Why focus on existing customers?
In addition to selling more to existing customers, winning new customers is also very valuable and results in lifetime revenue expansion. Upstock also helps with new customer expansion and there’s a separate guide to help win new customers. But landing and converting new customers generally takes more effort, time and money than expanding existing customers.
With existing customers you already have an established trading relationship, you already vetted them, and they already know and trust your brand – all the hard work is already done.
Disadvantages of your old price list
In the past, wholesale customers would typically get your price list as a static document of some kind – a print out, a PDF or a spreadsheet with your wholesale products and pricing. When customers ordered, they would type an email or a text saying something vague like “We need more soda”. Then you probably would have written the orders down in a diary, then copied that to a spreadsheet, then created an invoice.
Sounds easy right? It’s definitely not.
That’s how miscommunication and mistakes happen – how time and money gets burned up.
- Which soda, the lemon or the lime? A 6-pack or a 12-pack?
- When do you need it? Which location?
- Assumptions are made – mistake
- Items are misunderstood – mistake
- Orders are written wrong – mistake
- Negotiated prices are forgotten – mistake
- Your admin time is spent rewriting each order several times – mistake
That’s an enormous amount of time and money wasted to do just one order! Multiply that across all your orders. Then add the expense of getting it wrong, plus the stress of getting it wrong, plus all the waste for both you and your customer.
Other major problems of the old catalogue document:
- A paper or PDF catalogue is out of date almost immediately
- It can’t tell customers what is or isn’t in stock
- Customers look at your catalogue document one time, pick what they want, then never look at it again
Advantages of a digital catalogue
Having a digital catalogue is a game changer. When wholesale customers have access to your digital catalogue they tap a few buttons to place their own order, using your live data. They have instant access to order from your entire catalogue, anytime, anywhere, 24/7.
- Massive reduction in admin time – your team no longer needs to track and re-key emails, phone calls, text, DMs into orders. With Upstock your customers key in their own orders, so all you need to do is approve and ship their orders.
- Full accuracy on orders – since customers order directly from your digital catalogue on Upstock everything is keyed by them, exactly as they want it, using your precise product data
- Increased sales – with a digital catalogue in their hand at all times, customers order more variety, more often – the fastest, easiest way to increase sales is selling more to your existing customers
Upstock helps you increase orders to existing customers in multiple ways:
- Increasing order frequency – customers order more often thanks to Standing Orders, Newsfeed promos, easy access to your full catalogue
- Increasing basket size – customers increase the number of items they add to each order thanks to Minimum Order Values, Newsfeed promos, easy access to your full catalogue
- Increasing catalogue sales – customers order a wider variety of your products from your catalogue thanks to easy access to your full catalogue, Newsfeed promos, and being able to order samples
You ultimately want all your wholesale customers entering their own orders into Upstock – that’s one of the biggest ways to reduce your admin time, as well as reducing the costs and effort to fulfil orders. It also eliminates all the expensive errors that happen due to misunderstandings and miscommunications.
In a moment, we’ll explain different ways we help you get your customers using Upstock to place their own orders.
For now, let’s focus on some relatively easy ways to increase orders with your existing customers.
Increasing order frequency
To get existing customers ordering more frequently, you need your products and your brand to be top of mind.
Simply being on Upstock gives your brand increased visibility with your existing customers:
- They have your entire catalogue in their hands – making it easier to order whenever they need to top up
- Whenever a customer opens Upstock the first thing they see is their Newsfeed, so make sure you’re regularly posting to Newsfeeds
- Every time a customer goes to place an order, your brand appears in their list of suppliers
- Your brand will also appear in various email updates we send to buyers
There are several other powerful and easy ways to make sure your brand is top of mind in Upstock:
- Standing Orders – putting customers on Standing Orders – orders that automatically repeat on a weekly schedule – ensures your customers don’t forget to place their orders. Your customers will get reminders in advance, so your brand is always top of mind.
- Last Order Date – when you view your Customer list in Upstock, you can sort customers based on their Last Order Date. This helps you identify and contact customers who haven’t ordered in a while. You can also identify customers who aren’t yet using Upstock and easily invite them.
- Newsfeeds – it’s free and easy to promote your products, special deals, offers, and tell your brand story using Newsfeeds in Upstock. It’s very similar to your other social media channels, but better – the audience in Upstock is 100% wholesale foodservice buyers! It’s super simple to post to your Newsfeed and we recommend doing it at least once a week (but no more than once per day). If you have a social media manager we recommend they manage your feed in Upstock – it’s free to invite them to use Upstock.
Increasing basket size
There are multiple ways you can get your customers to add more items each time they place an order.
- Minimum Order Value – when you set a MOV in Upstock, customers are required to increase their order value to complete their order
- Newsfeeds – it’s common to promote specials on items when you want to boost orders – posting to Newsfeeds lets your customers know about your offers, encouraging them to boost their orders
- Samples – by offering free samples, it makes it tempting and easy for customers to try more items, which can turn into long term additional orders and sales
Increasing catalogue sales
Traditionally, most buyers tended to only order a limited number of items from their supplier’s catalogue. Prior to Upstock, it wasn’t so easy to see all your products on offer. Upstock makes your catalogue very easy to access and browse, so buyers tend to discover and order a broader range of your products.
Here are a few ways to get customers ordering more items from your entire catalogue:
- Link to your Upstock catalogue – add a link from your website to your Upstock catalogue, so your customers know that your up-to-date catalogue is available 24/7
- Free Samples – offer free samples of items from your catalogue that your customers might not be familiar with. One easy technique is to add an item to your existing Price Lists called “Free sample” along with the description of what you’re offering and set the price to $0.00
- Newsfeeds – promote items from your catalogue that your customers might not be familiar with on your Newsfeed posts.
Getting all your customers using Upstock
Just like your accounting software, your email software, and your other business systems – Upstock needs to import your customer contact details so you’re able to manage your orders and communications with your customers.
When you first start using Upstock, our team will import your customer contacts for you.
Once you’re setup on Upstock, there are a lot of ways to encourage all your customers to order from your catalogue:
- Customer invite campaigns – we work with you to create email campaigns, these include a customised link for each of your customers to quickly and easily log into Upstock.
- QR codes – some suppliers have sales reps out regularly visiting customers. We provide you with a QR code that your customers can scan to quickly and easily log into Upstock.
- Wholesale page – most suppliers have a Wholesale page on their website. We have an easy code snippet you can add to your site that links directly to your Upstock profile where customers can easily access your catalogue. Simple instructions are here.
- Email signature – a lot of suppliers have great success by adding a link in their email signature to their Upstock profile. Simple instructions are here.
- Shipping slips – when you pack up your shipment add a print out that tells people how to order using Upstock. Here’s a link to the shipping slip for your brand.
- Packing slips – on every packing slip you print from Upstock we include a link to your catalogue.
Tell your customers how to order
You likely have various ways you communicate with wholesale customers: when you meet them in person, when they contact you by email or phone, social media, advertising. You should use each one of those opportunities to tell your wholesale customers they should order through your digital catalogue on Upstock, so they can see the latest products, see what’s in stock, what’s new, what’s on special.
Here’s a simple script you can use:
“We’re now using Upstock to streamline our wholesale orders. Upstock keeps our costs down and we can fill your orders faster. It’s definitely made our lives easier, and we know it will make your life easier too. Upstock is completely free and it only takes a minute to create an account. Here’s the link to our catalogue.”