In a growing sea of general merchandise wholesalers within a multi billion-dollar liquidation industry, companies must find ways to differentiate themselves from their competition to attract prospective customers and keep existing customers coming back again and again. Via Trading, an 8-year-old liquidations wholesaler located just south of Los Angeles California, offers an innovative approach to wholesale purchasing and pioneers the industry with an innovative business model.
Solomayoreo had the opportunity to interview Nathania Stambouli, Marketing Director of Via Trading Corporation, to gain a better understanding of exactly what this company does and how their services differ from other wholesalers in the industry. The company caters to all kinds of business owners from flea market vendors to eBayers, yard sellers, exporters and wholesalers. They are open to the public and do not require buyers to have any type of business license in order to purchase- just an open mind, a willingness to make money and a method of payment. Via is a fully bilingual company, providing services to visitors and customers in Spanish or English. Walking through their 240,000 square foot facility located in Lynwood (just off the 110 and 105 freeways and 15 minutes from LAX airport), buyers will be amazed at the variety of items all under one roof. Customers walk through the isles and browse through thousands of pallets and hundreds of different types of products. The pallets are arranged in neat rows and covered in plastic covers that customers can lift up to see the contents of each pallet. “We set up our warehouse like a giant pallet supermarket,” says Miss Stambouli. “Our objective is for people to be able to walk in, look around, see and touch the product before purchasing it.”
Many wholesalers only offer the option of ordering through a catalog or by viewing samples in a showroom, while Via Trading allows buyers to inspect the actual goods they will be purchasing. “We’re open to the public 6 days a week, and people are always welcome to come in, speak with a representative and find goods that will work for them. Customers come in with their children who can wait in a waiting room while their parents shop, and buyers are also welcome to take the merchandise away with them the same day to save on shipping.” This cash-and-carry approach is one of a kind for a warehouse this size on the West Coast, and is one of the major ways Via attracts its customers.
Via Trading doesn’t only cater to walk-in business however. Their website, www.viatrading.com , displays all of their products and offers visitors information about national and international shipping rates, industry resources with hints and tips on reselling merchandise, and news about the company’s upcoming events. While many wholesalers provide printed catalogs or require a special login to view products and prices online, Via Trading makes this information publicly available to all. “We want our prospective customers to be able to see what’s in stock on any given day, and purchase easily and quickly if they want,” explains Stambouli. In a world where technology is quickly taking over communications, Via Trading is embracing the practicality of a web interface to facilitate interaction with its customers. Via Trading will be launching a Spanish version of their website in the coming months.
Another way in which Via Trading pioneers the industry and offers a completely different buying experience is through monthly events that they hold in their facility. The company puts up 3 events each month including their Live Auctions, 300 Pallet Discount Day and Raffles. Each of these days welcomes upwards of 200 people to their warehouse to participate and take advantage of pricing below what are already very competitive prices. Their monthly Live Auctions feature over 300 wholesale lots put up for bid, with over 200 bidders and no reserve price. “Pallets go for as low as $1 and customers walk away with great deals,” says Stambouli. “Our 300 Pallet Discount Day is also a great way to get even better deals. We line up 300 pallets outside and customers pick the ones they want at a first-come first-served event. We like to present many opportunities for people to see and get their hands on new merchandise for a great price.”
Once a month, they raffle off a flat screen television and two pallets of free merchandise to 3 lucky winners. Participation in the raffle requires a customer to purchase something during the month preceding the event. You may have seen Via Trading’s name before- they are reach out to new prospective buyers using a variety of media including internet search marketing, television, radio and print advertising. In times of economic recession, even large corporations are forced to carefully choose where their advertising dollars are spent, and analysis of an advertising campaign’s returns is integral to a company’s success. “We have been with Solomayoreo for almost 8 years and are pleased with the number of new customers the publication brings us each month,” says Stambouli. “Of all the magazine advertising we do, Solo has been one of the best performing within the Hispanic market.”
A family owned and operated business, Via Trading calls itself a customer experience oriented company. Their entrance features vending machines, free coffee, balloons for kids, a reduced mobility scooter, a touch-screen registration kiosk, flyers with information and resources and friendly receptionists. “We care about our customers’ success. If they have a good experience and make money with our products, they’ll come back and we’ll all be successful.”