Finding suppliers with prices that are low enough that you can actually make a profit selling items for a dollar isn’t the easiest thing in the world… until now! We've already done the research for you, looking at the most promising suppliers in some of the most popular niches.
As a bonus, at the end of this post, you’ll find a few extra tips to get the most out of your dollar store.
Let’s start with some of the bestsellers you should always keep in stock.
Best-Selling Dollar Store Product Categories
The following six categories are the kind of products you’ll want to always have in stock. They will make up the core of your product offerings because people often come to dollar stores strictly for these items. Many of them are consumable, which will keep customers coming back for more when they need replacing.
A lot of people treat their pets like family. I know this from personal experience, too: My girlfriend always has to buy our cat something every time we visit a dollar store!
Health & Beauty Aids Suppliers
Health and beauty are universal human desires, and as such people are willing to spend money to acquire them. Again, consumable products (especially those people use daily) should be at the core of your product offerings.
Household Cleaning & Misc. Suppliers
No dollar store would be complete without cleaning products. People will come back for these again and again.
Sporting Goods Suppliers
People who play sports often tire of spending big money on equipment that’s frequently lost, such as tennis balls, birdies, lighters, small camping gear and tackle box items. As such, it’s easier (and more affordable) to simply buy them from the dollar store.
These items are just essentials people need all the time.
Toys & Games Suppliers
Have you ever seen (or been) a parent in a dollar store? Then you know this scene all too well: a child passes the toy section and immediately starts asking (or perhaps begging) for a toy. When the toys are only a dollar, it’s hard to say no!
All Other Categories
Beyond the perennial bestsellers, here are all the other categories I’ve found:
Apparel & Footwear Suppliers
While the types of clothing you can sell are fairly limited because of price, there is no shortage of small accessory items or suppliers you can buy from.
See the extra tips section at the end for when to sell these kinds of items at a loss!
Similar to apparel, the variety of automotive products is limited by the low price. However, almost every supplier has the same few items that can be purchased for under $1.
Baby Items Suppliers
Baby items are another staple at the dollar store. You can get them at almost any supplier because they are so popular. Here are a few of the best I’ve seen:
No store is complete without some books. Even if they are just puzzle and coloring books.
Candy & Snacks Suppliers
Of course, no dollar store is complete without the candy and snack aisle! Due to the consumable nature of these products and their long shelf life, these are sure to be a hot seller.
Dining & Kitchenware Suppliers
There are a lot more products in this section than you might think. It’s amazing what you can find for under $1.
Food & Grocery Suppliers
These products should be part of your core lineup that you never run without, similar to candy, because they’re consumable and long-lasting.
Hardware & Tools Suppliers
Dollar-store home improvement items are great as an affordable way to make a home look better. You’ll likely find plenty of customers seeking these items.
Don’t forget to purchase holiday items far in advance of the actual holiday if you have the storage to do so. These things sell out very fast (and you can always keep the extras for next year’s holiday).
Home Goods & Decor Suppliers
While not bestsellers, these products will likely be one of your more popular sales categories, especially the photo frames.
Consumable items and cleaners are great as a core set of products you never want to run out of, so always keep your laundry section stocked.
Lawn & Garden Suppliers
Lawn and garden products shouldn't be a huge priority but will still make a good addition to your wares.
Licensed Goods Suppliers
What’s great about selling licensed goods is you can capitalize on trends, like new movies or games that just came out. Additionally, you’ll want to watch for your state’s favorite football teams and keep those branded items stocked.
Here are a few extra tips to help you get the most of your dollar store:
- Use loss leaders. A loss leader is a major item you take a loss on in order to get people in the door. This could be an item you buy for $1.25 and sell for $1. You lose $0.25 on that item; however, the key is to surround it with other items you make a great profit on that people are likely to buy alongside it. Also, being in a dollar store, very few people will leave with just one item.
- Buy in bulk. Obviously, the more you buy at once, the better deal you’ll get on individual items. The better deal you get, the more you’ll make when you sell them. The majority of dollar store items never expire, so this is less risky than buying bulk goods that are dated or you may never get rid of. If you're more risk averse, consider suppliers that offer no minimum orders.
- Use an online store. In addition to your physical retail location, you can build an online store to sell your products as well. Be sure to do the math on your costs, however, as slim margins makes this difficult (note: dropshipping could solve this problem for you).
- Visit other dollar stores to see what’s selling well for them. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, was well known for being in his competitor’s stores more than his own. You’d do well to take a page from his book and focus on constantly improving.
- Focus on core products and hot sellers. Soon after opening your store, you’ll quickly realize your top sellers. Be sure to always keep these in stock. Additionally, don't neglect to keep core items in stock, such as household cleaners and common health and beauty items.
- Use multiple suppliers. Having only one supplier can put you at their mercy if they raise prices, fail to deliver on time, or go out of business.
- Find great deals. Before you commit, find suppliers that offer the most competitive discounts or free shipping. This can save you great money in the long run.
- Go to the source. If you want to be really competitive, consider going to the source where most dollar stores get their items from. Not surprisingly, most of these generic cheap stuff that you buy probably come from china. So you might wanna pay a visit there.
Congratulations if you’re opening a dollar store! I hope this comprehensive list of suppliers and tips has helped you pinpoint your ideal products and vendors.
Running a dollar store can have slim margins, but if done with care and proper budgeting, it can make you plenty of money. Be sure to continually invest in your business and you’ll do just fine.