Product supply becomes increasingly important as your business grows. You'll find that you will need at least two sources for each product you sell in order to have a reliable re-stock system.
Large amounts of product usually only come from one place: wholesale suppliers. There are two different types of wholesale supply:
- Bulk Lots: This is where you purchase large quantities at regular intervals from the supplier. The goods are sent to you where you store them and package and post them as you make a sale.
- Drop Shipping: You pay for the goods but you never see them. The wholesaler packages and posts the goods straight to your customer for you.
The best way to find wholesalers is to use directories. It's important to realize that legitimate wholesalers won't go out of their way to seek business from low-volume sellers (i.e. eBay sellers), and thus, probably won't optimize their website for generic keywords such as 'wholesale supplier' for that reason.
They might do business with you if you go to the trouble of contacting them, but they won't seek you out. Thus, be very wary of sites that appear in a Google search for 'wholesale suppliers' - they may very well be illegitimate.
Trusted directories include:
When contacting a wholesaler, you need to consider the following:
- If you are purchasing in bulk, have you got enough room to store your stock? Or do you need to pursue drop shipping?
- What quantities will you need to buy to ensure you not only have a good supply for a month or so, but will meet the wholesale supplier's demands?
- Buying from a smaller wholesaler might be easier at first as they will be more inclined to need your business. But what happens as your business grows? Often small wholesalers have trouble keeping up in fast-paced sales seasons.
- How long will it take for the product to be restocked?
- How big or heavy is your item? If you are selling furniture or something quite large, then you might find it difficult to manage without a drop shipper.
- Buy one or two of the products first to not only test the quality for yourself, but to see if they sell well on eBay.
You may also find that it is difficult getting wholesalers to open an account for you when you are a new seller. It is a lot easier if your business has been established for some time already before you go seeking a wholesale supplier. Then you can answer with confidence questions such as:
- What other products are you carrying?
- Who are you customers?
- How much inventory do you expect to sell in a month?
- How long has your business been running? And so on.
Just be sure not to inflate how much stock you sell in order to get the wholesaler on board. You'll only find yourself in deep water when you have too much stock on your hands later on! To remove the headache and risk from wholesale sourcing, become a member of SaleHoo!