Our Glossary Guide to Wholesale Terms and Language

When you’re trying to learn about any topic, including buying wholesale clothes for your retail clothing business, it can be difficult if you’re not starting with the basics simply because all the different terms can be confusing. Understanding the terminology and what’s involved with purchasing wholesale products can be helpful, especially before placing your first order. Let’s discuss some language you’ll hear and basic wholesale terms that can help you discover more about the process.

  • Account – You typically need to set up an account on the wholesaler’s website before buying products in bulk. The sign-up process usually involves providing documentation and business and personal information.
  • Back-order – When items are back-ordered with the wholesaler, they’re not currently in stock; therefore, you won’t be able to get them shipped to you then. Depending on the wholesaler’s policies, you may be able to request the back-ordered items at that moment, and they’ll ship when they come in, or you may have to wait to place an order for those items until they’re back in stock.
  • Blank – Wholesalers generally sell blank clothing items, also known as “blanks,” meaning they come with no design. Therefore, giving you a chance to customize the blanks with your custom design if you choose to do so, or you can sell them as is.
  • Bulk – refers to a large quantity, such as buying many Bella + Canvas wholesale zip-up hoodies.
  • Collection – A collection on a clothing wholesaler’s website is usually considered a cohesive grouping of apparel that relates to and complements each other, typically by one brand/designer for a particular season.
  • Drop shipping – The process of drop shipping is done entirely online and involves being a connection to fulfilling orders for customers for inventory that’s not in your possession. A customer places an order via your storefront, which you then forward to a supplier who sends the products out to the customer.
  • Exchange policy – A wholesaler will have an exchange policy on their site indicating their terms if retailers want different items instead of the ones they originally ordered. It’s typically connected to “returns,” as in a “Returns and Exchange Policy.”
  • Features are often displayed on individual product pages and involve unique aspects of a particular item. For example, a sweatshirt might have features like a pouch pocket, drawstrings, hood, and certifications.
  • Inventory – The entire combination of a business’ production materials and finished items to sell at that moment or in the
  • Keystone – The method of keystone wholesale pricing involves doubling the wholesale price for a product to come up with a retail price for resale.
  • Markup – The markup is added to the wholesale cost to determine the price retailers sell products for in their stores or online.
  • MOQ – The MOQ, or the minimum order quantity, is the minimum number of items a wholesaler states a retailer needs to buy in one order to allow that order to ship.
  • MSRP – MSRP stands for the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. As the name indicates, it’s the suggested selling price that a manufacturer provides retailers regarding a specific product.
  • Net payment terms – A wholesaler’s net payment terms indicate how long you have to pay for the items you get within a particular order. For example, Net 60 refers to 60 days.
  • Order status – It indicates the stage of the process a particular order is in between when you requested it and when it arrived. Therefore, find the order status of a wholesale order on your wholesale account.
  • Private label – Private label involves a third party creating products that will fall under the brand of a specific business/retailer.
  • Retailer – A retailer is a business (or individual) that sells products and goods to consumers.
  • Samples – Chances are you’re already familiar with the concept of samples. However, when it comes to wholesale clothing, it involves the wholesaler offering (usually) one item of a particular product, typically for a small fee, so the qualifying purchaser can examine the clothing item in person before potentially making a bulk purchase order.
  • Size chart – Many already know what a size chart is, but with wholesale, paying attention to it before placing an order is incredibly important, making it a term worth mentioning. A size chart is typically part of each product description and will showcase details such as the letter/number size and measurements specific to that particular item on the page. Sizes may not be identical from one wholesale product to another, even if the apparel is similar, so it’s essential to check each size chart carefully.
  • Tri-blend – You may see the term “tri-blend” in product descriptions mentioning fabric composition. It’s a fabric consisting of three individual materials in specific percentages: 25% cotton, 50% polyester, and 25% rayon.
  • Unworn means that a purchased product is in its perfect original sellable condition. It is typically one of the stipulations associated with a returns and exchanges policy. A product with apparent wear will likely not qualify for a return or exchange.
  • Wholesale – Wholesale is the process of buying items in bulk/large quantities as a way to get a discounted price. Then, resell those goods to consumers through a website or retail store. For example, if you have a clothing store, you could buy wholesale items like jeans, skirts, or shirts and resell them through your store for a profit.

The terms mentioned above and the language are only the beginning of what you should know when you’re interested in buying wholesale clothing. Understanding the wording can assist you in browsing for products on a wholesaler’s website, researching, ordering through their website, or with a customer service representative. The more you know about wholesale, the more confident it may help you to feel through every stage of the process.

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