Wholesale items to sell

Find wholesale items you can sell online to make a profit

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What is Wholesale?

Most people don't think too long or hard about where products and purchases come from. Whether you're picking up fruits and veggies at the grocery store, buying clothes at the mall, or ordering goods online, the process is simple: go to a retail storefront (in-person or online), find what you need, and make your purchase. Whatever item you bring home, though, has likely traveled many miles and been exchanged by many hands to get to you.

The global supply chain is actually quite long and complicated, and it can feel endless for new e-commerce retailers. Trying to learn how to navigate the movement of goods from their point of production to the final consumer sale can be a daunting task, much less figuring out how to become a lucrative cog in the supply and demand machine. While there is plenty of industry-specific variation, the basic movement of goods goes like this: manufacturer makes a product, sells it to a distributor, who resells it in smaller quantities to retailers, where a product will be sold directly to a consumer.

The movement of goods fuels the economy and puts money in millions of people's pockets each year. So yes, it can get tricky, but it's also one of the most fundamental facets of e-commerce retail to understand and capitalize on as you make your mark in the digital marketplace.

Product sourcing, for all stores, is the name of the game. The final sale price of products determines your profit margins, situates your brand within a particular market niche, and helps carve out a target demographic. There are a few different methods of stocking your virtual shelves with compelling products. You can produce your own products in-house, which is a method with plenty of historical track records, but it can be challenging to scale distribution even if you have the skill sets for this route. You can also find a dropshipping partner (an increasingly popular 21st-century e-commerce model) or buy products wholesale.

Wholesale sourcing is a tried-and-true solution to the constant e-commerce challenges of stocking unique inventory and increasing profit margins. It avoids the pressure of in-house production for business owners while allowing them to remain in control of their products, shipping, and branding. What exactly is wholesale sourcing? It's when a retail business buys goods in large quantities from manufacturers or distributors at a low price, stores them (either in warehouses or elsewhere, depending on amount), and then resells them to a consumer.

The differences in wholesale and retail business operations complement one another and allow for a mutually-beneficial flow of goods. Wholesale manufacturers and distributors are B2B companies that have a much lower price per unit than their B2C retail counterparts. While retailers can handle a small number of many different products, wholesale manufacturers and distributors typically handle large quantities of a small subset of specialized goods.

How to Buy Wholesale?

Are you considering the idea of wholesale sourcing? Make sure to do your homework before making any major purchases. There's a lot to consider here. A wholesale strategy is grounded in data analysis and understanding of market trends. Start by studying bestselling products on other online marketplaces (Amazon has a hugely helpful best sellers page). Then examine sales data from your store and your competitors, look at global and industry-specific market trends, and narrow down the scope of potential products to source.

It might not sound like the most fun, but you'll be happy you did it when the sales start rolling in.

Another consideration? The operational and logistical challenges that come with buying products wholesale. We highly recommend sorting this one out before you buy anything in bulk. Wholesale sourcing is very different from its newer dropshipping counterpart in that the retailer is responsible for storing and managing inventory once stock is purchased.

In other words, if you buy 3,000 dog chew toys for your organic pet supply store, then you'd best have a secure location to store 3,000 dog chew toys.

Wholesale sourcing dodges the biggest dropshipping bullet in that it allows a retailer to retain control over packaging, shipping, branding, and logistics. For unique or niche brands, all of those elements of product delivery can make or break their sales numbers.

After some preliminary research and storage considerations, you have to talk about price. Think carefully about how you price your products. The idea is to "buy low and sell high," right? Whatever product you're putting on your shelves should be priced well and aligned with broader market trends, but also suit your unique business operation and profit margin. There are a few different kinds of pricing strategies.

There are no rules about how to mark up and resell your wholesale products. You have total freedom and flexibility to play with the numbers and modify your sales tactics to maximize profit. Wholesale products will often come with an MSRP, which is the manufacturer suggested retail price, though many e-commerce platforms don't use this price when reselling.

Some other pricing strategies include bundling certain goods together, pricing above or below the competition, and keystone pricing, which is when a retailer doubles the cost of the wholesale product (unsurprisingly, this is not a super popular method). Plenty of retailers have found success in using the loss-lead pricing strategy, where you discount certain products to get consumers in the door and then keep high markups and cushy profit margins for other complementary or compelling products. Another idea to consider is anchor pricing, which is when you show a consumer that a discount has been applied by displaying both the original and reduced price. A bargain is always compelling for shoppers.

If you own a preexisting retail brand, then you need to tailor your wholesale product addition to the niche and target demographic you've cultivated for yourself. If you're starting from a blank slate and just beginning the development of a brand, you can take your wholesale strategy to whatever industry you'd like. Whatever pricing model you use and adapt through your store should be conducive to the kind of products you're selling, though.

If you're starting from scratch, consider operating in an industry with high markup percentages. Jewelry, clothing, and alcoholic beverages all have the potential for high resale value. In contrast, hardware stores don't have the same kind of flexibility or potential for increased profit margins. There's only so much you can charge for nails and screws, and there won't be that big of a difference with the wholesale vendors that you work with, meaning less profit margins. 

Where to Find Wholesale Suppliers & Distributors?

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

You can consider buying wholesale products directly from a manufacturer, but there's way more risk involved in that process. The success of your e-commerce store depends on a stable relationship with your wholesaler or distributor and well-made goods; it can be harder to vet reliable and trustworthy manufacturers with little experience. Best to leave that up to distributors.

Distributors do the heavy lifting for you on that front, and they can be a much more reliable way of sourcing wholesale products. Distributors are commission-based middlemen who find manufacturers and connect them with retailers looking to source products. They're buying and selling goods only to and from businesses, and it's their role that has made the wholesale sourcing process so seamless for manufacturers and retailers.

In the past, entrepreneurs who decided to integrate wholesale sourcing into their retail business model had to spend hours scouring local suppliers, skimming through phone books, and making phone calls to potential distributors and manufacturers. Luckily now, in the age of the internet and high-quality digital marketplaces, entrepreneurs can expedite the wholesale sourcing process without compromising quality.

As digital marketplaces and the e-commerce industry have grown, the supply chain has evolved to accommodate digital retail platforms. Digital wholesale marketplaces like Alibaba, Spocket, AliExpress, and Salehoo have transformed the role of distributors. These websites find thousands of reliable wholesale manufacturers for e-commerce businesses. Salehoo, for example, has over 8,000 trusted wholesalers for only $67.00 per year. Their business model makes e-commerce sales much more accessible for newcomers and helps experienced digital retailers simplify their operations without asking for a significant financial investment.

This radical progression of the online wholesale sourcing has allowed e-commerce websites to cultivate unique product sets, increase profit margins, and strengthen their brand with none of the inconveniences of traditional wholesale sourcing. The supply chain is much more global now, too with tons of wholesale vendors worldwide. Retail platforms can find and purchase products wholesale from all over the world and further diversify their storefront. Just be careful of import restrictions because some wholesale manufacturers won't ship internationally.

What items sell best online

  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Waterproof cell phone cases
  • 3D printers
  • Drones
  • Fitness trackers
  • Rechargeable lighters

Owning an eCommerce store can be a bit tricky if you’re unsure on what to sell. Luckily, you’ve got the entire SaleHoo team standing behind you to help you create a kickass store! Like every year, 2017 has brought new, exciting trends to our eyes (all of which are in high demand)! Some items that have risen to the top of the “Search bar food chain” are: →

Of course, you want to make sure whatever product you sell is within your store’s niche. If you sell candles, rechargeable lighters will be a perfect addition to your store. Whereas if you sell headphones or CDs, bluetooth speakers would be ideal.

How to research wholesale products to sell

Step 1:

Consider demand

While you may like matcha powder and chia seeds, that doesn’t mean everyone does. Selling an item that you find interesting is never the way to go when it comes to running an eCommerce store. The best way to figure out what will sell online, is by looking at popular trends. Amazon has a “Best Sellers” page where you’re able to find out what’s selling the best on their site. eBay also has a “Trending” page which allows you to see what’s doing well on their site. But the easiest way is to search SaleHoo’s Market Research Lab, which pulls data from Amazon, eBay, and more!

Step 2:

Consider margin

After you’ve picked out a trending item to sell, you’ll need to make sure you’re going to get the best bang for your buck. Remember: You’re going to have to pay packing fees as well as eBay fees when selling items. You can get around the packing fees if you’re drop shipping your items, but even if you’re using Amazon or Etsy, there are going to be small fees for selling on their site. Price accordingly to ensure that you’re getting what your product is worth!

Step 3:

Consider competition

Drones are quite popular nowadays, aren’t they? With popularity comes demand, but with demand comes competition. When multiple people sell the same product, they may fall into a web of price wars. Everyone will try to give their customers the best price and you may find yourself selling items at a low cost just to get noticed. If there’s too much competition, it may be a good idea to stay away. If your competitors are still beating you with sales, check out this article to see if your eCommerce store needs a little TLC.

Step 4:

Consider opportunity cost

If you decide to sell 3D printers, you’re missing out on selling wooden sunglasses or anything else that’s not related to your main product. Of course, you can always create a generalist store - but then you would be missing out on the authority and trust that comes from being a specialist. So pick something you’re willing to stick with!.

Save time finding wholesale products online with Salehoo


We have over 2.5 million products researched and ready for you.

With our SaleHoo Directory, you’ll be able to find multiple products and drop shippers that fit your niche perfectly. The best part? All of our wholesale suppliers are verified! You’ll get access to guides, tutorials, one-on-one help from the SaleHoo staff, along with market research to see which products will sell well, which products have low competition, and which products are similar to items you’re interested in selling.

8000+ vetted suppliers you can contact.

Because our staff has already vetted each wholesale supplier, you don’t have to! You’ll never have to worry about whether or not your supplier is trustworthy when you go through SaleHoo. On top of vetting our wholesale vendors, we review their product range, quality, and the level of customer service to ensure they’re 100% reliable.

Unlimited 1 on 1 support from us.

Whether you need advice on what to sell or just need help kickstarting your eCommerce store, we’ve got your back. You’re able to reach out to the SaleHoo staff VIA email, phone, live chat, or Facebook. With SaleHoo by your side, you’ll never be alone.