Many small businesses find themselves looking for wholesale distributors to partner with. But how do you go about finding the right distributor? You’ll need to consider how many products they offer, how reliable and trustworthy they are, how easy it is to work with them, how far away they are from your location, and if their prices fit in with what you’re trying to accomplish and more.
This blog post will help you figure out what questions to ask yourself when looking for a distributor that meets your needs!
But before we start, I feel it is wise to let you know who a distributor is, and the reason why you’ll need one in your small business.
Who is a “Distributor” why do you need one?
In general, the word “distributor” refers to a wholesaler who specializes in collecting a certain kind of goods, such as books, specialized foods, or car parts, and who provides retailers with a single point of contact for purchasing a diverse range of goods.
Each industry and product have its own set of peculiarities. Certain practices may also differ depending on where you live. However, in most cases, the “wholesaler” is the manufacturer’s client, and identifying one requires marketing expertise.
It also necessitates demonstrating to distributors that there is customer demand for the product. If this is your first product, then you should start by studying these two questions before looking for a distributor:
Are you looking for a “sales representative” instead of a “distributor”?
You may need someone to make phone calls to retailers and wholesalers to persuade them to carry your product. These individuals are known as “sales representatives,” and they may work for several different firms (until you have enough volume of work to justify your salesperson). They display samples or catalogues that explain the products offered by the businesses they represent. Their duties vary greatly depending on the business, but finding a sales representative is comparable to finding a wholesaler, therefore some of the tips below will help you locate both a sales representative and a distributor.
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Should you attempt selling to customers directly?
Selling directly to customers has become a feasible alternative in a variety of sectors, from fashion to industrial goods, thanks to the internet. To accomplish so, you’ll need eCommerce skills as well as the ability to transport your goods to customers. Companies like Amazon, which aims to be a one-stop shop for small businesses who wish to sell via their channel but also require e-commerce and fulfillment services, can handle such “fulfillment” aspects of selling goods.
If you didn’t find any problem with these questions, and it still turned out you need a distributor then you can go ahead to find the right wholesale company to go with.
Below are exactly what you need to do, to get started.
1. Know the Distribution Channels for your Industry
A product may be delivered to a store in a variety of ways. Not every wholesaler caters to the same customer. Understanding the distribution channels and supply chain in your sector may assist you in locating the best wholesale supplier for your retail or online company. Wholesalers are available in various sizes and shapes.
You may purchase certain items straight from the producer. Clothing stores often purchase from small (and occasionally single-person) vendors.
Exclusive Distributor or Importer
In certain cases, an enterprise may have exclusive rights to import and distribute a product in a given state. Some sell to retailers directly, while others sell to smaller local wholesalers who then sell to shops.
Regional Distribution Company
Regional distributors typically get boxcar-sized quantities and sell them to local wholesalers, who subsequently sell to smaller businesses.
These people carry groceries to local grocers and retail shops regularly.
While in a smaller sector, importers may sell straight to retailers to avoid dealing with jobbers. There are many distribution routes for different types of products in different industries.
2. Begin with the Manufacturers
Your earnings will be reduced if you’re forced to pay distributors. Start at the source to eliminate the need for mediators.
Branded goods should be purchased directly from the producer whenever possible. Depending on their minimum order criteria, they may or may not sell to you. Ask them for a list of trustworthy distributors you may contact if you’re too small for them or they only distribute via established distribution channels.
You’ll save money by dealing with fewer individuals, which will enable you to compete better in the market.
3. Then Try Wholesalers
Start contacting wholesale distributors, either using the manufacturer’s list, contact list, or a wholesale network to find them. though wholesalers:
- Have a minimum order quantity.
- Have their wholesale costs
- Serves a certain area.
You may contact them by phone or email, to begin with, and then follow up by phone if you need more information or want to proceed. Honesty and not trying to seem larger than you are the greatest ways to discover the best potential fit for your company.
Not attempt to hide the fact that you are doing research and keeping an eye on your rivals. Regardless of how tiny your business is at the moment; this may still help you obtain better deals.
4. Be specific while doing online searches
Don’t simply look for wholesalers or distributors in general while searching online. Include keywords related to your goods or speciality. Product names, model numbers, and brand names are all good options. If you can’t locate an email address or phone number for any of the prospective distributors you discover, you may do a WHOIS search to uncover the website owner’s contact information.
The more wholesalers you discover, the better you’ll be able to compare costs and get a sense of what’s typical in the business, as well as obtain competitive bids.
5. Search eBay for Wholesale Lots
Because eBay caters primarily to retail customers, the wholesale alternatives available are often limited to extremely low volume merchants. However, if you’re just getting started in e-commerce, eBay may be the perfect place to start.
It’s also conceivable that individuals who sell directly to consumers on eBay have a business-to-business component to their operation. It’s simple to get in touch with them on eBay to see whether that’s the case.
6. Explore the Important B2B Marketplaces
There are many big B2B marketplaces available online where you may purchase large quantities of goods at cheap rates.
Alibaba.com is one of the world’s biggest B2B marketplaces, connecting manufacturers, importers, and wholesalers. Among the other B2B marketplaces are:
- Buyer Zone (USA)
- Busy Trade (Hong Kong)
- EC21 (Korea)
- EC Plaza (Korea)
- Global Sources (USA)
Find a marketplace that caters to your nation or area. There are also industry-specific B2B marketplaces, which may serve a single nation or the whole world’s retail population.
7. Become a member of industry associations, forums, and other professional networks
The greatest source of information regarding wholesalers is usually more experienced small company owners in your industry or speciality. Other merchants, on the other hand, are unlikely to disclose supplier information with rivals. Spend time networking to establish the trust and relationships that will assist you in locating the finest wholesale suppliers for your small company.
Participate in internet forums, which may be a wonderful source of free advice and information from individuals who have expertise in your market or sector. To expand your professional network, you may create a LinkedIn profile, sign up for industry publications, and join your local Chamber of Commerce or small company networking organizations.
8. Become a subscriber to trade publications in your industry
Trade publications are a gold mine of information about your industry’s companies and connections. A product maker or distributor will be almost every advertiser in the publication, and a single issue of a trade journal may give the names of dozens of wholesalers or small manufacturers.
In addition to publications, sign up for online newsletters and blogs. These are often the most effective means of staying current with industry news and changes on a daily or weekly basis.
9. Go to a Trade Show
One of the most effective methods to develop and expand your company is to attend trade fairs. The purpose of these gatherings is to link retailers with wholesalers and manufacturers.
In a single day, you may meet and talk with dozens of wholesalers or manufacturers at trade fairs. These face-to-face interactions help to prevent misunderstanding and communication problems that may arise when communicating with individuals online.
The Trade Show News Network is the most comprehensive web-database of trade events. You may look for a trade show by industry, date, location, state, or nation, as well as the name of the event.
10. You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Make a Mistake
It’s possible that your initial wholesale supplier may not be a long-term partner. Creating your ideal supply chain is a process that requires a lot of trial and error.
Your priority is to ship at least a product. Then, as you continue to develop and expand your company, you may enhance your bottom line by experimenting with different wholesale providers.
You’ll be purchasing from smaller wholesalers at greater costs when you initially start. You’ll be able to obtain better prices or move up the supply ladder to a larger wholesaler as your volume grows.
Request a sample of the product you want to sell when you contact the manufacturer. This will give you the opportunity to examine it and make sure it’s something you want to sell.
Remember that your initial supplier just has to provide you with a product that you can sell for a profit. It may not be the ideal wholesale pricing for now, but as your company and professional network grow, you may make adjustments.
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