If you’re thinking of starting your own business or setting up a business on eBay & Amazon, chances are that you are wondering what products to sell and where to find them. You don’t need to be a manufacturer to sell at your own physical store or online shop. What you need is to find a wholesale distributor.
But what does wholesale mean and how to find wholesalers? Don’t worry. We’ll cover that. In this article, we are providing 15 ways to find a wholesale supplier, examples of wholesalers and useful tips to begin with.
Let’s first look at how a supply chain works. To put it simply, the manufacturer is the one producing the products they sell to others in the chain since they usually don’t have the time or resources to market those products. Retailers, on the other hand, source their products from wholesale distributors who act as the middlemen in the chain.
If you want to sell products to end customers, you need to find a reliable distributor, who is able to supply you with high-quality goods at low enough prices. Finding a wholesaler may seem challenging so let’s dive into the options.
1. Use a search engine such as Google
Typing some keywords in Google is a good start but have in mind that you will need to go through a lot of pages with search results and the wholesaler you’re searching for probably won’t show up on the first page. This is because most wholesale distributors don’t optimize their websites for Google. So you need to be very patient and persistent and try different search terms such as distributor, supplier, reseller and if you already know what product or product category you’re searching for- add it in the search query. While conducting your research, try to find an e-mail address or phone number so you can contact the wholesaler and receive more information. Try to make a list of wholesalers so you’ll be able to compare prices and conditions and make the best possible choice.
One last tip here is to not make conclusions based on what the wholesaler’s website looks like. Many reliable distributors may be found on poorly designed websites.
So, take a deep breath and start surfing the results pages!
2. Online Supplier Directories
One of the pros of using such directories is that the suppliers you’ll find are fully vetted. They are also organized in lists by product types or market so the search is easier to conduct.
Here are two examples of wholesale directories:
- Wholesale Central is the most well-known directory in the US providing lists of trustworthy suppliers to choose from.
- Worldwide Brands is another directory you can browse to search for distributors. It is one of the oldest directories and you can also use it to generate niche ideas.
- SaleHoo features over 8,000 suppliers. It has an annual price of $67 and includes a 60-day money-back guarantee.
3. Trade shows
If you already know in what industry you want to start selling, it’s a good idea to check local trade shows. In this way, you’ll be able to meet the wholesalers in person, ask them questions and start building a relationship with them.
It will also save you time for waiting to receive a sample of products that you’re interested in and you’ll have an opportunity to close the deal immediately so you might want to consider attending such an event.
Here are some trade shows that are due this year:
“See, touch & feel your next best-seller” at NY NOW as the organizers have said it. The event is taking place on 1/2/2020 – 5/2/2020 and is estimated to gather 3,000 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees. You’ll be able to meet wholesalers in the following categories:
- Apparel & Fashion
- Gifts & Souvenirs
- Home Goods
- Jewelry & Fashion Accessories
If you’re interested in convenience products wholesale distribution industry then Convenience Distribution Marketplace 2020 is the event you don’t want to miss. It will take place on 24/02/2020 – 26/02/2020 in San Antonio, Texas. Attend distributor-focused education sessions, CDA’s annual awards luncheon, and the highly targeted marketplace. You’ll be able to take part in networking and meet top manufacturers, suppliers and solution providers in the following categories:
Manufacturers and Suppliers of Warehouse-Delivered Products
• Candy & Snacks
• Grocery Items
• Food Service Programs & Products
• General Merchandise & HBC
• Packaged Beverages & Dispensed Beverage Programs
• Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products Providers of Industry Solutions
Providers of Industry Solutions
• Logistics, Warehouse & Material Handling Technologies, Solutions & Equipment
• Stamping Technologies, Products & Solutions
• Financial Products & Programs for Distributors
• Data Analytics Programs & Products for Distributors
• Sales, Merchandising & Fulfillment Technologies, Products, Displays & Solutions
Attend SourceDirect at ASD to meet 2,540 exhibitors on Mar 22 – Mar 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Communicate with importers, distributors, wholesalers, designers, sourcing director/managers, and production professionals in the following popular categories:
Clothing, Fashion & Accessories
• Apparel & Footwear
• Fashion Accessories
• Style & Beauty
• Gift & Handicrafts
• Home & Home Accents
• Consumer Electronics
• Volume & Variety
• Cameras, Cases, Covers, Ear Buds, Fans, Headphones, PDA, Tablet, & iPhone Fashion Accessories, Speakers, Watches
Source Service Solutions
• Association/Educational Institution, Logistics: Freight/Carrier Consolidations/Forwarder, Machinery, Sourcing Agency
Hawaii Market Merchandise Expo – April 2020 is estimated to gather 7,000 attendees in Montgomery, Alabama. The featured products are jewelry, gift, apparel, fashion accessories, leather goods, art and collectibles in addition to products manufactured in Hawaii.
Be one of the 800 attendees at the Oklahoma 2020 Super Trade Show to choose from a large variety of products, including many from the Made In Oklahoma Coalition. If that sounds appealing to you, save the date on May 06, 2020.
You would definitely not want to miss The Mississippi Market Wholesale Show which is a FREE event for all pre-registered buyers. Featured are products from the categories: jewelry, art, gifts, apparel, gourmet goodies, and more. The event is taking place on June 4-5, 2020, at the Mississippi Trade Mart in Jackson.
If fishing gear, accessories, and apparel are your things then you probably want to be one of the 15,000 attendees at ICAST 2020 – International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades. It’s being held July 14-17, 2020 in the North/South Building at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
2020 Asia America Trade Show promises to be selling over 150,000 products from Asia, the USA, Canada, China, The Americas & Worldwide. It’s a B2B wholesale multi-product trade show that will take place on 30-31 August 2020 in Miami Airport Convention Center.
Are you interested in the latest developments from the world of organic food, raw materials, and natural products? Network with the organic and natural products community at BioFach America – All Things Organic 2020 on Sep 24 – Sep 26, 2020. The event has a rich history back in time and its last edition gathered 27,000 visitors.
Las Vegas Convention Center is going to welcome best-selling brands to up-and-coming artists at Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show 2020. It is the event to attend if you want to find top-selling souvenir and resort products. The categories include destination, resort and tourist merchandise, souvenirs, t-shirts, beach items, coastal and nautical, lake, mountain and lodge, ski-themed products, logo products, shell items, jewelry/fashion accessories, toys/games and more. This trade show is being held on Oct 07 – Oct 10, 2020.
If you are into the auto parts industry, join 48,000 visitors and meet up with 2,500 exhibitors at the International Exhibition for the Automotive Industry on 03 – 05 Nov 2020. The categories are:
- Auto & Automotive
- Logistics & Transportation
If the fashion industry is your passion consider attending F.F.A.N.Y. New York Shoe Expo. It’s a great event for buyers and sellers to converge and do business. Represented will be 800 women’s, men’s and children’s brands in the footwear category. Meet up with 300 exhibitors on 8/12/20 – 10/12/20 at Warwick New York Hotel and FFANY Member Showrooms.
4. Participating in Online Forums & Communities
In order to find the best wholesale distributor for your new business, you should engage in some networking. Others, who already have experience in the task, are open to sharing some information on the topic so participating in online forums and communities is a great idea.
For instance, join communities on Reddit such as eBay Seller Advice or eBay. Apart from learning from others’ discussions, you may also ask your own questions and get help.
There is also lots of useful information that you can find on Stocklot which is a wholesale online forum. Another option is to have a look on Wholesale Distribution topic on Quora where you can get ideas about niches and products.
5. Contact the manufacturer
Most manufacturers don’t sell directly to retailers but if you contact them they might connect you with the wholesale distributors they work with. Again, you need to know what niche you want to go into in order to find manufacturers. You might also find some that sell directly to retailers in bulk.
6. Do it the old fashioned way
Check local libraries. Many libraries are subscribed to online directories that contain profiles of many manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors. There might be a librarian experienced in business research who can help you plus the directories are regularly updated and you’ll find reliable information.
7. Subscribe for industry publications
An easy way to reach your targeted wholesalers is to look through the ads in trade magazines. The manufacturers or distributors you’ll find there are vetted and waiting for you to contact them.
Stay updated on news regarding your industry and subscribe to trade magazines, online newsletters, relevant blogs, and podcasts.
If you’re thinking of selling on eBay check Where Do eBay Sellers Get Their Merchandise? and subscribe to The Family Pickers to stay informed.
If selling retro products such as Vintage Clothes, Action Figures, and mugs are in your area of interest, you should listen to Chester’s Fashion and Collectibles Podcast.
Flip the Script is another podcast for resellers about resellers by Denali who is a full-time reseller on eBay & Poshmark.
And if you are really serious about eBay join The eBay Community to stay updated about everything related to starting, running and growing your business. There are even a phone number and an e-mail address on their website where you can send your questions to get them answered on the Podcast.
Perhaps buying wholesale and reselling on Аmazon is your focus of attention. Then, stay updated on Amazon seller tips and strategies by following The Selling Family.
Here are some more resources to take the best of:
Luckily, Feedspot has listed Top 10 Trade Magazines & Publications To Follow in 2020 so you can take a look.
8. Attend Amazon Seller events
Since we are on the topic of selling on Amazon, here is another way of finding your future wholesale distributor. Attending Amazon seller meetups, conferences, and trade shows in 2020 is a great start if you’re planning to run your own Amazon FBA business. SellerEngine has listed trustworthy events to attend this year.
9. Participate in a professional network
Being a part of a business network has great sides to it. You’ll be able to reach out to business owners who are experts in different niches. You may ask for recommendations for reliable suppliers. Even if you contact someone who doesn’t know a supplier directly, they may connect you with someone who does.
10. Source directly from the manufacturer
Sourcing your products directly from the manufacturer guarantees that you’ll enjoy the lowest price possible. Also, knowing where exactly your products are coming from ensures high quality in most cases. Keep in mind that usually there is a high minimum order.
11. Importing from a foreign company
Thanks to globalization, it’s now easier than ever to buy from importers or directly from a foreign company. If you decide to do it this way, you must be familiar with all the aspects such as needed documents, shipping time, costs and product lifecycle.
12. Liquidation wholesale
888 Lots central
Buying liquidation pallets on wholesale prices is a great option. Search for liquidation marketplaces and compare prices and terms.
Author’s note: If your wish is to start or expand your business, make sure you check out 888 Lots‘ website. We’re a wholesale company that specializes in liquidation sales and surplus inventory and has the perfect innovative platform that gives buyers access to the best products on the market while providing essential business tools and exceptional customer service.
LinkedIn is a great platform for connecting with professionals. Try typing some keywords in the search or ask relevant questions in a group you belong to.
Here are a few examples of groups which you might find useful:
- Fashion Agents & Distributors
- Distributors of specialty chemicals
- Cosmetic Distributors
- Distributors and Agents
- Wine Distributors / Importers International. Buyers & Sellers.
- Ceramic Tile Decors, Manufacturers and Distributors
- Mobile/Cell phone distributors and wholesalers networking forum
- High Powered Executive Networking: Food & Beverage Distributors – Foodservice & Retail
- Jobs & Market Place: Retail Industry, Wholesalers, Distributors, Exporters, Manufacturers
- TopTenWholesale.com – Wholesale, Sourcing, Closeouts, Trade Shows – B2B
14. Simply read the product label
If you’re searching for a specific product or brand, check the product label for contact information. You might find out who the distributor is. If you don’t find their phone number directly, there should be a website so continue your research on the Internet.
15. Don’t forget to ask your friends
A friend of yours might not be able to connect you directly to a wholesale distributor but they might know someone who is experienced or knows a reliable local wholesaler nearby so don’t underestimate this option.
Finally, don’t get discouraged easily!
It may seem challenging to locate a trustworthy wholesaler but don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Create a list of distributors so you have different options to choose from.
After all, building a relationship with a reliable supplier is the first step to having happy customers!