Wholesaler decision-making process

July 29, 2015By Behind the Shelf Blog, Future of Retail

by Dave Wendland

Perhaps at one time – many, many years ago – manufacturers introducing new items could meet with drug wholesale buyers and convince them to bring product(s) into their inventory. Warehouses were big, and the idea of being a one-stop solution to the retail customers served made all the sense in the world.

Today, the tide has more than shifted. SKU rationalization, discerning decisions about the products that truly meet the needs of retailers, and more focus on selling through rather than simply carrying a wide range of products prevail.

Not unlike traditional retail buyers, wholesalers now carefully scrutinize each product introduction to determine its potential performance through the lens of retailers they supply. Here’s a quick summary of what I feel wholesalers want from potential suppliers as they evaluate hundreds of potential new items:

Timeliness of introductions – notification and product availabilitysell it all the way through

Wholesalers do not want to be disadvantaged by untimely introductions or last-to-market availability. To be successful, manufacturers should plan ahead and build in additional time to allow for distribution to and through the wholesale warehouses.

Program support – advertising and promotion to generate turns

Moving a product into inventory without a plan to sell it all the way through to the consumer is a losing proposition. Instead, put together a thoughtful strategy that includes optimal placement and educational support for the retailer, plus a solid promotional plan that will drive consumers to that subset of retailers supplied by the wholesaler. Without this strategy to move product all the way through to the consumer’s shopping basket, manufacturers will not earn space in the warehouse.

Product parameters that match their customer profile(s)

One size does not fit all. Build rationale around the type of retail operation that will be best-suited to bring the new product onto their store shelves. Set realistic expectations and work to help the wholesaler succeed by placing the item in the most productive settings.

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