4 Tips to Landing the Best Wholesaler for Your Ecommerce Store
by Joseph Yi
As your dream for owning your very own ecommerce store comes to fruition and you’re doing the thorough research needed for a successful online business, you may begin to realize that wholesaler is your best bet for stocking inventory at the most cost-effective price and yielding the highest gross margin––but typing “wholesalers” into an internet search field produces an overwhelming number of results, and the entire ordeal can seem too complicated––especially for small businesses just starting out. Don’t let your profits suffer or deny your company a robust inventory because searching for a wholesaler feels inaccessible. We’ve got an all-inclusive guide with the steps you should take and the questions you need to ask during your search. Here are 4 tips on how to find the best wholesaler for your ecommerce.
1. Search Locally
In the internet day and age, most entrepreneurs take to the web instantly for anything and everything for their business, including finding wholesalers and distributors to stock their ecommerce inventory. And while the world wide web may be a wealth of knowledge for research and information, often times shopping locally for wholesalers is a strategy not many think to take. Buying from local wholesalers means significantly reducing shipping costs or eliminating them altogether if you can pick up the merchandise–-saving your company tons and increasing profits, not to mention the potential for easier access for restocking and shorter turnaround.
To locate wholesalers nearby, try browsing your hometown newspaper’s classified ads or the back listings in trade publications such as Internet Retailer. Trade shows are also an excellent opportunity to connect to sellers one-on-one, inquire about other distributors, and possibly survey products in-person. Of course, you can always conduct an online search, just specify your region when combing through the results, and don’t forget to use the web to find local trade magazines published in your area as well as those wholesalers nearby.
2. Consider Dropshippers
As you prepare to comb through wholesalers, make sure you learn all the different types and which is best suited for your online store and its needs. Though the type of seller that works best with your product and ecommerce size will vary greatly, familiarize yourself with the different kinds of wholesalers. Here’s a quick breakdown for reference:
Manufacturer – Depending on what you’re selling, you may be able to stock inventory directly from the manufacturer. This is cheaper than finding stock from a seller, and is usually what “boutique” stores do–buy from small (usually local) manufacturers. Ex: Julie’s Bowtie Shop sells handmade bow ties from a nearby independent designer who sells them to Julie for $10 each, and Julie sells to the general public in her online boutique for $20 a piece.
Importer / Exclusive Distributor – In certain industries, one distributor may have the sole rights to import and sell a product in specific countries. Some sell directly to large retailers or smaller quantities to local businesses. Ex: X company has the rights to sell halloween costumes from China to the US. While they primarily sell the costumes to Party City and other large costume retailers, they can also offer your ecommerce store discounted costumes, but likely not at as high of a discount that giant retailers like Party City receive.
Wholesaler / Regional Distributor – Regional distributors receive very large bulk orders––which may not be directly from manufacturers––break them down, and sell smaller quantities of product to local businesses to sell. Ex: Company Y gets huge shipments of thousands of jeans, and sells bulk orders of 200 pairs each to local stores to sell to the public.
Jobbers – Small producers who make deliveries to local stores each day. Ex: Johnny Baker bakes 100 loaves of bread a day, and distributes 5 – 10 loaves to local stores each morning so that they can sell to their customers.
For most online stores, a dropshipper is the most efficient and cost-saving. They fill your orders, and package and ship your items for you; making the entire process, from start to finish, much easier and less hands-on for you and your company. Not only do dropshippers know the ins and outs of mailing products, but employing dropshippers means you don’t have to acquire storage space to stock all of your inventory before it’s sold. This is a key component to why dropshipping is the best option for ecommerce businesses. [Read more….]