In the United States, wholesale distribution is a trillion-dollar industry with a whopping annual sales of $7 trillion and 3 lakh plus companies being part of it.
The wholesale industry is said to be one of the steadily growing profitable businesses in the B2B eCommerce space. Pandemic has given wholesale eCommerce the much-needed boost.
Having said that, looking for wholesale suppliers can be quite a daunting task. But, you need not worry, we have got your back covered. We have enlisted 10 useful ways that can make your search for wholesale suppliers a smooth sailing experience.
- 1 Finding The Ideal Small Business Wholesale Suppliers
- 2 1. Google Search
- 3 2. Search on Top eCommerce Supplier’s Website:
- 4 3. Have a Thorough Understanding Of Modes Of Distribution
- 5 4. Try Contacting the Manufacturers
- 6 5. Attend Trade Shows-Locally and Internationally
- 7 6. Get Subscribed To Trade Publications:
- 8 7. Make Sure You Have Productive First Meeting
- 9 8. Search for Wholesale Lots on eBay
- 10 9. LinkedIn
- 11 10. Join Professional Networking Groups
- 12 Keep Trying, Don’t Get Dejected
Finding The Ideal Small Business Wholesale Suppliers
When you are a small business trying to scale up, you are very cautious and driven in building your business.
You consciously try to make the right decision so that it makes your business not just profitable, but sustainable too. In the initial days, you might work with one or several wholesale suppliers but you are essentially looking for a wholesale supplier that:
- Understand your business needs
- Offers Affordable pricing
- Geographic availability which serves your region of distribution
- Genuine and Reliable
These are the key factors you may look at while selecting a wholesale supplier. Once you are well aware of your business needs such as detailed product specifications, you can then efficiently search for your ideal wholesale supplier.
1. Google Search
The first instinct of any B2B business owner in the eCommerce space looking for wholesale suppliers would be to explore on google.
We think it might be easier to find wholesale suppliers by googling but the truth is, it is not that simple. Most of the suppliers don’t keep their website updated in terms of SEO and thus it becomes challenging to find the right match when looking for wholesale suppliers. You may have to play around with the keywords a little bit, like adding a specific product you are searching for with the geographic location you want it in.
Don’t get dejected by this, as there are various reputed eCommerce suppliers, drop shippers, eCommerce wholesale suppliers and distributors.
2. Search on Top eCommerce Supplier’s Website:
Now that the first step of exploration is out of the way, the other one of the most popular ways for selecting wholesale suppliers for your online store is searching on an eCommerce supplier’s website.
We are sure you are probably wondering-
How does wholesale work?
How to set up wholesale accounts?
How helpful are eCommerce wholesale suppliers?
The answer to all these questions revolves around one common key point- your business.
It depends on your business requirements and your products. You need to have a very clear and thorough understanding of your business.
The wholesale eCommerce works similarly to the wholesale B2C business. The demand for wholesale eCommerce has grown immensely during the pandemic. There are various things you need to have clarity on before you search for a small business wholesale supplier such as-
Do you want the products to be drop-shipped or
Do you want the wholesale products to be sold by you or
Do you want to sell the products under any private label?
Either way, the top eCommerce wholesale suppliers will be quite helpful in selecting the wholesale suppliers that you have been looking for your small eCommerce business.
The names of some top eCommerce suppliers are Alibaba/AliExpress, Salehoo, DHGate, and Tundra. If you are looking for dropshipping wholesale suppliers, the prominent ones in the eCommerce space are namely- Printful, Alidropship, Spocket, and Worldwide Brands. These are very reputed and trusted eCommerce suppliers and without a doubt will be very helpful in scaling up your small business.
3. Have a Thorough Understanding Of Modes Of Distribution
There are several ways in which wholesale works to know it better you must understand the industry and the modes in which it operates. There are different modes of distribution of the products to name a few – manufacturing, distributing, jobbers, etc.
To find the right wholesale supplier for your business, you must know your industry’s mode of distribution.
Majorly there are 3 important modes of distribution:
- Manufacturer: For certain products, you can directly buy from the manufacturers.
- Distributor: There are various types of distributors and each plays a unique role in terms of the responsibilities they have. An exclusive distributor sells the products to retailers or small wholesale retailers. The wholesale retailer then sells the products to the local stores. Similarly, the regional distributor sells the products to a small business or wholesale suppliers, who in turn sell the products to stores, but the difference lies in geographic distribution. Regional distributors distribute the product locally, to local small businesses or wholesale suppliers.
- Jobbers: Jobbers are people who make deliveries daily to the local retailers.
These are the general modes of distribution in an industry. Each industry has a unique way of distribution depending on the product and region. So, research thoroughly and work your way around it. Initially, it might cost you higher, but as you get accustomed to the process and as the volume of your products increases with time, the cost will get lowered too.
Understand how the mode of distribution works in your industry and if you could bypass any middlemen and go to the manufacturer or distributor directly and avoid the overhead costs.
4. Try Contacting the Manufacturers
The way a particular industry works is highly subjective. In any circumstance, if you come in direct contact with manufacturers it is a profitable deal as there is no intermediate step.
If the manufacturer has the provision of selling the products directly to you, you can end up saving a lot of time and money. It will also help you in cutting some competition and positioning you in a better place in the market. But, be careful and make sure that the products they have match your criteria of requirements. Check the quality, price, and other specifications that are a must-have for you, only then proceed to seal the deal.
In case their minimum order requirement stands as something you can not match or they do not sell directly to small businesses, you can ask them about the distributors they sell to and contact them. This will limit the number of people you will have to contact and save up a considerable amount of time.
5. Attend Trade Shows-Locally and Internationally
Attending the trade shows can open up new avenues for your business. In trade shows, there are manufacturers, retailers, distributors, basically people from all walks of business.
Networking with them can give you many contacts that can be helpful while selecting wholesale suppliers. Actively networking and engaging in the trade shows can prove to be very insightful in your search for eCommerce wholesale suppliers.
Since you are having face-to-face conversations you can avoid any kind of miscommunication that can happen otherwise. Do not restrain yourself by attending just local trade shows, attend international trade shows as well. There are even online trade shows that keep happening once in a while.
Active networking can not only help you find eCommerce wholesale suppliers faster but also give you a variety of options to choose from. It is also helpful for your business in the future.
6. Get Subscribed To Trade Publications:
Getting yourself subscribed to a trade publication can be a game-changer in your search for wholesale suppliers. Trade magazines have a plethora of information about various manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and wholesale suppliers.
Staying updated by referring to trade publications, newsletters, and blogs across the internet on a daily or weekly basis can be quite helpful in selecting a wholesale supplier for your small business.
7. Make Sure You Have Productive First Meeting
When you have enough contacts from online dictionaries, top B2B eCommerce websites, and networking through trade shows, you should now make the first move by contacting them.
Before you have the first meeting, make sure you are ready with all the requirements. You should have a checklist of all the things that you are looking for in a wholesale supplier.
Some essential things you must look out for are:
- The minimum order requirement they have
- Their prices for bulk quantities
- The geographic locations they supply in
Remember, you are looking for a small business wholesale supplier to grow your business. So, communicate with that clarity. Be genuine and keep things transparent. If you are still at the research stage and are looking at other competitors, make sure they know about that too. It might give you the possibility of bargaining the prices and this might prove to be immensely helpful since you are just starting.
8. Search for Wholesale Lots on eBay
eBay is a B2C and C2C eCommerce business. Since it caters to the needs of retailers with lower product volumes requirement, it might not be quite helpful in your journey of looking for a wholesale supplier. But, eBay can act as a starting point for your small business to enter the eCommerce world.
The way the eCommerce dynamic is changing it might be a possibility that you find certain distributors here who can act as wholesale suppliers to your small business. You can find them on eBay and contact them to know whether they can be of some help or can provide you with any leads.
Linkedin is the top-ranked professional networking platform. It is the most used platform by professionals across the globe. Every business mandatorily has its presence on LinkedIn.
You can look for wholesale suppliers by connecting with various professionals in your industry and networking. You can also make use of the SEO of the platform by trying out all the relevant keywords.
10. Join Professional Networking Groups
When you are part of professional networking groups through any or all the mediums out there, you are most likely to stay updated. In business, it isn’t a secret that engaging activities can provide you with contacts that benefit your business.
Strengthening your professional connections can help you find the wholesale supplier more easily in less time. Since you are connecting with the supplier through a network, the source is credible and at a reasonable rate.
Keep Trying, Don’t Get Dejected
When you are starting and growing your small business it can get tough to be resilient after trying for some time and still not getting the expected results.
You should appreciate the progress and not get pressured to attain perfection.
Having a perfect system and supply chain in place is a journey, which comes with experience and time. Your first wholesale supplier need not be the last. It is just the entry point, you eventually will find more as you progress and finally land up with one you want to work for long term. So, do not get dejected and keep on trying.