INDEPENDENT RETAILER magazine is now the official news outlet for Wholesale Central visitors.
Each monthly issue is packed with new product ideas, supplier profiles, retailing news, and
business strategies to help you succeed.
See new articles daily online at IndependentRetailer.com.
Sep 1, 2007
by Judi Perkins
The product locator and product alert capabilities are a distinct advantage to using the traditional keyword search method. These two features are designed to assist wholesale buyers in locating difficult to find products, and then bring those products right to the buyer.
A third feature, the order tracker, gives buyers the ability to track orders placed through Wholesalecentral.com in one comprehensive location. The fourth benefit is a free subscription to Web Wholesaler, the monthly magazine for online wholesale buyers. Web Wholesaler provides business owners with additional product sources, as well as news, tips, and information relevant to owning a successful online business. An annual subscription would otherwise cost $19.95.
Bringing Products to Buyers
One of the attributes of Buyers Network is its ease of use. A reseller must be a registered member to use it, but registration is not only fast and free, it automatically inserts the tools, along with a personalized greeting, into the buyer's toolbar at the top of the page. Locating a product, checking mail, changing settings, and sending an inquiry become just a few of the toolbar options available with a convenient mouse click.
The product locator service is the only one of its kind. Whether a buyer is looking for a distinctly hard to find product, or having no luck locating an everyday one, the product locator is designed to ferret it out and bring its whereabouts to the reseller's inbox.
Carl Brehm, who owns Lafourche Bird House, not only sells items related to raising birds, but a wide variety of additional items as well. He was having difficulty locating automatic knives. "I used the product locator, and got responses from three different suppliers, and placed a $900 test order with one of them," he said. "They were calling them switchblades, but they were really automatic knives."
Brian Shelley, an eBay power seller and the owner of Only the Best Clothes and Collectibles, finds the product locator service to be a valuable time saver. "It's been very good. I'm always looking for the right price and the right material. The sellers come to me."
There are two ways to use the product locator. One is to select the Send Inquiry option on the Buyer toolbar, which provides access to a brief form to fill out: what the reseller is seeking, additional comments, and the supplier categories to where the message will be sent. All the reseller needs to do after that is wait for the responses.
Patrick Key, owner of Key Merchandise, which sells general merchandise at festivals and concessions, uses the product locater about twice per week. "I was surprised at the number of replies I had for the products that I had difficulty finding," he said. "I plugged in what I was looking for, and they just started sending me emails with price quotes and everything."
The email generated by the inquiry comes from Wholesalecentral.com, so spam conscious buyers do not have to worry about revealing their email address. The responses are dropped into their private inbox at My Message center, where both inquiries and responses are retained for one month. No personal information is provided to the seller unless the buyer chooses to release that information directly.
End Keyword Searches
The second way for a buyer to benefit from the product locator service is to click on the Wholesale Product Locator link, also on the toolbar. This reveals a list of product categories, the number of product requests in each category, and the date of the most recent post.
If a buyer wants to post a request, rather than it being sent specifically and privately to categorically requested vendors, this post shows up on a public board. What is the advantage of this method? The reseller can peruse posted requests by other buyers, which may very well alert him to suppliers for items he had not considered purchasing or searching for: New information at the click of a mouse.
It is also an easy way to put an end to frustrating keyword searching that is yielding no results. "I was looking for some products that didn't come up with the keywords I was using," said Brehm. "So by posting a message on the buyers network locator, I was able to find some suppliers that were on Wholesalecentral, but that couldn't be found with the keywords I was using."
For sellers who join Wholesalecentral.com, Buyers Network obviously presents a very lucrative opportunity for doing business and increasing profits. Rather than waiting for customers to find them, they can find the customers, because the customers are right there asking to buy and waiting to be found. And not only can profits result in a sale from meeting the posted request, but they can also multiply exponentially when a vendor gains a new customer who buys repeatedly.
Shelley said that he's found some of his regular suppliers by using the product locator service. "It's worked real well," he said. "I get quite a few responses. The sellers come to me with what I'm looking for. It's lessened my search hours."
Could finding a product be any easier? Well, for members of Buyers Network, yes! There is also the product alert system, and this too, is not only labor saving for buyers, but extremely profitable for Wholesalecentral.com sellers.
Buyers Network members can subscribe to product alerts by clicking on Member Settings under the My Settings option on the buyer's toolbar. There are 58 categories from which a buyer can elect to receive emails. It is yet another way that Buyers Network brings the sellers to a buyer's door, along with the products the reseller needs.
With wholesalers bringing products right to a buyer's door, of course the buyer is placing orders with multiple companies at one time. Tracking each order through the websites of the individual vendors is tedious and time consuming, which is why Buyers Network designed and implemented an easier way for resellers to track their orders.
From the first order a buyer places with a Wholesalecentral.com vendor, every order is accessible. A buyer can view all orders since membership inception, or ask the system to show orders within a specific date range. It is a comprehensive way of keeping track at a glance of every order placed with any of the Wholesalecentral.com suppliers.
Easy Order Tracking
Like the other features of Buyers Network, the order tracker is designed to save time so that buyers have more time left to reap the profits of selling. "If I remember I bought wind chimes, but I don't remember from who, with the click of a mouse I can find out real quick," said Brehm. "Or if I can't find a specific invoice, I can go back, and there it is. I can reprint it."
"It's the capability of going back to February of '04 and seeing what I ordered and what I paid, because for records from three years ago," said Brehm, "I'd have to go dig in boxes. They're not in file cabinets anymore."
For buyers who have spent hours upon hours combing the web for suppliers, Buyers Network makes running a wholesale business a lot easier. Shelley says before Buyers Network, he, "spent hours and hours tracking down suppliers to see what they had. Maybe 200 to 300 hours a week before I started using it." Shelley says what he likes best about Buyers Network is its, "ease of use. The entire thing is so easy to use for me. I don't have to do as much looking as when I've got to do all the searching myself."
For Brehm it is the ability to locate items he wouldn't otherwise be able to find. "Most suppliers are answering within 24 to 48 hours. I'd recommend its use to anybody who needs to locate product that they can't find by normal search words. It will save them time, money, and effort."
Topic: Web Tech Tips
Related Articles: Wholesale Central
Entire contents ©2021, Sumner Communications, Inc. (203) 748-2050. All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Sumner Communications, Inc. except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via e-mail to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.