Distributor vs Supplier vs Wholesaler Comparison

When setting up a retail store, it is important to understand the differences between distributor and wholesaler. Businesses can use each of these parties to distribute and secure their products. Each one is different in how they participate in product distribution. Knowing the role of a wholesaler, distributor, or supplier is important so you can understand their contribution to your supply chain. You might choose to work with one person over another or how more could be beneficial for your business.

It is not necessary to be confused about who does what when it comes to supplier vs. distributor and wholesaler roles. While a distributor is in direct contact with manufacturers, a wholesaler purchases large quantities of products directly from the distributor. Suppliers include manufacturers, processors, and packagers.

What is the role of a supplier?

A supplier is an individual, or group that acts as the source of goods and services. Sometimes the supplier receives the product from the manufacturer. In some cases, the supplier and the manufacturer are the same. To get the goods they need, a supplier works with wholesalers and distributors. Suppliers are essential for retailers to have access to the products they need. If a business wants to be a B2B company, they might consider working with a supplier. You will likely be selling directly to customers if you work with a supplier.

Although a supplier may be able to manufacture goods or sell them directly to customers or retailers, they lack the necessary resources and channels. Distributors, however, are able to sell their products directly to retailers and wholesalers through the right channels. The distribution process is facilitated by suppliers, who ensure that other parties have the right goods and services they need. The supplier is the most important person in the supply chain. There will usually be at least one intermediary between the retailer and the supplier. After packaging and producing their products, suppliers can’t move their products forward. They need the support of a distributor in order to get their products out.

Working with a supplier

Your business may work directly with a supplier for a variety of reasons. Your business may need the supplier to supply raw materials for your products. Or, it might be a distributor of goods. You need to learn how to choose the right supplier for your company before you can work with them. You must also know how to communicate with them and get the best out of your business relationship.

You can only work well with suppliers if you fully understand their business and what they can do for you. You will have a better relationship if you don’t make unreasonable demands. Communication between suppliers and you is another important aspect to consider. Communication problems can lead to many problems. It is important to keep your communication channels open.

If you want to make the most of your relationship with suppliers, it is essential that you choose the right supplier. These tips will help you find the right suppliers for your company.

  • You should look for suppliers who offer the lowest price but not all of your attention on the cost.
  • You can trust suppliers with positive reviews and testimonials about being punctual and delivering quality products.
  • You want to choose stable suppliers who have been around for a while so you can be sure they have a good record.
  • When choosing a supplier, consider your location. The closer they are to where you live, the sooner you may be able receive your goods.

Examples of suppliers

A variety of businesses can be considered suppliers, such as processors and packagers. They could supply raw materials to manufacturers, small-scale makers, and crafters. A timber company, for example, could supply a carpentry shop with raw materials. The supplier might also make or prepare products for distribution to distributors. Therefore, the carpentry company itself could be considered a supplier.


A distributor is the intermediary between the supplier’s wholesaler and retailer. Distributors are the ones who provide retailers with the necessary information to enable them to purchase the products or services they desire. They distribute products to the people who want them to sell them. Distributors often sign an exclusive buying contract that limits the number of people who can sell the goods. Distributors may also be responsible to a particular geographic area. They act as liaisons and require them to stay in that area. Distributors can often assist with international shipping and distribution for companies. Distributors might be responsible to distribute products to specific countries or regions.

Although they may sell directly to customers, distributors don’t often sell products directly. Distributors are more likely work with wholesalers, but they can also sell directly to retailers. Distributors are responsible for selling products to consumers. Distributing products is not enough. The distributor must also replace damaged products to retailers or wholesalers and provide reliable customer service to all entities they distribute to.

Distributors use a variety of distribution channels to locate the right wholesalers or retailers. They are an important link between the market, the consumer, and distributors. The goods are then sent to the distributor, who can continue the distribution process to wholesalers or retailers. They can connect with customers and sell products to them using the marketing strategies and tools they have.


A distributor could be a manufacturer, supplier, wholesaler, or retailer for your business. A distributor can help a business grow by allowing them more distribution or expanding the range of products they sell as a retail partner. Distributors can help you get your products on shelves at retailers or sell them directly to wholesalers. This will ensure that your products are purchased by these retailers. They will be your customers, as they will be directly selling to you. However, they will also want to learn how you market your product to wholesalers, retail, and consumers.

There are several things you can do to make sure you have a great business relationship when you’re looking for the right distributor for your products.

  1. You must have your product ready for the market. It should be available for sale.
  2. Understand your distributor. You will be selling products to them, so it is important to get to know them and to prepare your products correctly.
  3. Find your target market and make sure you select a distributor who can sell to it.
  4. Refer to references – When choosing a distributor, getting references from retailers at trade shows is a great way to help you find the right one to work with.

Examples of distributors

Depending on the goals of your company, there are many types of distributors you can choose from. Intensive distributors allow companies to quickly cover large areas of territory. Exclusive distributors can be the sole distributor in a particular region. Direct distributors sell directly into stores. Selective distributors enable brands to be more specific about the markets where their products will sell. Distributors can help food and beverage manufacturers get their products onto the shelves at local supermarkets. They could also help fashion designers find wholesalers to sell their products.


Wholesalers buy large quantities of a product and then sell them to retailers. Although they often buy direct from distributors, they may not buy directly from the manufacturer or supplier. Wholesalers can save money by buying large quantities of products and getting discounts from distributors. Wholesalers often buy bulk and sell bulk which allows them to offer lower prices. Wholesalers will usually require businesses to register with them to make sure they are purchasing as a business, and not as consumers. They might also be more selective about the people they work with. Wholesalers do not have direct contact with customers. Wholesalers sell products to retailers at wholesale prices, which will make them a profit selling the product at retail.


To distribute your products to consumers and retailers, your business may work with wholesalers. Wholesalers are also useful if your business is a retailer owner. They can even help you secure materials if wholesale supplies are purchased. You won’t likely have direct contact with wholesalers if you work with a distributor to market your products. You also have the option to work directly with wholesalers. If you plan to sell directly to retailers, it is important that you have both a wholesale and retail price when developing a product. Some small businesses may sell directly to retailers, especially if they are working with other small businesses.

There are many factors to consider when looking for the right wholesaler to sell your products. First, find the wholesaler that suits your brand. While many wholesalers specialize in one industry such as fashion, food, and drink, others may have a wider range. You should choose a wholesaler who is familiar with your industry and targets retailers who are looking for similar products to yours. Wholesalers may also sell directly to the public, in addition to selling products to businesses. It is up to you to decide whether you prefer a wholesaler who sells directly to customers or one that sells to businesses.

Wholesalers will pay wholesale prices for your products. Wholesale and retail prices have different markups, but wholesale sales allow you to sell more products at once. Wholesalers can get your products to retailers and into stores.

Examples of wholesalers

Wholesalers can be of many types in product distribution. Wholesalers may sell directly to consumers. They might also require members to purchase products. This includes brands like Sam’s Club which sell directly to the public. Wholesalers also sell products to businesses, and they ask them to register the businesses. Wholesalers may also include online marketplaces like AliExpress and Parisian, a UK fashion brand.


Distributors, wholesalers, and suppliers don’t always fit in the same place. There is however a common order in which they are placed in the distribution chain. Businesses can understand the distribution process of products to help them set up the right product lines, and get the best results when selling their products.

As you can see, each party is involved in the product distribution process.

  • Distributors are supplied by suppliers who are at the top end of the chain.
  • Distributors buy products from suppliers to sell them wholesalers or retailers.
  • Distributors sell products to wholesalers who then sell them to retailers, or even directly to consumers.
  • Wholesalers and distributors are the best sources for retail customers.

You should also remember that sometimes one party may act as more than the other. It all depends on the size and nature of the business. Distributor or wholesaler might also be an option for a manufacturer. Some businesses may choose to sell directly after they have manufactured their products and not through intermediaries. Suppliers and retailers will not have direct contact because they don’t have the resources. The logistics and finances required to deal directly between retailers and suppliers are not usually available to them. Suppliers don’t have the structures or channels that would allow them to do so.

Distributors make a lot of money selling to wholesalers, which is why you might be curious about how they make their profits. Distributors typically make a percentage of the revenue stream. Distributors make money depending on how many units they sell. A distributor might make $100 per 1,000 units of a product they sell. They can sell more units by working with wholesalers. This is both a benefit for them and for the suppliers. It also provides a steady source of revenue.

Wholesalers and distributors are a benefit to retailers as they have access to a wider range of products than they would if they tried to source each product individually. Distributors are a great way for manufacturers and suppliers to get their products to retailers and wholesalers. Although some large businesses may handle distribution, it is not always possible for smaller businesses to do so while managing manufacturing, marketing and other important aspects of their business.

Finding the right distributor is often the first step for businesses looking to increase their sales and create additional revenue. A distributor is someone who can help you find wholesalers or retailers quickly and get your products to stores. Wholesalers, suppliers, and distributors are all important parts of the product distribution process. They might be able help you in different ways. It is easier for businesses to develop a distribution plan if they understand how each of these parts fit together.


The right distributor can help you distribute your products and manage your orders. It is important to find a distributor who understands your market and your customers. It shouldn’t take long to find the right distributor for your product. This is not something that your company should do on its own. It will be much easier to identify the differences between distributor and wholesaler.