A wholesale business has a different type of target customer, with different needs, compared to end users (retail customers). Because wholesalers almost exclusively deal in business-to-business transactions, the advertising focus has to hit where it matters most to retailers—in the wallet. Once the wholesale business owner knows who he wants as a client, it is then a matter of finding ways to get the message in front of the prospective clients and craft it so that the retailer can't resist establishing a relationship with the wholesaler.

Step 1.

Determine your target customer. This starts with your own products. For example, if you're wholesaling T-shirts you might want to target online T-shirt printers, screen printer shops, and small stores that sell inexpensive white T-shirts.

Step 2.

Consider the customer's most important needs. Is the retailer likely to be looking for better quality products or just a better price? Is it possible that the retailer is dissatisfied with the current terms (such as return policy and invoicing process) of its current wholesalers?

Step 3.

Develop an advertising plan for reaching that target customer. This could include advertisements in established industry magazines and brochures, direct mailings, online advertising targeted to sites that are commonly visited by retail business customers and hiring salespeople to do cold calls. It would behoove you to buy or rent information on retailers that buy your type of product. Some wholesalers even place business-to-business ads on billboards in popular business districts. Many large-scale wholesalers produce monthly fliers or catalogs detailing their newest product offerings and send them off to all the retailers on their list.

Step 4.

In your advertisements, offer extended-payment terms to good customers that are concerned about payment time frames. Also offer incentives and special discounts when accounts are paid on time. Be clear about your wholesale discount rate. For customers who are concerned about quality, offer to send a sample of products at no cost or obligation in your ads. Finally, if a retailer wants faster shipments, clearly state your delivery methods and time frames on the advertisements.


While you want to stay in front of potential retailers with your ads, don't harass them. For example, you might do a cold call. Afterward, send the company a followup letter and a flier advertisement detailing your products and pricing information. Send advertisements on high-quality cardboard stock paper that can't be ripped. This will increase the chance that your ad will be held onto and put somewhere for reference purposes rather than trashed. Send small but useful token gifts to your prospective and current retailers around holidays. Be sure that the items have your logo or company name clearly printed on the front (see Resources). Design and send regular email newsletters to retailer customers updating them on new products.