Tea wholesalers are an important, if sometimes overlooked, segment of the loose leaf tea business and they add significant value to the tea marketing and distribution process.
Tea wholesalers add value to the efforts of tea suppliers by reselling tea and adding value added products and services. Wholesale customers include hotels, restaurants, retail/grocery outlets, and coffee bars/cafes
The value that tea wholesalers add is significant. For example:
Hotels provide high quality loose leaf tea to guests in rooms, room service, spas and restaurants.
Restaurants complement high quality meals with good tasting fine tea either in ice tea or after dinner hot tea.
Retail/grocery outlets present quality tea products in an attractive and convenient display
Tea rooms, coffee bars and cafes add tasty food and comfortable surroundings to the tea experience
It is important to understand that a wholesale relationship should include more than a catalogue and a discounted price list and should offer additional benefits to the qualified wholesaler. A comprehensive package of services supports the role of the tea wholesaler and the value they add to the tea distribution process.
Services and benefits to the wholesaler should include quality of product, quality of support services and volume pricing.
The supplier of tea must provide the highest quality, best tasting tea on the market since this will attract and keep more loyal customers to the wholesaler. Wholesalers should deal with a supplier whose brand has a reputation for consistent quality. Suppliers who cup every imported chest of tea add considerable value.
Providing the wholesaler with dedicated customer support offers the benefit of a dedicated representative to help with orders, track shipments, provide billing support etc. This aspect of customer service creates long term benefit to both suppliers and wholesalers.
As an integral part of a long term relationship the suppler should offer the wholesaler multiple-tier wholesale pricing. Aggressive pricing provides the wholesaler greater profits through larger volume based discounts.
In addition, some suppliers offer auto-adjusting price levels that reward higher volumes from the wholesaler in real time and wholesale status indicators that remind the wholesaler when it is getting close to the next wholesale level.
Those suppliers with state of the art e-commerce sites provide automatic retrieval of past orders that save the wholesaler significant time when re-ordering. In addition these sites often support auto recurring shipments that save time and effort and avoids ordering errors.
In addition comprehensive order history lookup on e-commerce sites is an attractive option because this feature avoids ordering and billing confusion.
Finally, some supplier sites offer unlimited shipping locations per order and single point of billing for multiple locations.
The wholesaler affiliation with the tea supplier is very important because of the value added nature of the relationship. A total package of services that support the wholesaler will pay dividends in the future.