects and mention who connected you for a warmer introduction.
- Prioritize referred leads in your sales process since they come pre-vetted.
- Track referral conversion rates to identify your most influential brand advocates.
Rewarding happy customers for referrals is a proven way to profitably scale your wholesale business.
Analyze Your Competition
Gaining a detailed understanding of competitors within your wholesale clothing niche is invaluable for identifying potential new accounts to target.
- Research competitor brands that serve your target customer segment. Review their product offerings, pricing, and brand positioning.
- Identify any common retail accounts and note which competitors they currently buy from.
- Highlight areas where you can provide better value, service, or unique products compared to alternatives.
- Search listings on B2B directories to see retailers indicating interest in competitors. Reach out to those prospects.
- Follow competitors on social media to see partners they collaborate with. Consider if similar influencer partnerships could benefit you.
- Keep tabs on competitors’ trade show participation and events they sponsor. Attend the same ones.
- If any major competitors experience issues like supply chain problems or brand scandals, capitalize quickly.
Gaining insights into what competing wholesalers offer and which retailers they work with opens up new opportunities. Use competitive intelligence to win over accounts.
Diversify Your Inventory
Carrying a diverse array of styles, sizes, and clothing categories allows wholesalers to appeal to more potential accounts. Retailers want flexibility in finding the right mix for their customers.
- Expand your size range to ensure you offer the full spectrum from petite to plus sizes.
- Vary your selections to include both basic staples as well as trendy statement pieces. Appeal to various tastes.
- Include categories beyond just apparel like shoes, jewelry, handbags, and other accessories. Become a one-stop shop.
- Offer quick ship items that can easily be replenished along with seasonal products. Cater to different purchasing needs.
- Add new collections and rotate stock frequently so repeat buyers have fresh options.
- Allow customization of bulk orders with prints, embroidery, and branding. Enable personalization.
- Develop private label merchandise exclusively for retailers seeking unique products.
Casting a wide net with diverse items suitable for many boutiques and stores will attract more wholesalers customers. Evaluate gaps in your catalog for growth opportunities.
Succeeding as a wholesaler in the competitive clothing industry requires focusing intently on customer acquisition and retention. Implementing targeted strategies to attract new accounts while maximizing repeat sales from existing ones is crucial for growth. Conducting market research, maintaining a strong online presence, participating in trade shows, offering buyer incentives, providing excellent service, leveraging social media, partnering with influencers, running paid ads, encouraging referrals, analyzing competitors, and diversifying your product selection represent proven methods for profitably expanding your wholesale business.
With a nuanced understanding of your ideal customers paired with savvy relationship-building both online and off, clothing wholesalers can continually gain new retail partners. Meeting your accounts’ needs better than rivals do leads to enduring business-to-business relationships and long-term revenue streams. The tips in this article equip apparel wholesalers with actionable ways to increase their customer base while boosting satisfaction among current buyers. Executing on these best practices drives sustainable success.