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Six Questions to Ask Wholesale Vendors at Market

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Whether you’re preparing for your first trip to the market or you’re a seasoned attendee looking to enhance your approach, knowing the right questions to ask vendors is crucial. These inquiries not only help you understand the potential for a partnership but also ensure that the brands you choose to work with align perfectly with your business’s needs. Here are six key questions you should always ask:

Six Questions to Ask Wholesale Vendors at Market

1. Do You Offer Zip Code or Territory Protection?

Some brands offer zip code or territory protection, meaning they restrict the sale of certain styles or even their entire brand within specific locations, especially if you have a physical store. This can be beneficial if you’re seeking exclusivity in a high-demand brand. Conversely, some brands do not impose such restrictions, which can be advantageous if you aim to also sell online. Understanding a brand’s policy on this will help you gauge if their model fits your sales strategy.

2. What Are Your Pack Sizes?

Understanding the pack sizes is essential, particularly in apparel, where you need to consider the size assortment included. Pack sizes can vary significantly — for example, they might be balanced across sizes, or skewed towards certain sizes. This knowledge will help you avoid excess stock in sizes that don’t match your customer base’s demands. Similarly, in non-apparel categories like shoes or candles, knowing the pack sizes can assist in inventory planning.

3. What Is Your Minimum Order and Is There a Reorder Requirement?

Minimum order requirements can vary drastically from one vendor to another. Some might have a low entry point like a $100 minimum, while others might require a substantial initial investment, such as $10,000, particularly in high-end home and gift lines. These thresholds can affect the exclusivity and potential sell-through rates of the products in your store.

4. Is There a Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)?

Understanding if there is an MSRP or if you can set prices at your discretion is vital for planning your pricing strategy. Some vendors might restrict discounting or sales promotions to maintain brand integrity and pricing across various retail outlets, which could impact your margin potential.

5. What Are Your Delivery Dates?

Knowing when your products will be delivered is crucial, especially when ordering seasonal items far in advance, such as holiday decor or fashion items for specific seasons. Effective planning can prevent scenarios where you receive parts of sets at different times, which can tie up your capital and affect sales.

6. Are You a Member of The Boutique Hub?

Inquiring whether a vendor is a member of The Boutique Hub can be beneficial. Membership indicates a level of vetting and quality assurance, as the Hub collaborates with over a thousand vetted brands. This can give you a good sense of the reliability and reputation of the vendor. Also, some Hub brands offer discounts to retail members!

PS – Want even more wholesale tips? Our FREE guide has six more of our best wholesale buying tips for small business retailers.

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