Finding quality wholesale suppliers
If you want to sell goods online, you need to have stock to sell. For most people this means finding a reliable and cost effective wholesaler to provide the goods they are looking for.
But how do you begin? How do you find these wholesalers? They are out there but they are not always easy to locate. So let's look at a range of methods you can use to unearth all kinds of wholesalers in all kinds of niches.
This is the pot luck method. Sometimes you can search for hours and not find a thing. On other occasions you can type in a keyword, hit the search button and find two or three wholesalers right at the top of page one.
It is important for you to use this method as often as you can. Search results are always changing, so as different companies jostle for position when people look for specific wholesalers, it is possible to find ones you hadn't spotted before.
Firstly, decide on the type of product you want to sell. Think broadly to begin with. Do you want to see clothing, fancy goods, toys, games or car accessories? There are countless avenues to go into so make a choice and then start searching.
The easiest search to perform is [type of product] +wholesalers. This means you will type in something like this:
- Fancy goods wholesalers
- Clothing wholesalers
- Games wholesalers
You get the idea. Try different words and combinations and add wholesalers on the end. Make a note of any that look promising and return to them once you have completed your search. You can also try being more specific with your search, like this:
- Garden ornament wholesalers
- Baby clothing wholesalers
- Nintendo game wholesalers
This will refine the results you get when you search, and it works well if you know exactly what you would like to sell.
Find suppliers on online wholesale portals and directories
If you use one of these wholesale portals or directories you'll find a lot of the hard work has already been done for you. Directories like FinalWholesale have dedicated staff to find suppliers. They spend numerous hours to verify each supplier and do research on them – saving you the trouble of doing the same thing.
Find products you like in shops and look at the packaging
Every product has the name of the supplier – and often a website address too – on the packaging. Whenever you are out shopping and you have time to spare, find a shop that sells the kinds of items you want to sell in your own online store. Check the packaging of any items you like and find the name of the wholesaler or company mentioned.
Memorise it and go outside before typing it into your phone or making a note of it. It doesn't look good if you do this while you are still in the shop!
Visit trade shows
Trade shows can be nerve wracking if you are new, but if you are setting up a business selling online, they are the best source of wholesalers you can find. Imagine stepping into the equivalent of an aircraft hangar packed with wholesalers from all kinds of product niches. It is virtually impossible to visit one of these shows without finding at least two or three wholesalers to start trading with.
It is worth knowing that some will disregard you as being too small for them. Don't worry. There are plenty who will be delighted to have you as a customer. Remember, you are going to be placing orders worth hundreds of pounds if not more with some of these wholesalers. Some will also refuse to sell to eBayers, if you happen to sell on this or another auction site. They are few and far between and eBay is trying to put a stop to it. But there are far more good wholesalers than there are bad and this is the place to find them.
Look at your competition
The last place you would probably think to look for inspiration for your own stock is at your competition. But they can show you all kinds of items that are selling well for them and could sell just as well for you too.
Check their listings or website and see whether you can see any identifying information for the items. This can lead you to the wholesaler they got the item from. It can also be useful to look the item up in the search engines, adding the word +wholesaler to it as you do. Some items are available through more than one wholesaler as well, so even if one turns you down you can sometimes get the stock from somewhere else.
Buy The Trader magazine
Another good source of wholesalers is available from your local newsagents. You will need to go into a branch of WHSmith or somewhere of a similar size to find The Trader, but it is well worth buying a copy. You can also visit their website to find out more wholesaler information. Additionally if you visit a trade show such as the Autumn Fair in Birmingham you can often pick up a copy free of charge.
Some of the wholesalers featured in the publication deal in all kinds of mixed lots, but there are smaller and more focused wholesalers as well. The website has an index to make searching for the wholesalers you want easier, as does the magazine.
Which is the best method for finding wholesalers to use?
All of the above methods work well. It is worth trying all of them seeing which ones work best for you. It may depend on the type of goods you are looking for. You may also enjoy using one method more than another one.
However the best solution is always to use all the methods in conjunction with each other. It is not advisable to stick with just one wholesaler. There is always the chance they will go out of business, put their prices up too high or simply stop stocking the items you want. The trick is to use the above methods to develop a range of about four or five wholesalers that you use on a regular basis. You can always add other ones at a later date, but this should be enough to get you started selling online.