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Guides – 
February 13, 2024

How to win new foodservice wholesale customers

Discover how Upstock drives new customer growth and effortlessly connect with thousands of wholesale buyers

Upstock is an extremely powerful tool for winning new customers in large part because it’s populated exclusively with wholesale foodservice buyers, thousands and thousands of them. There are numerous ways Upstock gets your brand and your products in front of those buyers. 

Keep in mind, your existing customers are usually the fastest and easiest way to increase sales. Winning new customers can often require more time, effort and money because you first have to establish a trading relationship and you often need to put effort into nurturing the relationship over time. That’s why we recommend you first check out our guide on increasing orders with your existing customers. 

Lifetime value of a new customer

The major benefit of winning a new customer is the added lifetime value – adding just one new customer usually results in years of increased revenue. If you were to just add one new customer per month the return on investment would be very high. In general, suppliers on Upstock add at least one new customer per month with little effort. 

Upstock is very good at driving hot leads. The more effort you put into nurturing and converting leads, the better your chances of winning more customers every month.

The old saying “you get what you give” applies – the more effort you put in, the better your results will be. 

Reaching thousands of wholesale buyers

Reaching and winning new B2B wholesale customers is very different to your B2C consumers. You probably promote and advertise your brand and products on social media, but those channels are really best suited for reaching consumers. Maybe you advertise in industry websites and magazines, but those are extremely expensive ads that only appear for a very limited time. 

As a marketing channel, Upstock provides a free, always on channel, filled exclusively with thousands of wholesale foodservice buyers. It’s completely free to add your brand and your product catalogue on Upstock – giving you free exposure to the entire network of wholesale buyers. 

There are also additional promotional options on Upstock that are just a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. This includes:

  • Access to our Newsfeed channel where you can promote your products, brand, special offers, product announcements and any other promotions you want
  • Having your brand promoted as a featured listing
  • Having your product promoted in our sample store 
  • Having your brand featured in our monthly email campaigns

The cost for all of that is incredibly low, at only $40/month or less for our Marketplace plan. 

Tell your prospects how to order

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. 

Upstock will provide you with many leads, but you also have leads coming in other ways. Getting those leads into Upstock will improve your ability to nurture and convert them. You likely have various ways you communicate with wholesale prospects: on your website, when you meet them in person, when they contact you by email or phone, perhaps social media and advertising. You should use each one of those opportunities to tell your wholesale customers they should order through your catalogue on Upstock, so they can see the latest products, see what’s in stock, what’s new, and 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.”

Getting new leads

There are several ways those wholesale buyers will discover your brand and products on Upstock:

  • Your brand profile on Upstock – your profile is promoted in multiple different places in Upstock so make sure your brand profile is looking good with high quality images. Make sure your short and long descriptions have all the important keywords that relate to your products and your brand, so when buyers search for something your profile will appear in the search results.
  • Free samples – offering free samples is one of the most effective ways to generate strong leads. Upstock has a free samples store where you can list one of your products. We recommend offering one of your most popular products or a mixed pack, so new prospects can get the best impression. Here are more tips and techniques for offering free samples and converting those leads into customers. 

Nurturing leads – act fast

Getting a new lead is just the start of the process to winning a new customer. Some leads will turn into customers with little effort, but you’ll get much better results with a little bit of effort. 

  • Buyers connecting on Upstock – when buyers want to order from you on Upstock they will first invite you to connect and you’ll receive a notification in Upstock. This is a hot prospect! But they aren’t able to order yet – first you have to approve them. The faster you respond the better your chances to convert. You can just approve them without talking to them, but we recommend calling them first. It gives you a chance to understand more about their business, you can establish a personal relationship, and you can decide if they’re a good fit for your product. Not all prospects are a good fit and you don’t want to waste time and money chasing people who will never become a customer. 
  • Credit card payments – we strongly recommend activating credit card payments in Upstock. Particularly with new customers, this establishes how you expect to be paid and it eliminates the risk of late payments and bad debtors. Buyers increasingly prefer paying by credit card because it reduces their time and effort to manage accounts payable, plus it eliminates their risks of late payment fees, and it ensures a good trading relationship with suppliers. Using a credit card, they still get 30 days to pay, plus they get things like air points from the credit card companies. 
  • Standing orders – putting your new leads on Standing Orders – orders that automatically repeat on a weekly schedule – ensures your leads won’t forget to place their orders. They will get reminders in advance, so your brand is always top of mind.
  • Newsfeeds – by regularly posting to your Newsfeeds you’re getting your products and brand in front of your new leads more often, reminding them to order. We recommend posting to Newsfeeds 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.

Converting leads – follow ups are key

Like seedlings in a garden, new leads can be fragile and need special attention at first. 

  • Add leads to your mailing list – if you don’t already have one, create a mailing list of customers and leads, and send out regular updates, at least once a month. Make sure to add the leads from Upstock to your mailing list. 
  • Regular check ins – call, email, text or go see new leads on a regular basis, about once per month. Specifically ask them for feedback about your product – what do they think, what do their customers think, how did it go with receiving the deliveries. Ask them about their business, how it’s going, what’s working well and what isn’t. Show that you care and you’re keen to make them happy. Of course, this is a great way to genuinely get feedback about your product to help you improve your offering, and also the perfect way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the market – which is changing constantly.