How to Find Wholesale Distributors in 5 Steps

Sections of this topic

    If you own a retail or are starting an e-commerce store, finding the right wholesale distributors is the first step toward a successful operation. A wholesale distributor buys many goods directly from manufacturers and resells them to businesses at a low cost. 

    Find the Right Wholesale Distributor in 5 Steps

    Wholesale distributors can be key partners for your business. But where do you find them – and how will you know you are making the right call?

    Wholesale distributor supply chain

    When looking for wholesale distributors, there is a lot more than simply searching for provider names on the internet. 

    First of all, building a list of potential suppliers is no easy task: it takes time, and standard tools such as Google are, frankly, not enough for qualified research. When searching for wholesale providers, it is important to reach out to the proper channels – which we will soon get into. 

    After you’ve listed a few wholesale distributors, you won’t be done yet. There are still several elements to consider to make the right choice, such as product offerings, pricing, geographical access to products, shipping, and much more. 

    To make your decision smoother, we’ve listed 5 steps you should take when looking for the best wholesale distributors. 

    Step 1: Create a List of Possible Providers 

    This might sound like the most obvious step on the list — but it is, in fact, one of the hardest. Crafting such a list takes time, and you must go to the right channels to find the best wholesale distributors. 

    The first action that might come to mind when searching for wholesale distributors is Googling a set of keywords on the search page. But sometimes, the results don’t meet your expectations or needs. For more accurate results, we recommend other strategies. So, here are a few ways to access the best wholesale providers.

    Contact the Manufacturer of the Product you Wish to Sell 

    You are already a step ahead if you already know the product or brand you want to sell in your store or e-commerce website. You can contact the product manufacturer and ask for a list of wholesale distributors that resell their products.

    This allows you to offer a highly curated product portfolio instead of simply selling what you can find. Adopting this strategy can set your business aside from the competition and increase your sales significantly. 

    Go to Trade Shows to Find the Best Suppliers 

    If you don’t know what products to sell or if you are interested in a wider variety of items and brands, visiting a trade show can be a great strategy. During these events, a number of manufacturers, suppliers, brands, and wholesale distributors exhibit their latest products.

    It’s a great opportunity to network and make businesses. Further, this is also a great way to see the products for yourself and assure that the quality of the goods meets your expectations. 

    Access a Wholesale Distributor Directory 

    Finally, you can also access an online directory and find a list of the best wholesale distributors, thus gaining access to various manufacturers across the globe. These marketplaces, such as Alibaba, Handshake, Global Sources, and Tundra connect manufacturers with retailers and e-commerce businesses – some are integrated with the world’s leading e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, which eases the operation as a whole. 

    Once you have gone through these channels, you can successfully craft a list of possible wholesale distributors. Then, what’s next? 

    Step 2: Check for the Product Offering 

    After building your wholesale provider list, it’s time to check what products the suppliers offer. Be sure to request a product catalog that discloses pricing details and the product itself. 

    Don’t overlook aspects such as the type of material used on the product, dimensions, and even certifications that assure the product’s quality. Some lower-priced products might seem more appealing but shouldn’t ignore quality. Ensure you have all the details you need before making a large purchase and risk having the product forgotten in stock.

    In addition, you should also consider how consistently the wholesale distributors can make their products available so you don’t ever run out of inventory. After all, if the provider faces problems with stock, delivery, or other, this can seriously affect your business as you will not have the products available in your store.

    Step 3: Confirm the Geographic Location of the Provider 

    You might come across many wholesale distributors located outside of your country of residence. Many distributors in China provide access to a broader set of products. 

    However, while committing to a provider outside of your country can give you access to a wider portfolio, you should also remember that buying from a distributor offshore can incur taxation, inspections, and a complex logistical process.

    This brings us to our next step…

    Step 4: Confirm the Shipping Processes 

    Imagine this: you’ve found the right wholesale distributors and built an entire marketing and sales strategy around the products you plan to resell through your retail or e-commerce business. You even designed a launch campaign for a specific collection you will be receiving in your store and invested a ton of money in publicity and advertisement. 

    However, your provider has faced shipping issues, and your delivery came late – or didn’t arrive at all! – compromising your strategy and frustrating your clients, eager to shop for your products. 

    It sounds like a tragedy, right? 

    Shipping is an essential part of a healthy operation, so you must work with a trusted wholesaler committed to delivering on time. Further, also make sure that the products will arrive intact, that is, with no damages whatsoever to the package or the product. 

    And if you face any hurdles, be sure to count on reliable customer support – our next step is finding the right wholesale distributor. 

    Step 5: Always Look for a Reliable Customer Support 

    Customer support plays an essential role in B2B relationships. Usually, times of crisis – such as the scenario described above – are when customer support is most tested. However, we are sure you do not want to wait for a problem to occur to ensure you are provided with proper support.

    To avoid being frustrated by customer service, we recommend you test wholesale distributors’ support channels upfront. Try and reach out by phone, e-mail, and chatting and see how long it takes for someone to get back to you. If you do not receive a response in good time, you will probably know what to expect in the future. 

    And, bonus tip: you might also want to take the time to read a few reviews on the internet regarding customer support. After all, a word from another customer is priceless  – and can either prevent you from having a bad experience or guide your way into a successful partnership. 

    Best Wholesale Distributors for retailers and e-commerce businesses 

    If you are on step #1 of finding wholesale distributors, we have gathered a list of providers to help you with your quest. Here are a few suppliers you can start your business with. 

    1. Alibaba

    Alibaba is a China-based vendor covering multiple categories and over 190 countries. It is one of the largest wholesale distributors in the World – and a highly reliable one, too. 

    2. Handshake

    Handshake is a wholesale marketplace by Shopify – the World’s leading e-commerce platform. It is the perfect fit for small businesses selling online. It offers Shopify users free shipping on opening orders, low or no minimum orders, and no fees.

    3. Global Sources 

    Global Sources is a B2B wholesale marketplace with over 10 million registered buyers. It has been around since 1995 and is a trusted wholesale provider. 

    4. Tundra

    Tundra is an online wholesale marketplace where business owners can pick up large volumes of goods. It is easy to use and a perfect fit for small business owners and e-commerce businesses. 

    You can start with a few names on your search for a wholesale supplier. Be sure to go through all five steps before sealing a partnership. 

    Why Your Business Should Consider a Wholesale Provider

    Working with wholesale distributors helps different types of businesses source the best products while focusing on managing their company, designing sales strategies, and tailoring the best marketing campaigns. Here are some of the main advantages of working with a quality supplier. 

    Easy Stock Management 

    When working with a wholesale distributor, you can purchase as much stock as you need without worrying about storage space. In addition, you can also quickly restock in case you run out of a specific product. 

    Market Trends are Always on Your Roadmap 

    Sometimes in retail, it seems like every competitor is selling a different version of the same product. And that’s because they are. 

    Some products win over customers’ hearts and become a real market trend. You might be familiar with this phenomenon when you think of particular products, like the popular hot air brush that every beauty and cosmetics store just had to offer or the hottest tech gadgets that customers just can’t live without. 

    When you work with a wholesaler’s distributor, you can rest assured that you will always be updated with the latest trends. When you offer trending products in your online store, not only are you reaching a more significant number of customers but also pull attention to other products available in your store. 

    Profitable Margins 

    When purchasing from a wholesale distributor, you can guarantee higher discounts when buying in bulk. This means you can work with better profit margins and boost your business. 

    If you are looking into working with even better profit margins, here’s a tip: recurring buyers are sometimes offered better supplier deals through loyalty programs. So be sure not to overlook this opportunity when sealing the deal with a wholesale provider.

    Optimized Business Operation 

    When buying from a wholesale supplier, you don’t have to get involved with the product development process, which saves you a lot of time and money. For merchants that don’t know how to find a manufacturer, reaching out to a wholesale distributor can be the best path to success. 

    Of course, developing your original product can be a great leap for your business. After all, there is no competition in originality and exclusiveness. However, idealizing a product and finding a manufacturer is a big step and might be the best option for more mature businesses. Read our article on business operations to learn more.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Wholesale Distributors

    Do you have questions about how to find the right wholesale distributor? Here are a few answers to frequently asked questions. 

    Bottom Line on Wholesale Distributors 

    Wholesale distributors can be great partners for retail and e-commerce businesses that want to expand their product portfolio and boost their sales. Because wholesale providers act as the middleman between manufacturers and merchants, companies can take off the stress of handling the product development process and focus on marketing and sales strategies. 

    Furthermore, merchants that work with reliable wholesale distributors can benefit from easy stock management and profit margins while offering the hottest products in the market without the hassle of designing their products. 

    The first step when looking for a wholesale distributor is to craft a list of potential providers. Next, check the product offering, geographic availability, logistical processes, and customer support quality before committing to a specific supplier. 

    You are guaranteed to make the right call by following these five simple steps. Remember: choosing the right partner can pave the way to an even more successful business.