Sourcing products is a vital part of owning a retail store, but finding the right goods at a cost price that works for your business can be challenging.
That’s where wholesale buying comes in. Wholesalers will give you access to a wide range of goods that you can buy in bulk, which means you can offer your customers plenty of products, keep down costs, and grow your business.
There are plenty of pluses when it comes to working with wholesalers, but you’ll need to make sure you find the right ones if you want to set your business up for success.
We’ve got all the information you need to weed out the duds and find the best wholesale solution that will help your business grow from strength to strength.
What Is Buying Wholesale?
Buying wholesale is a process where retailers purchase products in bulk (either directly from the manufacturer or from a middleman) and then resell them to consumers.
Manufacturers rarely sell products directly to consumers. They usually use an intermediary – or wholesaler – to sell the goods to retailers and, eventually, the final customer. The process usually goes something like this:
- Manufacturers mass produce goods and sell them to wholesalers
- Wholesalers sell batches of those products to retailers
- Retailers market and sell individual goods to their customers
Wholesale purchases are more economical because the business is buying large quantities of goods. However, bulk buying can present some challenges for smaller businesses.
Orders are usually sent in one large shipment and retailers store the inventory until a customer buys an item. Although this can be challenging if you don’t have much space to store items, a solid strategy for managing your inventory will help you manage this easily.
What Are the Benefits of Buying Wholesale?
Whether you’re just starting an online retail business or you’ve been at it for years, buying wholesale can help you increase your profit margin. In simple terms, your profit margin is the difference between the wholesale purchase price and the retail sale price, minus other business expenses.
There are a variety of ways that buying wholesale contributes to growing your profits. These include:
- Lower costs: Wholesale prices are always lower than buying individual items. Buying in bulk also means fewer orders per year and therefore lower shipping costs overall.
- Improved product selection: Many wholesalers have access to wider ranges of products than individual retailers, which means you’ll have access to more goods that you can offer to your customers.
- Opportunities for growth: As your business grows and you need to increase your inventory, all you have to do is contact your wholesaler and place a bigger order.
How Do You Choose the Best Wholesalers for Your Business?
With so many wholesalers to choose from, it can be challenging to find the suppliers that best suit your needs.
Although there’ll likely be some trial and error in finding the wholesaler that you want to work with, understanding the different types of wholesalers and what to look out for when shopping around are great strategies for reducing the learning curve.
Types of Wholesalers
Wholesalers are defined based on where they get the products they sell and who they sell those products to.
Merchant wholesalers either manufacture products themselves or buy products and store them before selling them on to distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and other resellers.
Within the merchant wholesaler category, there are full-service wholesalers and limited service wholesalers. Full-service wholesalers provide a bunch of ancillary services (like offering shipping and lines of credit), while they’re limited services counterparts don’t.
General Merchandise Wholesalers
These wholesalers purchase goods from a number of manufacturers and sell them to distributors, resellers and retailers. They’re usually considered to be part of the full-service wholesaler category.
Wholesale Brokers and Agents
Wholesale brokers and agents are an intermediary between a manufacturer or wholesaler, and distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. They handle all of the logistics related to the sale of goods and earn commission for their work.
Manufacturers’ Branches and Offices
When merchant wholesalers sell their goods from a secondary site (i.e. not the manufacturing plant), they’re called manufacturers’ branches and offices. The branches will likely carry inventory, while the offices will simply handle the administrative work that comes with selling to wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wholesaler
The wholesaler you choose to work with will have an impact on your business’s profitability and performance.
Some of the factors you need to consider – like price, product options, and shipping services – are easy to compare when picking a provider. Others require a bit more research. Here are a few things to consider when picking a wholesaler:
- Products: Look at the variety of products the wholesaler sells. Being able to purchase a range of goods from one supplier can save you time and money, and reduce the administrative load of buying from multiple wholesalers.
- Price: What you pay for your products will have an impact on your ability to compete on price in your market. Also keep a lookout for additional costs like shipping or commission.
- Shipping: It’s most convenient to have the goods you purchased shipped directly to your place of business, but not all wholesalers offer this service. This is especially true if you’re buying from an overseas wholesaler.
- Reliability: Ensure you work with a supplier that has a reputation for delivering the correct orders on time. A good track record isn’t a guarantee that a wholesaler won’t make mistakes, but it does show that they are trustworthy.
- Customer service: If something does go wrong with your products or order, you’ll want to be able to get the problem sorted out quickly and efficiently. Check whether the wholesaler you’re researching has a help desk or other types of support.
5 Steps to Buy Wholesale
Follow the steps below to start buying wholesale like an expert.
1. Do Your Research
Start gathering information about the different wholesalers that provide the products you want to sell. The more information you have on hand when you reach out to any wholesalers, the better.
Depending on the types of products you're selling, there may be established wholesalers that are easy to find. Alternatively, you may need to do more in-depth research.
Performing internet searches and asking for referrals from your network are both good ways to start your search. You can also look at online business directories and marketplaces, trade publications, and industry newsletters.
Research the products they offer, too. Price is an important factor, but having access to models or options with unique features, colors, or size formats could set you apart from competitors and may be a good reason to go with one wholesaler over another.
2. Set Yourself Up for Success
Many wholesalers require retailers to provide proof that they’re a legitimate entity, so you’ll need to register your business before you start buying in bulk. It’s also a good idea to review your sales projections and plan how much inventory you need to order.
Paperwork aside, you’ll also need to make sure that you’ve got the space to store the inventory. Maybe you need to rent space in a warehouse, or perhaps it’s just a matter of clearing out some room in your garage. You don’t want to be scrambling to find a place to keep the products when they’re being delivered.
Then there’s the client-facing side of things. Create a marketing plan that outlines how your business will attract customers and encourage them to buy your products. This might include setting up a website or using social media to promote your business and sell goods.
Don’t forget to give your customers plenty of options to pay for their purchases, either. With Pay.com, you can let your customers pay with their favorite methods, from debit and credit cards to mobile wallets, and more. Plus, our user-friendly Pay Dashboard allows you to customize your checkout page and add payment options in just a few clicks.
3. Reach Out to Wholesalers
Once you’ve got your logistics in order and you’ve settled on a list of potential wholesalers, it’s time to start reaching out to them. If you speak to multiple wholesalers, you’ll have more information on hand to make the best decision for your business.
Send an introductory email explaining what you’re looking for and asking for more information. In addition to the availability and price of products, be sure to ask for more information about customer support services as well as shipping policies.
This doesn’t have to be a decision you make overnight. In fact, it’s better to take your time and make sure you’re satisfied before you enter into an agreement with any of the wholesalers you initially identified.
4. Negotiate Prices and Terms
Everything is negotiable. If the quotes a wholesaler provides don’t fit your budget, you can try to propose terms that will benefit the wholesaler (like cash on delivery payments). You can then use these as leverage to negotiate better prices.
There’s more to negotiating than the price of the products, though. You can also discuss terms like shipping costs, minimum order terms, and time to deliver.
This part of the process is also a good indication of what it will be like working with the supplier going forward. Having a good working relationship with a wholesaler will make your life much easier in the long run and impact the success of your business.
A smooth, stress-free negotiation is a good sign that the supplier will be easy to work with. A difficult one, on the other hand, is likely a sign that the rest of your relationship will be the same.
5. Sign the Agreement and Place an Order
The final step before you start buying goods is to formalize your relationship with the wholesaler.
It’s likely that your chosen supplier will have a standard contract that they sign with retailers. Be sure to read through this agreement carefully and ask questions to ensure that you understand the provisions. Plus, check that any terms you may have negotiated are included.
While it’s likely to be fairly straightforward, it may be a good idea to have an attorney look over the document to make sure that everything is in order. This will give you the peace of mind that you and your business are protected if anything does go wrong.
Once the agreement is signed, you can place your first order and get ready to sell your products to your customers.
The Best Way to Accept Online Payments
You’ve chosen your wholesalers and ordered your products. So, what’s next? Accepting payments from your customers, of course!
You’ll want to be sure that you have payment infrastructure in place that makes payments as quick and painless as possible for your buyers. Fortunately, Pay.com gives you everything you need to accept a wide range of payment methods, from credit cards to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and many other alternative payment methods.
Our user-friendly Pay Dashboard allows you to easily create a customized checkout page that matches the branding of the rest of your website, giving your customers a seamless experience. The simple, hassle-free set up and onboarding process means you’ll be ready to accept payments in no time.
The Bottom Line: How to Buy Wholesale for Your Business
Purchasing goods wholesale will help you to increase your business’s profit margins. The money you save by buying products in bulk goes straight to your bottom line. Plus, working with just a few wholesalers instead of a bunch of suppliers will reduce the amount of administrative work you need to do.
Putting in the effort to find wholesalers that can offer you the best terms for high-quality goods at competitive prices will pay off in the long run.
Of course, don’t forget that securing your inventory is only one step in the process of setting up your business. Use Pay.com to ensure that you’re ready to start accepting payments as soon as your products arrive.
Our full-service payment infrastructure allows you to choose from a variety of payment methods, which you can add to your customizable checkout page via the Pay Dashboard in just a few clicks. No coding experience necessary.