Are you interested in finding a wholesale distributor or drop shipper for your bricks and mortar retail business or online e-commerce store?
It's easier to find a wholesale supplier if you know exactly which products you need. If you already know what you want to sell, here are 10 tips for finding a wholesale distributor for your business.
1. Understand Your Industry's Distribution Channels
There are many ways a product can go from manufacturer to retailer. Not all wholesalers serve the same market. Understanding your industry's distribution channels, and knowing where you fit in the supply chain can help you find the right wholesale supplier for your retail or online business. Different types of wholesalers include:
- Wholesaler/Regional Distributor: There are usually regional wholesalers who take delivery of boxcar-sized lots, break them down and sell truckload boxes of products to local wholesalers.
- Manufacturer: For some products, you can buy directly from the manufacturer. This is basically what a "boutique" store does — buys from small (sometimes one person) manufacturers.
- Importer/Exclusive Distributor: In some industries, a company might have the sole rights to import and distribute a product in a certain country. Some may sell directly to retailers, but more often, they set up or sell to smaller local wholesalers.
- Jobbers, "wagon peddlers": These individuals make daily deliveries to local grocers and retail brick-and-mortar stores.
Each product industry has its own unique distribution channels. Some retailers will move enough volume to bypass jobbers, or maybe in a smaller industry, importers sell directly to retailers.
When you first start, you'll be buying from the smaller wholesalers at higher prices. As your volume increases, you'll be able to get better pricing and/or move up the supply ladder to a bigger wholesaler.
2. Try the Manufacturer First
You might as well start at the source. If you're selling branded items, go directly to the manufacturer of the product. They might sell to you depending on their minimum order requirements.
If you're too small for them or they only sell through established distribution channels, ask them for a list of distributors you can contact. By starting at the source (the manufacturer), you can either get the lowest prices or at least get a list of the most reputable distributors to kick off your search.
The fewer people you have to go through, the lower your cost will be, allowing you to be more competitive in the marketplace.
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