To be a great seller, you need to offer the right products. And to carry great inventory, you need to create and maintain relationships with great suppliers.
This is no easy task, because solid connections are built slowly — one deal at a time. What can you do to ensure lasting positive business relationships with your vendors? Here are our top four tips:
The first step to nurturing an effective business relationship is by establishing and maintaining a connection. This means that you should be in touch with vendors regularly. If at all possible, meet in person at your office so that vendors can get a better feel for your business, and visit their offices as well. Share your goals with vendors and ask how they can help achieve those goals. A good eCommerce supplier will likely be able to offer some sound business advice and suggestions.
In addition, you should maintain communication, even when problems arise. For example, let vendors know if their products have received poor reviews so that they can be given the chance to address any issues. The more you make an effort to work together, the more likely vendors will stick with you during challenging times.
2. Pay promptly.
You will be far more likely to build trust with vendors if you respect the conditions that they have set. Be sure to consistently pay your bills fully and on time, so that your suppliers see that you are a reliable customer. Sticking to their rules means that if you ever need a favor from them in the future — for example, a rush order or different payment terms — they will be more likely to help you out.
3. Provide lead time.
Keep your vendors in the loop by informing them early on about new business goals and special promotions. Doing so gives them the opportunity to suggest appropriate inventory for you and to prepare for larger orders. In addition, giving vendors an adequate amount of lead time helps ensure that you remain in stock at all times, which improves your chances of winning the Buy Box. A tool like Feedvisor can provide information about which products need to be replenished and when, allowing you to give an early heads-up to your suppliers. Keeping your vendors up-to-date demonstrates that you value your relationship with them and want to work better together.
Finally, if you have the good fortune to work with an excellent vendor, be sure to refer him or her to other businesses. Doing so is one of the best ways to show your gratitude for a job well done. Suppliers will appreciate this gesture and will stay even more loyal to your business as a result.