When clothing distributors are looking for wholesalers and manufacturers to partner with, they’re generally looking for someone who has a clear record of success, someone who has partnered with plenty of retailers and who can reliably, and continually, fulfill new orders and keep product flowing out the door.
Which means that, as a wholesaler or manufacturer for a clothing distributor, it’s critical that you build up your own customer base.
There are many ways of doing this, most of which involve marketing and keeping your sales funnel filled to the brim, but one of the main ways you can do this is by offering impeccable customer service.
Because even if you’re not large enough to be able to offer the lowest prices around (and let’s face it, only the largest wholesalers and manufacturers are going to be able to do that due to the size of their orders), you can still set yourself apart by making your customer’s lives easier.
But online manufacturers and wholesalers operate a bit differently from the wholesalers and manufacturers of yesteryear — in fact, because so much is done online these days, customer service itself has changed in this business.
To Impress Clothing Distributors, Build a Customer Base Through Excellent Customer Service
Part of offering excellent customer service is making the lives of your customers easier.
Because let’s face it, in many cases, even if you’re sourcing your product overseas and getting truly low prices, you’re still not going to be able to give your own customers crazy low prices because you just can’t take orders of the same size as some of the huge, long-established wholesalers out there.
Price just isn’t something you’re going to be able to compete on easily —and even if you can, it’s just a race to the bottom.
It’s not a competition that anyone really wins.
Quality is different. You may be able to compete on quality and build a customer base by building your reputation that way. The downside is that all it takes is some huge wholesaler providing a product of similar quality for a much lower price (which they can afford because of their purchasing power), and suddenly the slightly higher level of quality that you can provide doesn’t look so hot.
Quality is difficult to compete on as well, and while it’s a race to the top, the hill gets exponentially steeper as the competition increases.
This isn’t good for you either.
However, customer service is something you can compete on, and generally speaking, you can do so pretty easily.
Beyond just taking care of your customers, ensuring that their needs are met, and making the ordering and shipping process as simple as possible, you can provide something, in this internet-based world, that sets you apart from the crowd.
You can provide them with a simplified, customized ordering process that makes new and repeat orders from your customers a matter of a few minutes spent online — instead of a complex back-and-forth email-and-phone-call chain (with a few faxes thrown in for good measure).
Make Online Ordering Easy for Your Customers
That’s the feature I mentioned in the title of the article — a customized customer portal that makes online ordering a simple, straightforward process for your customers.
The great thing about having a customer portal is how easily it can be customized. Instead of seeing a generic shopping cart reminiscent of what you might see on Amazon, your customers see a customized order page that’s made exclusively for them.
You choose what products they can and can’t see, minimum order size, the images, styles, and colors that they can order — and you decide if and when these things change as your relationship with your customer develops. This is all displayed automatically, without you having to code or create custom pages like you’d see on Shopify. Instead, it’s an efficient invoice generating process, something your customers are used to and will be happy to see digitized.
Your customer is also able to closely follow each order, to check on delivery status, and to access important order-related documents, many of which can be automatically processed and generated instead of being processed by hand.
This makes life for your customer easier. Your customers can make repeat, simple orders as often as they like with minimal interaction or contact with you — in fact, they can often just train an employee to take care of such repeat orders for them.
This saves your customers time and is an invaluable service that your competitors may not be offering.
Because they can also track the development of each order, your customers will have fewer questions for you and be less likely to be upset or scared that an order is taking too long or in limbo for some reason — they can simply log in and see what’s going on. This saves your office team time as well, which is something they’ll appreciate as your business grows!
From their end, this seems like great customer service. From your end, you’re able to do a little work up front and then let a lot of the process rest in the hands of the customer. This frees up your time to focus on the things you do best, on getting more customers, on forming partnerships with clothing distributors to get even better sales, and on providing a wider range of products for your customers.
Watch This Video of the Customer Portal in Action
To see what your customers would see and how simple Now Commerce makes ordering for them, click the link below to watch several of our demonstration videos. On the page below, you’ll be able to see how Now Commerce also provides a rep portal, integrates with QuickBooks Desktop, and can even be used to send orders to a warehouse.