How to Find the Best Wholesale Suppliers For Your New Business 9 Top Tips
Are you just starting out in the retail game? Have you established the concept for your shop- be it an online marketplace or a physical store- and are ready to fill it with amazing stock, but aren’t sure where to start when it comes to finding the best wholesale supplier for you?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to know where to source high-quality wholesale products, how to guarantee you are working with trustworthy wholesale distributors and what questions to ask to establish a fruitful working relationship, we’ve got you covered!
Make sure Your Sourcing Strategy Is Clear
Before you approach a wholesaler supplier, it’s a good idea to have your sourcing strategy clear in your mind. This will help you identify the right wholesale distributor for you and your business.
There are several options when it comes to a sourcing strategy. Think carefully about which will work for you. Do you want to:
- Dropship: An ever-increasing choice for retailers – this is when the wholesale supplier also takes care of packaging and distributing your product to your customers, meaning you don’t have to store large amounts of stock in a warehouse.
- Buy Wholesale: You order stock from a wholesale supplier and are in charge of storing and distributing it thereafter,
- Label products from Asia with your own branding – Pretty self-explanatory, this process involves buying products in bulk from wholesale suppliers in countries such as China, and branding and selling them as your own stock upon arrival.
If you’re not sure which option is best for you and your business, check out this helpful article on sourcing strategies here.
Establish Minimum Order Quantities Up Front
So you’re clear on your sourcing strategy and ready to start making enquiries with wholesale distributors. What next?
Your time and that of a wholesale supplier is valuable, and you don’t want to waste it barking up the wrong tree.
Something to always keep in mind is that different wholesale suppliers deal with different types of customers.
Fabric manufacturers with large factories, for example, are usually looking to move products in big numbers.
So, if you’re only running a small business and want to start out with similarly sized orders, a mass producer is not going to be the right fit for you – and vice versa.
In order to save you both time – have an idea of how much stock you want to buy and how often before you approach a wholesale supplier.
Even if you’re a brand new business with no customers (as yet!) make an estimated guess and stick to it!
And remember – never commit to a large order with a new wholesale supplier without conducting a trial run first!
Which leads us to…
Ask for a Sample
Once you’ve established a wholesale supplier as a potential match for your business, it’s important to ask them for a sample of their product.
This will help you evaluate the quality and decide if you want to stock it in your business.
After all, it’s your company’s reputation at stake if the products you stock fall short of the mark when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Ask the wholesaler to send you some samples – if they’re proud of their product, they should be happy to do so.
Be warned, though – occasionally as wholesalers may send you high-quality samples to lock in your order, only to deliver a substandard product thereafter.
Again, this highlights again the importance of conducting a trial before you commit to larger stock orders.
Be Clear About What You Want
Wholesaler suppliers are busy people and are likely to receive dozens of enquiries from potential customers a week.
For this reason, they’re less likely to reply to people who obviously don’t have a clue what they want or what products to stock.
With this in mind, try to be as upfront and clear as possible in your first contact with wholesale distributors. Vagueness is a big no-no.
For example, reaching out to a wholesale supplier with something along the lines of “I’m a new entrepreneur looking to start a new online business selling clothes and was wondering if you could provide some stock.” is likely to be met with silence in response.
Well, for a start, even if you’re new to the game, try not to betray your inexperience – the words “new entrepreneur” can serve as a red flag for some wholesalers.
Also “clothes” is a pretty broad term when it comes to stock. What type of clothes? Women’s or men’s? Designer or unbranded?
All these questions may lead the wholesale supplier to the conclusion that you’re not serious about stocking their products and are wasting their time.
Which leads us to the next important point:
Make sure you write a strong first email
As the old saying goes, you only get one shot at making a first impression!
It’s important that you introduce yourself and your business to potential wholesale suppliers in a positive manner.
Remember, if all goes well this could turn into a valuable and trusted working relationship in the future!
Your first email to a wholesale distributor should be clear and to the point.
It helps if you ask the right questions, too, such as:
- What are your shipping and lead times?
- What are your payment terms?
- How long have you been in business
- How large is your facility?
- What other products do you manufacture?
You want to come across as upfront, straightforward and above all professional – so keep it concise!
Be vigilant and do your research
Unfortunately, scams and scammers exist in all areas of business – and the wholesale sector is no exception.
The good news is, if you do your research correctly, there’s no reason you should fall prey to a scam or find yourself dealing with an untrustworthy wholesale distributor.
There are some steps you can take shopping around for a wholesale supplier, which will help you ensure the business you are dealing with is legitimate, such as:
- Asking technical questions about the stock you are looking to buy, and testing the wholesaler’s knowledge of their product.
- Asking the supplier for customer references and checking them out.
- Verifying the email address of the person you are communicating with is legitimate.
- Considering dropping by in persona to check out the supplier and their warehouse.
- Asking for samples of products before you place an order.
If you are concerned about falling prey to scammers, the best option is to find your wholesale supplier through a trusted directory like The Wholesaler UK.
Our advertisers are all vetted by us and are verified UK wholesalers, so you can shop around with true peace of mind!
Join Industry Groups, Forums and Other Professional Networks
Experienced business owners within your industry have the advantage of having been there and done it all before.
They were once in exactly the same position you are now – just starting out as a retailer and feeling their way.
For this reason, it’s a great idea to connect with them and benefit from their knowledge and experience, particularly when it comes to finding the right wholesale supplier for you.
Find out where they hang out online and use it as an opportunity to reach out and ask for their advice.
Twitter and Linkedin are always great places to start, as are forums specific to your industry.
Forums such as the UK Business Forum and The Wholesale Forums are split into sections so you can easily locate your sector and join the conversation, or even start your own thread if you have a specific question you need answering.
It’s also a good idea to join your local chamber of commerce and request info on small business networking groups in your area. Find out more here.
Attend a Trade Show
It’s a good idea to explore your options and see what’s out there when you’re searching for a wholesale supplier for your business, and trade shows are a fantastic way to meet wholesale distributors in your sector.
Trade shows also give you the opportunity to meet wholesalers face to face when discussing their products, which can save a lot of miscommunication further down the line.
Find a list of annual UK-based tradeshows here,
Use online directories
Online directories are one of the best and most time-effective ways to find a wholesale supplier for your business.
The hard work has been done for you in the respect that there are a wide variety of wholesale stockists in one place, who have been grouped into categories in order for you to easily find what you’re looking for.
Here at the Wholesaler UK we only list trusted, UK-based wholesalers who we have personally vetted and verified.
This takes the worry out of your search for a wholesaler supplier – you can be safe in the knowledge that any business you contact is legitimate.
We also display useful information such as contact details, minimum orders and sourcing supplies on the individual wholesaler’s page – which ensures you only contact wholesalers who are right for your business.
Finding a wholesale supplier is an important step in ensuring your new retail business is a success.
With this in mind, it’s worth taking the time and effort to research the right supplier for you.
Remember to take the time to get to know your wholesaler – if things go well, this could be the start of a long and profitable relationship for you both.
Also, don’t be afraid to shop around – many wholesalers will be offering a similar product and there’s nothing wrong with asking one to price match another.
And finally – be sure to make life easier for yourself by using an online directory such as the Wholesaler UK to ensure you are only communicating with verified UK wholesalers who have been vetted and approved.
Good luck and happy searching!