Wholesaling is an important part of the product distribution channel. It acts as a link between product supply and market demand.
Wholesale suppliers are primarily responsible for providing quality goods at competitive prices to retailers. They purchase directly from the manufacturer and ensure that they reach their intended recipient.
Many start-up online shops find it difficult to find a wholesale supplier. If this is you, you have come to the right spot. We will show you how to find the best wholesale suppliers.
How do you prefer to be fulfilled?
The first step in choosing a supplier to work with is to decide how you want your orders handled. There are three ways to fulfill orders, and wholesale suppliers may offer all three. This is why it is important to consider before you make a decision. Let’s take a look at each of them.
1. Self fulfillment
This is also known as “in-house order fulfillment“, which means that you can complete all of the order process yourself without the help of dropshipping companies or logistics firms. You are responsible for the inventory, packaging, and shipping of the order to customers. To fulfill orders successfully in-house, you will need a warehouse, infrastructure, equipment, employees, licenses, software, and lots of time.
This route has the main advantage that you have complete control over your business, as you can manage stock, branding, and shipping. These are critical elements to your brand reputation because they impact customers experience. This can be time-consuming and costly, depending on the requirements.
This arrangement is feasible for small businesses with a low inventory and a limited workload.
This type of order fulfillment allows the wholesale manufacturer to coordinate everything. They offer storage and can also package and ship the goods directly to the recipient if the order is placed in your shop. The store owner does not have any physical possession of the goods and is not allowed to participate in shipping or management.
Dropshipping is attractive because of its low entry costs. Dropshipping is easy to start with easy access to many products and low overhead costs. Your primary job is to market and get orders.
Dropshipping is a way to avoid losing control over the order fulfillment process. For example, excessively long shipping period, wrong order delivery, defective goods etc. You also have to provide product customization.
3. Fulfillment by third parties
A third-party logistic company is the last option for fulfilling orders. This company is responsible for receiving merchandise from the manufacturer and packaging, labeling and storage. The services offered by specialized companies vary.
Dropshipping is similar to dropshipping. It’s easy to get started with all the hassle of outsourcing warehousing infrastructure, staffing, and process management. This option offers customization, as well as the ability to use your existing networks to obtain better shipping rates and faster delivery, all for the benefit of your business.
Overseas vs Domestic Wholesale Manufacturers
Another important consideration is the choice between an overseas or domestic wholesale manufacturer. Each has its pros and cons, so it is crucial to weigh both and determine which one best suits your company.
An overseas supplier is the best choice if you’re looking for a wider range of products or bulk orders. There are so many options, it’s hard to choose.
Language barrier is a common problem as many of these people are not fluent in other languages. If there is a misunderstanding, this communication gap could cause problems for your business.
International suppliers can be a problem because of the long shipping times. Customers might find this unacceptable and abandon their shopping cart. Quality issues are often a problem with wholesale suppliers from overseas because there is not enough goods verification.
On the other hand, domestic wholesalers allow you to inspect the product quality standards. Locally made products are easier to ship and communicate with, which means there is less confusion during the order process. Local suppliers can be too limited, so you may end up with a small number of suppliers and a restricted range of products.
Five Ways to Find Wholesale Manufacturers or Suppliers
Once you have decided which order fulfillment method you prefer and whether you choose to work with a local supplier or an overseas one, it is time to start looking for them. How do you start your search? Here are five ways to find a trading partner.
1. Online search
Google and Bing are two of the most popular search engines worldwide. They can be used to find almost anything you need. You can search for anything you want, whether you have some names already in mind or are just starting your search. All you have to do is type the term or phrase you desire and you will get all relevant results. You will find great leads and lots of helpful information here.
2. B2B websites
These marketplaces allow you to find suppliers faster by searching for them through a business to business model. These online directories provide listings of wholesale suppliers and manufacturers in all niches. Each profile includes contact information, line of products and reviews. Examples of B2B websites for overseas suppliers include Alibaba and Chinabrands.
Referrals to the best wholesale suppliers and manufacturers can be obtained from fellow traders who have been in the business for some time. Even suppliers that may not be able to provide exactly what you require may be able to point you in the right direction.
Establish relationships with people who are interested in your profession. Although it can be difficult to build a network, it is possible. Start with Linked In. You can also join and participate in group forums that are relevant to your interests. This will help you gain links and get valuable information.
5. Subscribe to our Newsletter
Publications are targeted at retailers. Subscribe to the top industry publications to bridge the gap between your company and wholesale suppliers looking for retailers in their field. Trade shows are also advertised in these publications. You can get a direct connection to wholesalers by attending them. All concerns can be addressed.
Four Selection Criteria for the Right Wholesale Supplier
You’ve already identified potential wholesale suppliers that you could partner with. Next, what? To narrow down your choices to one, there are a few things you should consider.
You want to get the best products for your money, but you also need a trustworthy partner. If you get off to a bad start, your business will likely spiral downwards. These are some highlights that will help you find the right match.
The minimum order quantity (MOQ) is the lowest amount of products that a customer can purchase and still make a profit for the seller. Your market requirements should dictate the minimum order quantity. Manufacturers should be able to adapt their MOQ to meet your needs if it is too low. You can also find a supplier who has a lower minimum order quantity that meets your requirements.
Smooth communication is essential. This promotes accurate information. It is possible when there is no language barrier. English is universally understood and it is recommended that your preferred supplier speaks it fluently. Sites that can be translated to popular languages are an advantage.
It would be great if you could sample every product that you plan to stock. It depends on which wholesale manufacturer this is possible. It is a good way to assess the quality and craftsmanship of the goods. You can also read reviews left by customers. Look for suppliers that vet manufacturer products, and not just sell to make money.
4. Processing of orders
It is important to understand the order process so that you can predict your customers’ experience. You should consider the following areas: payment terms and options, order processing time, warehouse locations, available shipping methods, expected delivery times, and possible delivery delays. These determinants have a significant impact on your store’s reputation.
Additional research tips
You can also search for suppliers by using the NAICS code.
NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System. It covers almost every industry and product that you can imagine. Manufacturers and suppliers might list their products using the NAICS code. This can help you find your suppliers and manufacturers, especially if you use professional directories.
You can find the NAICS directory at your local library, or online. The link to the NAICS Code in the United States and the link to the NAICS Code for Canada are available at your local library or online.
Also, you should ensure that you thoroughly vet any potential manufacturer. After narrowing down your options to a few, you should do more research to ensure they are credible.
To verify that there have been no complaints, check the Better Business Bureau, look at their Facebook page reviews and use the Google search techniques to query the company name + review to find out if there are any red flags.
Requesting a quote
Once you have found the right supplier, it is time to contact them. You’ll be asking the most important question, “How much?” But before you rush to send the supplier your request to quote (often referred to as an RFP), think about what you want to communicate and the questions to ask.
Your chances of getting a reply and correct information can be increased by planning your initial inquiry. These are some important questions you should ask for your email.
What is the minimum order quantity you require?
You also refer to this as a MOQ. It is important to ensure that the minimum order quantity you are able to afford and manageable. The minimum order quantity may vary depending on the product or the supplier. It is important to inquire upfront.
How much do you charge for your sample pricing?
Before placing a full order, you will likely need samples to test. Prices for samples vary depending on the product and supplier. Some suppliers may charge full retail prices for many requests, while others may offer samples at a reduced rate and/or free samples.
How much do you charge for production?
The most important question is what the cost of your products will be. To get an idea of whether or not they offer bulk discounts, you’ll want to ask pricing for multiple quantities.
How long is your turnaround time?
It is important to know how long it will take for your order to be produced. Time can be crucial depending on your business.
What are your payment terms
Many suppliers require that new businesses pay the entire order upfront. This is important information, as inventory is a significant cost to ecommerce startups. It is also worth asking if payment terms are available for future orders.
Suppliers are constantly bombarded by email quotes requests from buyers who are not serious about their business. It’s not uncommon for suppliers to not respond to every request. New ecommerce entrepreneurs often complain about the inability to get back to suppliers.
How can you avoid being overlooked? When you first reach out to suppliers, there are some things you should be aware of:
- Long emails Your first email to a manufacturer must be concise and clear. Don’t tell too much about yourself and your background. Your first email should only assess your potential match at a high-level. You should focus on the things suppliers are most interested in, such as the details of the product you’re trying source.
- Too many: It’s not always easy for suppliers to produce your requests. Ask for several prices for multiple quantities but don’t ask for too many. Ask for only what you need in order to determine the fit between you, your supplier.
- Don’t ask for too much: You could be met with silence if you request a quote that is lower than the minimum order of your supplier. You can ask them to give you a quick phone call or email to find out if your request is too small.
If you contact a supplier overseas, remember that they may use programs to translate your email and their reply. Your emails should be concise, clear, well-formatted, and free of errors. This will help you get better answers and responses from the manufacturer.
Negotiating minimum order quantities
You’ll quickly learn about minimum order quantity (MOQs) if you’re searching for a supplier. Depending on the product and manufacturer, it is not unusual for manufacturers to ask for a commitment to buy hundreds of units or even thousands for your first order.
MOQs can be a problem if you are short on funds or just want to test the market before you make larger purchases. MOQs can almost always be negotiated.
Understand why your supplier is imposing a minimum before you start to negotiate. Do they want to avoid putting too much work on the table? Perhaps they prefer to work for larger buyers. Understanding why they set a minimum price will allow you to better understand them and help you negotiate the best counter offer.
Once you have an understanding of the supplier’s situation, you can offer a lower quantity. You can offer a compromise by giving the supplier a deposit, but only producing small quantities or paying a higher unit price.
Are you looking for a supply partner?
It is an exciting process and a learning experience for many to source suppliers and manufacturers. It is crucial to choose suppliers that will work well with your business.
It is easy to become frustrated when you hit brick walls or dead ends. However, in most cases it only takes a little patience and persistence to find the right partner for your new venture.