Whether you’ve already established your e-commerce business or you’re hoping to get started this year, one of the most important jobs is going to be sourcing your products. For lots of businesses, this means finding the perfect wholesaler. 

This is such an important job because it impacts your ability to be competitive, deliver great products and to meet customer demand.

So as you can imagine, this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. 

However, with so much to consider, knowing how to find the right wholesalers for your e-commerce business can feel like a challenge. 

The good news is, we’re here to help. 

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the different aspects you need to look out for in the right wholesaler and how you can ensure you find the right provider for your company. 

Read on to find out more.

Understand the different ways that wholesalers operate 

There are several different types of wholesalers out there, and these operate in different ways. Therefore, you need to know what method best suits your industry and business so you can find the right supplier. Some of the different types/ways of getting wholesale products to your business include:

  • Manufacturers – some products can be bought straight from the manufacturer in bulk 
  • Exclusive distributors – this is when a company has the sole right to import and distribute a product in a certain country
  • Regional distributors – regional wholesalers typically offer deliveries of car-sized lots and sell to local wholesalers, who will then sell these products on to smaller businesses in the area
  • Jobbers – these are individuals who make small deliveries to local brick and mortar shops 

Getting a better understanding of what is out there and what works best for your industry is an important place to start. 

Each industry has its own distribution channels and supply chain and understanding yours can help you to find the right wholesale supplier for your online business.

Go directly to the manufacturer 

Buying from a wholesaler can cut into your profit margins to a certain extent, so sometimes, it can be a good idea to remove the middleman and go straight to the manufacturer instead. That being said, manufacturers often have much larger minimum order requirements, making it harder to buy from them if you don’t have a lot of storage space. 

In this situation, you could ask them to provide you with a list of reputable distributors instead so that you can then contact them directly. This will help you to find some of the better wholesalers that stock their products, as recommended by the manufacturers themselves. 

Do some online research 

One of the best ways to find anything in today’s digital world is using the internet, but you need to make sure you get really specific in your online searches if you hope to find the right wholesaler. 

Rather than just searching for generic suppliers, include targeted keywords from your niche or products. For example, you could try using product names, model numbers, or brands to help narrow this down. 

Then, compile a list of the potential wholesalers that you find so you can do a comparison shop and get a feel for what the industry standard prices are. You could also order samples of their products to see if any offer better quality. 

Speak with others in your industry 

The internet has also made it possible to connect quickly and seamlessly with others in your industry. From building a network on LinkedIn to getting involved in industry-specific groups and forums, these can all be great ways to get help and advice when you need it. For example, they’ll be able to advise on topics such as choosing couriers, marketing, trade shows, and more. 

And this includes help with finding the right wholesaler. 

Just be aware that not everyone will be so quick to share their supplier with you, so take your time and build relationships with your connections. This can help to build trust, and over time you’ll meet more people who are willing to help you find the best wholesale suppliers. 

You might also be able to learn of great wholesalers by reading through online forums and existing discussions, where like-minded professionals have already shared their tips and advice. 

Subscribe to trade publications

Following on from the last point, you could also sign up for trade publications as these often include and share advice about your industry. 

While this might have once looked like a weekly or monthly magazine, nowadays, there are plenty of online publications you can get sent straight to your inbox. These can be filled with a wealth of information about businesses and suppliers in your industry, as well as adverts for relevant products, manufacturers, service providers, etc. 

Attend a trade show (or two) 

Trade shows are the perfect opportunity for wholesalers and manufacturers to get their name out there in front of relevant business owners, and they are a chance for you to get to know more about what’s available in your industry. 

By connecting retailers with distributors and manufacturers, they can have in-person conversations and, in many cases, check out some of the products. This gives you the chance to ask questions and to make a more informed decision about which wholesaler might be best for your e-commerce business. 

Don’t be afraid of making a mistake 

Finally, one way to make sure you find the right wholesaler for your e-commerce business is to be open-minded and make sure you’re not put off by the prospect of making a mistake. 

Although it’s not ideal, if you choose a wholesaler in the early stages and later find out they are not a good match, you can change your mind and look for a better supplier. 

So don’t let the fear of making a mistake stop you from making any decisions and getting your business off the ground in the first place. 

Remember, every business decision is a learning curve, and though we prefer to get it right the first time, this isn’t always possible. So, if it takes a little trial and error to get you there, that’s OK too!

If you are looking for affordable e-commerce website design, contact the experts at Awesome Website Guys in Wilmington, NC.


Guest post by Stuart Cooke at NI Parcels, a fast, affordable, and reliable delivery company based in Northern Ireland.