5 Tips for Building Long Standing Relationships with Amazon Wholesale Suppliers 

Amazon-wholesale-suppliers-tips/While most Amazon seller models are focused entirely on customer transactions, wholesalers on Amazon are often required to prioritize relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers. Suppliers serve as a gatekeeper for established brands, making decisions about who can purchase inventory and ultimately represent the brand on different marketplaces. While it may seem counterintuitive, you, as an Amazon wholesaler, need to develop relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers to convince them that you should be allowed to give them money. 

Building relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers is often a very personal and human endeavor– something that most Amazon sellers aren’t used to. These relationships also prioritize human interaction over transactions, meaning that you can’t prove your worth simply in sales. Instead, you’ll need to take the time to truly cultivate and maintain long-standing relationships with your Amazon wholesale suppliers. In this article, we’ve put together our top five tips for Amazon sellers to build great relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers that can help you grow your wholesale business on Amazon.

What does it mean to be an Amazon Wholesaler

Amazon wholesalers are a model in which Amazon sellers purchase their inventory in bulk orders, typically directly from a wholesale distributor or wholesale supplier. This allows Amazon wholesalers to pay a lower cost per item on average and achieve better margins when selling, while also avoiding marketing challenges. Wholesalers make up the second largest selling model on Amazon and face unique challenges compared to other ecommerce business models as a result. 

While other Amazon sellers are focused on building a brand and audience, sourcing high quality products, and keeping costs low, wholesalers are leveraging the audience and customers of bigger brands that have already been established. Instead of struggling to build a brand and find a market, Amazon sellers working in the wholesale model face challenges with cash flow hiccups due to large purchases that take weeks to see a return on, finding wholesale suppliers, obtaining exclusivity, winning the buy box, and more. 

While private label sellers can source their products directly from factories and negotiate with manufacturers, Amazon wholesalers rely on wholesale suppliers which work for specific brands. Wholesale suppliers and wholesale account managers are the gatekeepers, acting as a middlemen between Amazon sellers and brands in order to maintain healthy levels of saturation in the marketplace. Not everyone is allowed to sell a brand’s product. In order to achieve an Amazon wholesale account with big name brands, you’ll likely be required to meet with the supplier, present your case for approval, and develop an ongoing relationship with them to stay in good standing. 

The Importance of Amazon Wholesale Relationships

Many of the problems Amazon wholesalers face involve other people since wholesale suppliers are real people who negotiate, unlike private label pricing which is typically set. Since Amazon wholesale suppliers also have goals and quotas to meet, Amazon wholesale sellers are often required to build mutually beneficial relationships with them in order to get the best deals.  

While transactional business may be more straightforward and streamlined, long term relationships create opportunities for growth by deepening trust with brands, establishing loyalty over extended periods, and financially rewarding both parties. If you can establish a solid relationship with your wholesale suppliers by providing value to them, they will likely return the favor over time. In the long run your relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers may even open doors for you to achieve exclusivity with a brand or product. 

1. Check your ego at the door.

Over time, Amazon wholesalers have developed a reputation for being notoriously frustrating to deal with and having an inflated sense of importance about their business. You can’t approach a supplier believing that they should immediately cater to your desires– they have priorities beyond your business. While you may eventually bring the brand sales, that sense of entitlement is a surefire way to start a relationship with Amazon wholesale suppliers on a bad note. 

Instead, do your best to approach a relationship with Amazon wholesale suppliers from a place of genuine interest and professionalism. Take the time to complete the full process, even if it requires more work than another model might, in order to establish a solid relationship with your supplier and show that you respect their processes. The right supplier will see the effort that you’re putting into the relationship and appreciate it– likely making it easier for you in the wholesale product sourcing process. 

2. Communicate as consistently and honestly as possible.

To establish trust with suppliers over time, it’s crucial that you communicate frequently and clearly. This means ensuring that you set reasonable and accurate expectations for order size, frequency, payment plans, and more. It also means that lines of communication are open in both directions and don’t suddenly go dark. In a healthy relationship with Amazon wholesale suppliers, they should be able to access you easily if they have questions or simply want to check-in. 

While these things may appear to be strictly business decisions that have little effect on your relationship with Amazon wholesale suppliers, these small details can have a meaningful impact on their sales as well. Additionally, in the more personal relationships that come with Amazon wholesale suppliers, it’s considerate to give notice if there will be a significant change. It will also help suppliers understand where you’re coming from when negotiating hard on a price. 

Another important point of communication is what the future holds for your relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers. Although ecommerce sales can be more unpredictable than traditional retailers, you should still be able to provide some information to your Amazon wholesale suppliers about what the sales forecast for the coming months look like. When you fail to provide forecasting information to your suppliers you inevitably disrupt the supply chain by making irregular or unexpected orders that brands weren’t prepared for. The more information that you can communicate ahead of time, the more they will see that you respect their time and efforts, and, the better your relationship with Amazon wholesale suppliers will be. 

3. Do your homework. 

You wouldn’t want to partner with a company that knows nothing about your Amazon store and neither do Amazon wholesale suppliers. Although you’re technically a customer of the brand, Amazon wholesale is more comparable to a partnership since you’re also representing the brand on the marketplace, similar to an ambassador. In order to establish a solid relationship with Amazon wholesale suppliers you need to prove that you know enough about the brand, market, and customer base to do this job well. 

To fully understand the nuances of a brand it’s wise to do your research preemptively. What types of products does the brand carry? What language should you use to attract the right customer? What terminology does your supplier use and how can you use it to benefit the relationship? Having answers prepared for these types of questions will help prove to your suppliers that you are committed to their wholesale product, as well as help you begin to develop a strategy for product listings. 

4. The more human the interaction, the better. 

Many Amazon sellers are used to communicating entirely with suppliers via email, virtual assistant, or automated processes. While that type of communication may be possible eventually in some relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers, it is not the norm. Instead, Amazon wholesaler suppliers tend to prefer relationships where they communicate directly over the phone. 

One great way to stand out to suppliers is to meet them on their territory– at offices or warehouses. Not only does this set you apart from other Amazon wholesalers and help you to develop a more personal and trusting relationship, but you can also utilize this time to do a quality check on products and review other SKUs in a brand’s catalog that might fit with your business.

5. Provide value for their brand as well. 

As mentioned before, your relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers are much more comparable to brand partnerships than private label distributors. The result of this is that brands are equally as interested in what you can provide for them as what they can provide for you. In order to secure a long standing relationship with Amazon wholesale suppliers, the key is to prove your value to them. This looks different for each Amazon wholesaler business but can include:

Identifying Competition

Brands that don’t have their own presence on ecommerce marketplaces, especially Amazon, are likely competing with white label or private seller products that they haven’t even discovered. These smaller brands and private label products may seem trivial in size comparatively, but over time can divert significant business that will result in lost sales for a brand. 

As an Amazon seller you have expert knowledge of the marketplace and can identify these competitors easily, bringing valuable insight to your relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers. To take it one step further and use that knowledge to your advantage in deepening your relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers, you can generate proposals to counteract this or mitigate lost sales through your Amazon wholesale business. For example, you might run your own PPC advertising campaigns that use similar keywords but highlight the brand you’re selling – investing a little bit back into the wholesale distributor. Creating new and unique advertising strategies, especially if you can prove that they’re effective, will always bring immense value to wholesale suppliers. 

Overlooked Opportunities 

Since Amazon wholesale suppliers are often addressing a pre-established market and audience, it’s incredibly likely that they have overlooked new opportunities or missed nuances of  the ecommerce marketplace. As a wholesaler who’s constantly looking for profitable products or potential suppliers, it’s likely that you’ve already allocated a great deal of resources to answering these questions. Take advantage of your expert knowledge and bring some benefit to your suppliers by highlighting these opportunity areas and provide updated product research to help capitalize. 

For example, you have the ability to update optimization on product listings and reach new demographics that your suppliers may have not considered. Although this new demographic might not have an established strategy with your wholesale supplier, they are an untapped market where you could generate new profits as easily as by updating descriptions. Another example of updated product research bringing value to your supplier is by pitching product bundles that can be listed as a new SKU on Amazon’s marketplace. Product bundles often generate new sales, more revenue, and reach a new subsection of a brand’s audience without much effort. 

Placing Bulk Orders 

Remember, if all else fails, it never hurts to buy products in large volumes. While it may not be the most unique strategy to develop a strong and healthy relationship with Amazon wholesale suppliers it still benefits them immensely. Not only does greater buying power allow you to negotiate and profits that you’ll be able to bring to a brand. Large orders like this may be costly on the front end, but over time, and with help from strategic funding, they can pay off by growing your business and helping you maintain thriving relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers. 

Above all else it’s important to ensure that you’re following the terms and conditions laid out by your suppliers. While it might seem advantageous to break the rules, especially violating the minimum advertised price (MAP) set by a brand in order to win the Buy Box, this can frustrate and destroy your relationship with suppliers. MAP is a notoriously important point of contention between sellers and wholesale suppliers and while you may lose the Buy Box temporarily, you’ll likely establish a healthier long term relationship that can bring your wholesale business benefit further down the line. 

You know your strengths as an Amazon seller better than anyone else, but the more value you can bring your Amazon wholesale supplier, the better your relationship with them will grow to be. While more personal relationships with wholesale suppliers may seem slow and unintuitive in ecommerce at first, long standing relationships with Amazon wholesale suppliers can open unique and exciting opportunities for your business. Over time, this is especially key when it comes to improving price negotiations and gaining exclusivity for products– the more your supplier trusts you, the more willing they’ll be to provide value to your wholesale business.

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