How Do I Find Wholesale Suppliers?
Keeping your store supplied, whether you’re running a brick and mortar or an online storefront, is a constant challenge. It’s important to find the perfect wholesale supplier to keep up with your demand while offering you the goods your customers want. In order to find the right supplier for your store, you’ll need to answer a few questions about your business. Once you have your own needs established, you’ll be able to find a supplier that matches them.
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Why Is Finding the Right Supplier Important?
The reputation of your business will rely heavily on the quality of your wholesale supplier. You’ll need to find one that has merchandise that your customers want to purchase. They’ll also need to provide you with the services your company needs. Some wholesale suppliers help you by storing, fulfilling orders and storing the stock in a warehouse, and may even ship directly to your customers.
How Do I Find Wholesale Suppliers?
Here are a few tips for finding exactly the right wholesale supplier.
1. To Dropship or Not to Dropship
Some wholesale suppliers do what is known as "dropshipping.” They help you by storing, fulfilling orders and storing the stock in a warehouse for you. They will also ship directly to your customer, which can further cut down the work you need to do. This makes sure that your orders are processed swiftly and the merchandise reaches the consumer quickly.
Drop-shipping typically involves larger orders and works better for established companies rather than smaller businesses or newer start-ups. Depending on your size, you may want to find a supplier that offers dropshipping and the more traditional self-fulfillment strategy. This way you can change your order fulfillment process as your business grows while still reaching customers on-time.
2. Would You Care For a Sample?
Once you find a few wholesale suppliers to order from, it’s really important for you to ask for some samples of their merchandise. You need to make sure that the products they sell are of a quality or style that you’d be proud to have associated with your business. Try out the products and see how durable or useful they are. This is a great way to do some product comparisons between wholesale suppliers as well.
3. Speak to the Supplier Directly
Instead of going through a middleman and accruing extra associated costs, speak directly to the wholesale supplier. This will help you to establish a strong working relationship with them. By meeting in person, both of you can become more familiar with each other’s communication style. You’ll both be better able to give each other updates, and you might even save money.
4. Let Them Know You’ve Been Doing Research
Once you’ve searched for different wholesale suppliers, it’s a good idea to let them know that you’ve been doing your homework before placing an order. Let the wholesale supplier know that their competitor is selling a particular item at a much more economical price. This is a very polite way to see which suppliers will be willing to negotiate with you on prices.They may also be open to discuss other aspects of your business agreement.
Tap into your professional network to find a reliable wholesaler that offers the services you need. Perhaps they have heard of trustworthy established businesses that offer companies such as yours great deals or competitive prices. This might not only give you an idea of which company is the easiest to work with, but also which companies to stay away from. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out in industry magazines and trade publications for businesses that might suit your needs.
There are many different ways to find and evaluate online wholesale suppliers. Whichever one you pick, be sure that it offers the services your business needs and which matches the expectations of your customers. Consider using a wholesale supplier that will allow your company to grow and in the process refine your order fulfillment strategy. This way, as your business becomes more and more successful, you’ll have forged an important business contact that can continue for years.Posted by Lois Haycock
Lois Haycock is a 20+ year retail and eCommerce veteran specializing in project management and business analysis of customer-facing systems and software. Lois is SVP of Digital Transformation at M&M Merchandisers. She also operates several eCommerce stores as well as an executive coaching business. Lois can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org