Buying wholesale products can be challenging if you are a start up company or if you are primarily dealing with overseas agents. It can be hard to communicate – or miscommunication can lead to bumps in the road that result in late arrivals, wrong products or hidden costs. As a retailer, it is important to build a strong relationship with your wholesale agent and ensure that they have your best interests in mind.
THE TRADITIONAL WAY
Traditionally, Canadian small business operators would purchase stock through local wholesalers. These wholesalers would send their agents overseas looking for suitable products for selling into the Canadian market. They would then buy container loads of goods, warehouse them and sell them off in smaller lots to their numerous retail shop customers.
Today many small businesses are going straight overseas to source their stock. This looks good for a small business because prices appear less expensive but that is rarely the case.
There is a belief that a product can be sourced from overseas more cheaply than from a local source. While it is true that the price may appear less expensive there are many other considerations to take into account. For instance, when sourcing directly from overseas you need to consider the reputation of the factory or supplier and any issues that could affect intellectual property and protection. You also have to consider costs of shipping, import duties, insurances, the length it takes the product to be shipped as well as satisfying a factory Minimum Order Quantity. These factors can quickly change the price of what you initially thought you would be paying for your stock.
It is also important to consider the resources and logistics you have before working with an overseas agent. Do you have the ability and knowledge to start an international supply relationship? What if something goes wrong with the order? What options will you have and what will it cost you? Are you able to visit and assess the factory in person? What do you need to do to make sure your goods comply with the relevant safety and quality requirements? There are many risk factors that come with sourcing from overseas.
When working with local agents in Canada, retailers are able to create a relationship with good communication, smooth delivery, and after sales service. There are many benefits that come from working with a local agent. For instance, it is easy to speak to a local agent. You don’t have to worry about time differences, language barriers, and can easily meet face to face if you need to. Strong communication helps both parties create a healthy and reliable relationship. When working with a local agent you can expect smooth delivery because the local agents have already established reliable suppliers and guaranteed quality. Furthermore, a local agent has knowledge and understanding of the Canadian market and they can provide after-sales service that you wouldn’t get with an overseas agent. This is good for peace of mind when you might need assistance after the stock has been shipped.
LOCAL VS OVERSEAS?
Whether you are sourcing from a local or overseas agent, it is important to realize that all relationships will be different. Make sure you research your wholesale options thoroughly to find the best option for your business. If you are interested in sourcing straight from overseas consider the capacity and ability to successfully negotiate a deal with an overseas supplier and also to understand all the different areas within their business that will be impacted by the decision. If you are interested in local agents you will gain peace of mind knowing that they have established strong relationships overseas and have the experience to help you before, during, and after sales.
Here at Slide’em Inc., we are a family run business that has been custom manufacturing the most popular hat designs for the past 25 years. Quality and competitive prices are the driving force behind our success as we have established and fostered overseas relationships to make it easy for you as the retailer to get the stock you want without the risk.