In November 2002, Via Trading made its first sale. Over the eight years since then, the wholesale liquidation company has grown into a powerhouse that generates tens of millions of dollars in annual sales, stocking thousands of pallets of goods at any given moment. "Via Trading has experienced a significant percentage of growth each year since its incorporation in 2002," says marketing manager Nathania Stambouli. "We have been recognized four years running now by the Inc. 5000, and three years by the LA Business Journal as one of the fastest growing consumer goods companies in the country, and in Los Angeles."
And Via Trading is poised to make another big growth spurt with the launch this fall of a new version of its website, that will reach out to a huge customer demographic. "We have just launched a Spanish language version of our website, www.viatrading.com/mayoreo, that pioneers the industry as the largest wholesale liquidations website entirely in Spanish on the Internet today," explains Stambouli. The new version features hundreds of product descriptions, shipping information, industry resources, a list of Southern California flea markets, liquidation services, and information on Via Trading news and events, all in Spanish.
Clearly, the web is a major part of the company's strategy, and has been from day one. "Our website was launched when the company opened in 2002," says Stambouli. And Via Trading has put a lot of effort into keeping it up to date. "We have upgraded it several times and continue to improve the user navigation on the site, and the content we provide. While it began as a simple HTML page with daily product updates, our website now features videos, articles, resources and industry information, a shopping cart and many other useful tools," she says.
The site makes for a compelling customer resource, she adds. "Aside from providing dozens of pictures and detailed descriptions on each of the lots we sell, our website is increasingly user friendly and easy to navigate. Buyers can browse by category, by condition of product, by packing (cases versus pallets versus truckloads) and by price point (under $250, $500, and $1,000)." As a source of data, the site is invaluable. "We also provide pages of resource information about how to work with customer returns and overstocked products, what to expect when dealing with such goods, information on industry terminology, and hints and tips for reselling liquidated merchandise based on different retail channels," says Stambouli.
Via Trading has an intense customer focus, based on retaining customers by offering valuable advice. According to Stambouli, "We built our website to offer more than just product, but to also help buyers determine what type of product will be best suited for their market, and what they can do to minimize costs and increase profits. We also stress the availability of our sales team to answer any questions customers have by email, phone or in-person. Buyers are always welcome to call, email or visit us to get a better understanding of what we do and how to work with us. Transparency and customer service are high priorities." And that effort has paid off for the liquidation wholesaler. "Approximately 50 percent of our business is generated through our website, and the other through walk-in, in-person purchases," says Stambouli. And while half of all sales come in directly from the Internet, the odds are that even more customers use the Web for research, and then use the phone or a physical visit to make purchases.
This highlights another unusual and customer friendly aspect to Via Trading's business. In the liquidation business, the goods are not consistent. Shelf pull items, customer returns, seconds, and such merchandise vary in consistency, even within an individual pallet. That is the nature of the enterprise, and Via Trading highlights this reality on its website. However, the company goes one step further. Customers are invited to visit its wholesale "store" in Lynwood, CA, and check out any given pallet before making a purchase. Nathania Stambouli puts it this way, "Unlike many other players in this industry, we are open to the public, so buyers in the area can come in and visually inspect the goods prior to purchase. Our warehouse is set up like a giant pallet supermarket so to speak, with colorful signage and pricing on all the lots. Buyers are free to walk the warehouse and select the actual pallets they'd like to buy."
But the company goes beyond simple inspection of the pallet loads. In addition, they have on-site sales and auctions to move merchandise. "We offer in-house events every month, featuring significantly discounted pricing on hundreds of wholesale lots. Our monthly live auctions welcome over 200 wholesale buyers to the warehouse to bid on over 300 wholesale lots, starting at only $1, with no reserve bidding," Stambouli explains. And once a month, there is a sale. "Around 100 buyers come to the warehouse to select from approximately 300 discounted pallets from our regular inventory. Prices are slashed up to 50 percent off of already very competitive pricing," she says.
What's on those pallets? Almost any kind of goods imaginable. "New arrivals change from one day to the next. We might receive truckloads of office furniture today, designer clothing tomorrow, branded athletic shoes the next, and assorted toys the following day," says Stambouli. "We do have a staple product line of electronics, clothing, shoes, hardware, industrial equipment, tools, kitchenware, domestics, general merchandise, cosmetics, furniture, luggage and health and beauty aids, and more. Each category boasts dozens of products, and our inventory changes daily," she says. There are hot products for every buyer. "Our flea market sellers primarily buy general merchandise pallets, while our ecommerce customers typically do best with designer clothing, shoes and cosmetics. Our brick and mortar store buyers typically focus most on electronics, tools and general merchandise. It's all across the board, and generally depends on how and where the goods are being resold," says Stambouli.
The minimum buy from Via Trading is a single lot. Though profit margins vary greatly according to the product being sold and the resale channel used, Via Trading does its best to remain competitive in its pricing. "We try to make it so our customers turn as high a profit as possible while offering the items to their customers at close to 50% off retail," says Stambouli.
The company also offers electronic coupons regularly for ten percent off.
A good way to get a coupon is to tune in to the company's electronic marketing. "E-marketing is one of the primary ways we reach our customer base," says Stambouli. "We maintain a blog with resources, product information, promotions and special offers. We send weekly email blasts to our mailing list of over 50,000 subscribed wholesale buyers, informing them of incoming products, upcoming events or other news. We also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account that we update with any relevant information, and we also send out special social media discounts for our Facebook fans and Twitter followers. We keep everyone in the loop of what's going on at Via."
For more information:
2520 Industry Way
Lynwood, CA 90262
Toll Free: 877-202-3616
International Tel.: +323-214-8914
International Fax: +323-214-8936
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