Finding wholesale products to resell online, on Amazon.com or eBay can be challenging. Thus, I prepared this list for my e-commerce clients and want to share it with you.
It contains lots of ways to source products and the best places to buy wholesale; overseas, nationally and locally. Plus it includes unexpected ways to connect with suppliers that yield profitable partnerships.
Keep reading to learn about how to find wholesale products for resale in supplier directories, overseas trade shows, liquidation closeout websites, and the US government import office.
>>Fashionistas check out my list of fashion business ideas here
Best Ways to Find Wholesale Suppliers
Google Search Engine
Start your search to find wholesale suppliers online using Google search engine.
Type into the search engine your keyword niches such as beauty products, clothing, electronics then add search operators such as wholesale, for resale, Distributors, vendors, and suppliers.
Experiment with the Google Advanced search features here (see screenshot below). I tested by using keywords for the beauty and cosmetic niche and found many wholesale sources of makeup products that would be perfect for reselling on Amazon.
Use Additional Search Engines
Further expand your search for wholesale deals using alternate search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuck, and Yandex. These lesser-known search engines often have smaller manufacturers listed which are golden opportunities filled with unique wholesale products for online resale.
If you want products from overseas then use the search engines popular in those specific countries whether they be China (Baidu) or France (Google.fr). Using these country-centric search engines will uncover regional wholesale manufacturers.
Dropshipping vendors will offer you a complete catalog of items to resell online, on Amazon, on eBay or for your own e-commerce website. Be aware that the markup margins are much slimmer (10-20%) than standard wholesale to retail markups (50% + ).
That being said there are many advantages to going with a drop shipper such as lower upfront investment, no inventory to manage or packages to ship.
One of the easiest ways to find lots of dropshipping suppliers is to use a low-cost directory website service such as the one I recommend Worldwide Brands. This site allows you to search over 16 million wholesale products and contact manufacturers directly in every category from apparel, electronic, sporting goods and housewares.
There are also free directories of drop shippers such as Wholesale Central.
If know of a product that would be perfect for your target audience go ahead and contact the manufacturer directly. You can usually find their contact information on the product packaging and labels. Then contact them and negotiate a wholesale deal price on merchandise to resell online.
To find manufactures for overseas items, use the online database at Trade sparq
Type in a retailer under the shipment tab and it will list suppliers under the exporter information. When you look up the suppliers listed under the shipment data, they sometimes write their address onto the shipment data, as well as emails, or you can directly contact some of them via Tradesparq.
Private Label Manufacturer
Private label manufacturers are companies that manufacture specific goods under many different brand names.
One of the most common types of private label is cosmetic and beauty items. These manufacturers of lipsticks, skincare and hair care products create different formulas and package them in distinctive bottles for separate brands.
The concept of private labeling is also used extensively in the food, electronic and clothing industries. You could create your own line wholesale to sell retail or can buy a brand created by the private label manufacturer.
Start your search for a private label manufacturer here on this respected industrial website directory that is free to use.
Wholesale Supplier Directory
Use the legitimate and well-respected Thomas Register online which will help you locate companies and products manufactured in North America that are available for wholesale purchase.
I recommend starting your product search on this website because it is free and reliable. Thomasnet is a professional website that has been serving the industry for over 120 years so you can be sure that it’s legitimate.
Here you can find over 500,000 supplier profiles and have access to over 6 million products at no cost. Online you can view thousands of company product catalogs and even place orders with manufacturers directly.
More Wholesale Supplier Directories
- Wholesale USA http://www.4wholesaleusa.com/
- BAO Link http://www.baolink.com/
- Great Rep http://www.greatrep.com/
- Top Wholesale Suppliers http://www.topwholesalesuppliers.com/
- Wholesale Hub http://www.wholesalehub.com/
One of the best places to find wholesale products at cheap prices is overseas. Source foreign made products overseas by starting with these top product supplier directories:
Trade Shows in Asia
One of the best ways to find lots of Chinese (and other Asian) manufacturers is to attend a trade show in China or Hong Kong.
These trade fairs feature hundreds of suppliers where you can negotiate prices for wholesale products. Check out this list of upcoming trade shows in China
The Top Trade fairs in China:
- The Canton Fair (China Import and Export Fair)
- The Yiwu Commodities Fair
- Beijing International Auto Show
- Bauma China
- East China Import and Export Commodity Fair (ECF)
More information about the top China trade fairs here
US Industry Trade shows
Every industry, from food to apparel, has regularly scheduled trade shows where manufacturers display their goods for wholesale purchases.
To locate trade shows focused on your category of products, use this website that lists thousands of trade shows sorted by industry; including arts and crafts, foods and beverages, industrial engineering, fashion and beauty, apparel and clothing, sporting goods, electronics, and home furnishings.
Listings of Trade Shows
Top 100 USA trade shows
List of trade shows by industry
Industry Trade Publications
Source wholesale products by reading industry trade publications. These magazines, newsletters, and websites are specifically written B2B business-to-business for industry insiders to learn about new products and manufacturers for wholesale distribution.
Find the trade publication for your product niche listed by industry here
Manufacturers Representative Groups
There is a specific type of sales organization called a manufacturer representative group. These people are agents for a group of manufacturers and could be an excellent source for wholesale products.
This sites lists manufacturers representatives and covers over 1,500 outside sales reps and hundreds of manufacturers.
Search the database as if you are a manufacturer looking for sales reps. You will find groups of manufactures representative to contact and inquire about their other catalog of suppliers. This unconventional way to research suppliers can yield great results of untapped manufacturers.
Merchandise Mart Centers
In major markets such as New York, Chicago and Atlanta there are dedicated buildings focused on displaying manufactures products in quantities of showrooms.
Research your niche and the closest metropolitan center for these types of merchandise marts. These buildings are dedicated to showcasing products to buyers of major retailers. As such, they are a concentrated source of manufacturers and suppliers of quality products.
To gain entry you need to demonstrate that you are part of the trade. Usually, a business card and a resale license (get from your State tax department) are sufficient.
- New York Gift Center
- New York Toy Fair
- Atlanta Apparel Mart
Inquire among your business contacts for referrals to manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers. Tell people about the types of merchandise you are looking for and ask them for contacts and suggestions of possible sources.
You may be surprised who has industry connections through their family or friends. When you get referred by a personal contact you are usually able to access company decision-makers for better wholesale deals.
Family & Friends
Start your product search by asking your family, friends, and neighbors for connections to manufacturers and sources of products for resale.
Get ready to get some inside information from the most unlikely sources. As it turns out my neighbor had a business contact with a major manufacturer of sports drinks which turned out to be a best-seller for my company!
Don’t think that Craigslist is only for buying used bicycles or selling your car. It also can be an unexpected source of wholesale merchandise. When local stores, restaurants, and salons are moving or going out of business they list their merchandise and equipment at rock-bottom prices.
Set up a free alert on Craigslist with your product keywords to get email notices when new matching merchandise is listed.
TIP: Check out the FREE STUFF section. Also, check out Freecycle (where people give away stuff) and other giveaway sites.
Liquidation & Closeout Merchandise
Find factory closeout merchandise by searching online or at a liquidation websites such as this website.
This merchandise is often sold at below wholesale prices and is composed of retail store returns, overstock, discontinued styles of all types of items clothing, jewelry, computers, and housewares.
Merchandise liquidation websites
- Direct Liquidation
Wholesale Garment District
My preferred method for finding wholesale clothing for online resale is to visit the local garment district and knock on doors. Here I can go to a designer showroom, view their clothing collection, determine the quality and negotiate my wholesale price.
The top garment districts in America are in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. Read more about wholesale apparel district around the country here
Estate Sales & Thrift stores
Your local thrift shop and neighborhood estate sale could yield some interesting products to resell online on sites such as eBay, Ruby Lane and ArtFire.
The most common items you will find are vintage clothing, designer apparel, jewelry (costume & fine), home furnishings and artwork. While you will rarely find large bulk quantities of any one item you will find many different interesting items.
Research your industry and find its industry trade associations websites. Here you will find a listing of members, many of which are manufacturers, who could become your new wholesale suppliers. Start your search for trade associations here
Lists of Trade Associations by Industry
- Clothing, apparel, footwear and fashion
- Food, baking, brewers, coffee and wine industry
- IT, communications and electronics
- Medicine, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and environment
Get creative and log into crowdfunding sites, such as Kickstarter, to view up-and-coming product suppliers. You can contact the manufacturer directly and negotiate pricing to become a distributor online and resell their products.
Many of these companies are in early-stage startups and will welcome interested parties who can help sell and market their creations.
Top Crowdfunding Sites
Online Forums & Social Media
Get to know people in your industry by participating in online forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and Pinterest boards.
Here you could meet up upcoming fashion designers, startup founders who could become your best wholesale contacts.
Plus take time to connect with other online business owners and ask them for referral sources for wholesale products where they buy their product inventory and how to get the best deals.
Import Export – USA Government
Get connected with International suppliers using this US Government website focused on import-export products.
Check out this smart hack of how to find new suppliers for private label products by searching the public import records. A big advantage of this method is that you will find suppliers NOT found by your competitors.
Search the Importer Trade site of the US Custom and Border Protection where you will be able to find Bill of Lading from recent shipments (over 10,000 records) which list manufacturers’ contact information. All this information is publically accessible at no charge!
Step by step tutorial on how to use the US Customer website to source overseas manufacturers.
Brokers & Distributors
Distributors are companies that have close associations with manufacturers to facilitate product distribution, and as such are an excellent source of products for resale.
Top Distributors by Category
- Wholesale Distributors – General
- MDM Wholesale Distribution Group
- Reseller Network
International Trade Partners
Explore individual countries to find products to import and resell.
The US government’s International Trade Administration can help you find trade groups by country and economic development firms that will directly connect you with wholesale manufacturers.
Export Offices by Country
I hope this list of ways to find wholesale vendors has inspired you and that you have found a few new distributors by using these methods.
The trick to getting connections with quality manufacturers is to keep researching and contacting tons of companies. Don’t just call a few and then be done. If you want to get ahead you need to contact lots of vendors, because only a few will be the right wholesale suppliers for your online or retail store.
Good luck my entrepreneurial friend.
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