Having a good relationship with your suppliers can do wonders for your bottom line. You’ll get better service – and you’ll be able to offer a more consistent experience for your customers.
The challenge here is securing the best suppliers – and keeping a good relationship with them. One slip and they could take their business elsewhere easily. There are thousands of eCommerce sellers, all looking for the best suppliers.
Our list of how to manage eCommerce seller relationships:
1. Be Professional
When approaching a supplier, they’ll need certain documentation or information about your business. Things like a Federal Tax ID, banking information, a company website, a state seller certificate and more.
Make sure your business is structured correctly before you approach a seller, or it may damage your reputation (suppliers often have supplier buddies, and they like to talk).
But if you have all this information at the ready – perhaps on one easy to follow sheet – you’ll appear more professional and the supplier will be more likely to work with you.
2. Pay On Time – Every Time
Prioritize your supplier payments. If you’ve secured a few great suppliers, don’t let them slip through your fingers. Your competition is ready and waiting to steal your suppliers.
Make sure your payments are on time always. And if, for any reason, a payment could be late – let them know beforehand.
But do try to avoid late payments at all costs.
3. Communicate Effectively
When it comes to invoicing, communicating payment dates, etc. – communication is key. Keeping an open channel of communication with your suppliers is vital to keeping a healthy relationship.
From keeping payment details up to date to letting your suppliers know in enough time that a payment may be delayed, communication should be a priority. Especially for your international suppliers.
And remember, nothing beats face-to-face communication. So if you can fly out and meet your suppliers, do.
4. Add Value
Any eCommerce seller can maintain on-time payments and communicate effectively. But what’ll set you apart as a seller more than anything is to add value to your supplier.
Instead of just asking them for a catalogue and ordering accordingly, schedule a meeting and have a chat with them. Get to know their business a little and see where you may be able to add extra value to their business.
If you can add value outside of just paying them on time, you’ll build a strong, valuable relationship with your supplier.
5. Be Honest, And Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
Don’t just give your business to any supplier. If you’ve done an assessment of their business and you can’t add much value, be honest about it. Don’t promise anything you may not be able to deliver.
And if you ever feel that you may not be a good fit with a certain supplier, say so. Don’t feel pressured to take on a supplier simply for the sake of securing a supplier.
You are the client, after all. And there are many great suppliers out there. So keep a clear head and don’t be overhasty.
Offer A More Consistent Experience To Your Customers
When you keep your suppliers happy, you’ll get top-notch service. Which will make your life a lot easier. For example, you may be able to put in a smaller than usual order on a bad month. Or get your returns handled quicker.
Whatever the case, a good supplier relationship is valuable to all sellers. You’ll even be able to deliver a more consistent experience to your customers.
So use the above tips and keep those suppliers happy. And if you have any additional tips or comments, feel free to let us know below.
The Algopix Team