14 tips on how to find the best wholesale suppliers for your small business in 2024

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If you’re starting a small business, you’re probably considering how to find the best wholesale suppliers for your company. It’s not that you don’t have options: there are 330.000 unique wholesale suppliers in the world, and the top 50 distributors only produce a quarter of the industry revenue.

With so many suppliers to choose from, the market can be hard to navigate – it’s no wonder that you’re uncertain how to find the right wholesale supplier for your business.

Luckily, we are here to help you. Below, we have made a list of best practice tips for you.

These tips will not only help you find wholesale suppliers, but will also help you pick the perfect match for your business – whether you’ve been selling electronics for a few years now or are just starting to research how to start an online boutique focused on fashion.

How to find the best wholesale suppliers for your small business

We are gonna start this blog post by teaching you how to find wholesale suppliers for your small business. Below we list the 7 best practice tips that will help you create a list of potential partners:

  • Look into wholesalers for dropshipping
  • Search online for the best wholesale suppliers
  • Read the label
  • Ask the manufacturers
  • Ask your network how to find wholesale suppliers
  • Media
  • Trade shows
  • Online whole directories

Now we’ll go through one step by step. Let’s get started!

#1 – Look into wholesalers for dropshipping

Our first tip for small businesses is to look into dropshipping. Dropshipping is the process of using a third-party service to create, pack, and ship your goods via eCommerce Software.

In many ways, dropshipping is more cost-effective and convenient than more traditional shipping methods: it allows you to run your business without warehousing and inventory management, and that means saving both time and money.

If you’re looking for a dropshipping wholesaler, we recommend searching online. To get you started, here are some of the best wholesale suppliers for dropshipping:

#2 – Search online for the best wholesale suppliers

As with dropshipping, a good starting point when wondering how to find wholesale suppliers for your company is to do an online search. Simply use your favourite search engine to check your local area for wholesale suppliers. If there isn’t anyone in your local area, simply expand your search. In this day and age, you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to local suppliers.

Once you find a potential supplier, look at their website, and see if they mention anything about wholesale or B2B. If they do, reach out to them, and tell them that you are looking for a supplier.

#3 – Read the label

Another straightforward way is to look at similar products or brands in your business industry. Read their product label and find out who they use as their wholesale supplier. That will for sure give you lots of information and leads that you can reach out to.

Then, you can either research the supplier online or you can ask the manufacturer directly. Asking the manufacturer is actually our tip #4.

#4 – Ask the manufacturers

Another option is to contact the manufacturers directly. They usually know a lot of relevant wholesalers for the products they produce, so try to contact them and ask for a list of wholesalers.

Depending on the industry and product that you are in, the manufacturer will perhaps also supply you directly. When this is the case, they will most often advocate this themselves, asking you to get in touch if you want to resell their products.

#5 – Ask your network how to find wholesale suppliers

A great way to find wholesalers, which many companies do not consider, is to ask businesses close to your product offerings. You may think that it sounds crazy, but networking has shown to have great potential for finding wholesalers. You can network in numerous ways – here are just 3 options:

  • Use online forums
  • Ask on Linkedin
  • Go to local chambers of (e)Commerce or local networking events for businesses. 

You will be surprised by how willing people are to share information!

#6 – Use media and social media to help you find wholesale suppliers

Similar to networking, a great way to gain insight into your industry is to subscribe to relevant blogs, newsletters, magazines, and newspapers. They contain a lot of relevant information about your industry, manufacturers, wholesalers, and competitors that you need to stay updated on the latest news in your niche. It can also be a great way to find wholesale suppliers for small businesses.

The latest trend in the use of SoMe (Social Media) has also been adopted by a lot of brands, manufacturers, and suppliers. So have a look at your Instagram for some inspiring products, and reach out to the supplier directly.

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#7 – Trade shows

While you can do a lot of research from behind your computer, talking with people face to face will give you a lot of solid and quick information. The aim of trade shows is to connect manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. It is a great opportunity to meet your potential partners, receive a lot of knowledge in a short time, build relationships and create a list of contacts. Sometimes you can even strike a special deal during a trade show. As a small business, trade shows can be a great way to get ahead of your competitors and find wholesale suppliers.

Furthermore, trade shows are also a great place to meet up with your existing suppliers. When they see you at the trade show, potentially scouting for new suppliers, they are more likely to “up their game” to keep you as a customer

#8 – Online wholesale directories and wholesale marketplaces

Our final best practices tip is online wholesale directories and wholesale marketplaces. Some companies have specialized in making directories of wholesalers that can be targeted to specific industries or products. Some of them cost money and others are free.

Here’s a list of some of these directories:

Wholesale marketplaces are similar to directories but differ by letting you buy from the supplier right away. Via the wholesale marketplace, that is. In recent years, wholesale marketplaces have become a very popular channel both for brands, manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers.

Here’s a list of some of the most popular wholesale marketplaces:

7 things to consider when choosing a wholesale supplier as a small business

Before you can find and choose the perfect wholesale suppliers for your business, it is a good idea to know what you should be looking for (obviously!). 

That’s why we have compiled yet another list of 7. Specifically, a list of 7 things to consider when choosing a wholesale supplier for a small business:

  • Industry
  • Price
  • Shipping policies
  • Location
  • Trustworthiness
  • Size
  • B2B eCommerce platform

#1 Industry

A good starting point is to look for wholesalers who have worked in the same industry for a few years. If they have a strong reputation and long-term senior executives, it indicates they have a lot of experience and are good at maximizing value in the supply chain.

#2 Price

Besides the industry, when choosing a wholesaler, keep an eye on the price. Wholesalers offer companies different types of discounts, minimum order requirements, wholesale unit prices, and improved service or features. So, before picking a wholesaler, try contacting several different ones and comparing their offerings. And remember, do not be scared to ask for good prices – you are their customer.

#3 Shipping policies

While you try to get the best prices, also look for a good shipping deal. You can sometimes get extra benefits depending on the quantity and price of your order. If you ask them, they may provide free shipping or combine different orders into one and save you transportation costs.

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Another aspect of shipping is how fast a supplier can ship their goods and how reliable their deliveries are. We will get more into detail with this in point 5.

Another aspect of shipping is how fast a supplier can ship their goods and how reliable their deliveries are. We will get more into detail with this in point 5.

#4 Location

Parallel to price and shipping policies it is important to be aware of your wholesalers’ location. If your wholesaler is located far away, the price of shipping is likely to increase. Additionally, if your product is in such high demand that your store sells out quickly, a distant wholesaler may become an issue, as it takes time for the new delivery to arrive. Furthermore, you might be able to brand yourself as a green company by choosing a local business partner. 

#5 Trustworthiness

You want to choose a wholesaler that you can trust! A good wholesaler will ship the correct number of items on time. Too late shipping can impact your sales, and too early shipping can indicate they are short on orders and try to accelerate selling.

Always keep your wholesalers up on what they promise. If they can’t deliver on their promises, you will pay the price in the end.

#6 Size

Whether you should choose a big or small wholesaler depends on your situation. To give an example; if a delivery goes wrong, the benefit of using big wholesalers is usually a strong backup system. However, small suppliers can have an advantage too. If they recognize you as an important customer, they will provide you with better service.

The size of the supplier is probably also relevant depending on the type of store you have (or wish to have). If you want to sell a bit more unique products, you are probably more likely to find that from smaller suppliers.

#7 B2B eCommerce platform

Some wholesalers still require you to order via phone and email. Try to find wholesalers who have acquired a B2B eCommerce platform. You will save precious time and money by being able to order online and not having to write and reply to emails. That time could instead be used to create new products or talk to your customers! Today, there are no excuses for the wholesalers not to invest in a B2B platform. Because, while such online solutions might have been expensive in the past, they can be found at very reasonable pricing today – you can even find free B2B platforms!

Contact wholesale suppliers

When you are done with your research and made a list of potential wholesale suppliers, it is time to start contacting them. You can do that by calling them or sending them an email. However, if you want a lot of information, calling is always the way to go. Remember, do not try to hide that you are contacting multiple wholesalers. Let them know. It can help you get better prices and shipping deals.

Finally, your business priority is to get your products to your customers. While it is important to find the perfect wholesale suppliers, do not spend too much time searching. When you feel almost certain you got the right one, give it a go. You will learn from the experience, and always be able to change and improve. Good luck with the research!

Curious to learn more? Take a look at what our B2B ordering platform can offer and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or book a personal demo below.

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