This post will discuss the best wholesale channels to find the best wholesale suppliers and vendors depending on whether you…
- Sell Dropshipped Products
- Sell Wholesale Products
- Sell Private Label Products
Based on my experience running my 7 figure ecommerce store, here’s my take on the best way to find top wholesale suppliers and vendors for your online or retail business.
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What Is A Wholesale Vendor?
Wholesale vendors are merchants who buy goods in large quantities directly from the manufacturer or factory at a significant discount.
The wholesale vendor then resells these items directly to small business owners and local retailers at a wholesale rate. Wholesale margins are typically 50%.
The Best Wholesale Suppliers For Dropshipping
Here are the best wholesale vendors for dropshipping:
Editor’s Note: Go here for more detailed descriptions of my recommended dropshipping suppliers.
Worldwide Brands is a directory of wholesale suppliers who dropship in the United States.
There are over 16 million products offered on the platform that range from apparel, consumer electronics, beauty products, office products and more.
There is a one time membership fee of $299 to access the directory and most of the wholesale suppliers are in the United States or Canada.
I’ve personally used Worldwide Brands in the past to quickly find small business wholesale suppliers to fill out our inventory for sparse categories.
SaleHoo is a reputable wholesale supplier directory of dropshippers that cater to international clients. As a result, many of the leading wholesale suppliers found on SaleHoo are not from the United States.
Based in New Zealand, SaleHoo boasts over 8000 trusted dropshipping suppliers that sell over 2.5 million different products and brands across a variety of categories including consumer electronics, health and beauty, pet supplies and more.
SaleHoo’s main value add is that every wholesale supplier in their directory is pre-vetted with up to date information and you get instant access to a wide variety of products to dropship in your store.
Salehoo charges a one time access fee of $127. Alternatively, you can pay $67 per year for membership.
Doba is an all in one wholesale supplier for dropshipping that is both a directory and a marketplace.
On Doba, you’ll find thousands of dropshipping vendors to source products for your ecommerce business. This makes Doba a valuable resource for online sellers.
Other than helping you find wholesale suppliers, Doba also manages all of your ordering and fulfillment operations as well.
Here’s how it works.
- You find products on Doba that you want to sell.
- You add these products to your online store.
- When you receive an order, Doba automatically passes your order to the dropship supplier who fulfills the order.
Basically, Doba acts as a bridge to a large database of quality wholesale suppliers that will dropship on your behalf.
The main disadvantage is that you will never know who your suppliers truly are as Doba hides that information from you.
Doba charges a monthly fee from $24.99/month to $299/month depending on the plan that you choose.
Spocket is a directory of wholesale vendors willing to dropship on your behalf. Most of the leading wholesale suppliers on their platform are from the US or the EU and the product quality is top notch.
Using their app, you can instantly add products you find on Spocket to your Shopify store.
When an order comes in, it is electronically sent to Spocket where they handle inventory management and order fulfillment.
The only disadvantage to using Spocket is that they have a smaller selection of products compared to other wholesale suppliers on this list.
Spocket charges a membership fee that starts at $24.99/month all the way up to $99/month depending on the number of products you sell.
Droply by Abound
Droply by Abound, launched 2019, is a dropshipping platform that connects retailers with independent brands. It currently has 800,000 products available with over 6,400 brands. It’s currently in beta and is only available to select retailers.
They have no required minimums and don’t charge monthly fees, allowing clients to start selling immediately. Their brands ship wholesale orders quickly and professionally from the U.S. using the client’s branded packing slip.
All their products are priced at 50% of MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price), similar to wholesale products, ensuring clients can earn a significant profit from each sale.
They have a team of retail experts that hand-pick quality brands. Clients can source confidently, knowing that if an issue arises or an item doesn’t match its description, the company provides support and protection.
New applications to Droply are on pause as of this update, but keep a lookout and try signing up when they’re open again.
How To Find The Best Wholesale Vendors In The US
The simplest way to find wholesale suppliers in the US is by Googling the company of the product you want to sell, going on their website, and finding out who their wholesale distributors are.
Smaller companies typically won’t have distributors and will sell to you directly. Wholesale discounts are usually on the order of 30-50% off MSRP. And depending on the item and the brand, the minimum order can be as low as a hundred dollars.
Outside of Googling, here are other ways to find the best wholesale suppliers in the US.
DataAxle (Aka. Reference USA)
ReferenceUSA, or Data Axle is a database of every registered business in the United States that can be accessed to find wholesale vendors and factories in the US.
The best part is that it’s 100% free.
The only catch is that ReferenceUSA can only be accessed at your local library but most libraries support the service.
In addition to helping you find a reputable wholesale supplier, ReferenceUSA can also be used to…
- Locate any type of retail company
- Research business executives
- Find factories to produce your products
ThomasNet is a searchable database of US suppliers that caters to industrial and commercial companies.
If you have a product that you want to manufacture in the United States, then ThomasNet is an excellent resource.
ThomasNet contains detailed information for every wholesale supplier including their size, annual sales, product information, certifications and more.
The site is 100% free and you can send an email, request a quote or visit the supplier’s website.
Wholesale Central is a wholesale directory that contains a list of wholesale companies and wholesale trade shows in the US.
The best way to find and meet with multiple wholesale vendors in a short period of time is by attending a local trade show.
Wholesale Central sorts every show by product category and you can easily find a niche specific convention to attend.
The best wholesale suppliers can be found at trade shows because they go through a vetting process and have the funds to invest in a booth.
If you live near a major city, you should definitely go and check out a trade show if you have the time. You only need a sellers permit and admission is free for most shows.
How To Find The Best Wholesale Vendors From China
Today, most products are manufactured in China and other parts of Asia because the labor costs are much cheaper.
The general rule of thumb(for textiles at least) is that if you are buying from a vendor in the United States, you aren’t going to get the best pricing for your products.
Buying direct from the manufacturer or importing from China is the best way to obtain the lowest prices.
Here’s how to find a China wholesale supplier to source your products.
Most vendors on Alibaba are willing to create products according to your exact specifications with your brand and label.
As a result, Alibaba is the best way to find private label manufacturers online.
Using Alibaba, you can:
- Buy Products At Low Prices – Because the cost of labor is low in Asia, you can obtain margins of 66% or more.
- Find Thousands Of Suppliers – Alibaba is the largest directory of top wholesale suppliers in the world for Asian factories.
- Create Your Own Brand – Most factories can put your brand on the products you buy.
- Create Custom Designs – You can work with factories on Alibaba to fabricate your own custom products for sale.
In addition, Alibaba vets all of their factories and provides you with useful information so you can quickly find the best wholesale suppliers for your business.
With a click of a button, you can easily contact a Chinese supplier directly and ask for quotes, minimum order quantities and lead times.
The best part is you don’t have to travel to Asia to find a great supplier.
Go here for more information on how to buy from Alibaba.
Similar to Alibaba, Global Sources is also a wholesale supplier directory of Asian manufacturers.
However, Global Sources is significantly smaller than Alibaba and has different strengths.
If you are sourcing electronics, then Global Sources is by far the better service. In fact, the vendors you find on Global Sources tend to be higher quality because they vet their companies more closely.
But on the flip side, the vendors on Global Sources are more established and prefer to work with companies with greater purchasing power. As a result, the minimum order quantities tend to be higher on Global Sources vs Alibaba.
Overall, Alibaba has a much larger selection of vendors but it tends to be a mixed bag in terms of quality and legitimacy.
Some companies on Alibaba are trading companies. Some listings are individuals doing online arbitrage.
If you plan on sourcing products from China, be sure to browse both directories.
The Canton Fair is one of the largest sourcing shows in the world, with thousands of wholesale buyers and suppliers in attendance. Held in GuangZhou, China twice per year, the Canton Fair hosts wholesale vendors from all over the world that produce nearly every type of product.
Because the show is so large, it’s split into 3 phases.
- Phase 1: Electronics, household electrical appliances, machinery, lighting equipment, hardware and tools, vehicles and spare parts, building materials, chemical products.
- Phase 2: Consumer products,decorations goods, gifts.
- Phase 3: Textiles & garments, shoes, office supplies, cases & bags, recreation products, medicines, medical devices and health products
The Canton Fair is held in April and October every year and it’s free to attend . Due to the pandemic, there are also options to attend the Canton Fair virtually.
If you have the means, I highly recommended that you attend in person. Even though finding and contacting vendors via Alibaba and Global Sources is fairly straightforward, it is a very slow and cumbersome process.
Not only do you have to get individual samples sent back and forth from Asia, but there’s also a major communication slowdown because exchanging emails is highly inefficient.
Add in the time difference and you only have a small window of time everyday to communicate.
By attending a China wholesale trade show, you can see sample products for thousands of Chinese vendors all at once in a single location.
You can see and touch all of the merchandise without having to wait several weeks.
Because so many different vendors congregate at the Canton Fair and bring their merchandise with them, you can easily cover hundreds of vendors in the span of just a few days.
There’s no back and forth or delay in communication. You don’t have to get samples made and sent overseas. Everything is right there at your fingertips.
Go here for my guide to the Canton Fair.
Jungle Scout Supplier Database
Even though the vendor reviews on Alibaba and Global Sources are helpful for evaluating potential vendors, an even faster way to vet reliable suppliers is to spy on who your competitors are using.
What is a supplier database?
Every sea shipping container that enters the United States must clear customs before it is allowed to cross the border. And during this process, every shipment is carefully documented in the US customs database.
All of this information is freely available to the public and a supplier database tool allows you to quickly browse the shipments for every company that imports into the United States by sea.
For example, here is a sample shipping document(bill of lading) for The North Face.
From this document, you can easily find North Face’s supplier and the size and weight of their shipment. This information is extremely powerful!
My favorite supplier database tool is called the Jungle Scout Supplier Database
For a small fee, you can quickly find the best wholesale suppliers your competition is using!
Below is a video demo I created on how to use the Jungle Scout supplier database tool to find your suppliers.
Note: I have negotiated a significant discount on the tool for MyWifeQuitHerJob.com readers. Click Here To Save $20/month on The Jungle Scout Supplier Database
Best Wholesale Vendors By Product Type
Depending on what you sell, it’s always better to find a wholesale vendor that specializes in your product niche.
Below is a list of wholesale vendors categorized by product type.
Best Wholesale Jewelry Vendors
Here’s a list of some of the best wholesale jewelry vendors.
- Etsy: Etsy is an online marketplace where you can find wholesale jewelry suppliers and vendors. Even though Etsy is known for their handmade goods, you can place bulk orders on rings, earrings, charms, chains, pendants, and other jewelry making supplies.
- Alibaba: Alibaba is a wholesale supplier directory where you can source all sorts of jewelry items directly from the factory. On the Alibaba site, you can contact the supplier directly to ask for minimum order quantities and pricing.
- Pinktown: Pinktown is a wholesale jewelry vendor in the US that specializes in a wide variety of jewelry, including western, religious, and designer-inspired articles. Pinktown also allows retailers and e-commerce stores to dropship their products.
- DHGate: DHgate is a great place for buying and dropshipping wholesale jewelry products from China. DHgate has a long list of jewelry categories for every style and material catering to wholesale buyers all over the world.
- Ruby Imports: Ruby Imports is a reliable wholesaler that carries an extensive catalog of wholesale fashion jewelry and accessories. Users can shop by color, design, and material at discounted prices.
Best Womens Wholesale Clothing Vendors
For those opening a clothing store online, consider these wholesale clothing vendors for women’s apparel.
- Wholesale Fashion Square: WholesaleFashionSquare.com is a wholesale clothing marketplace of manufacturers and importers from Los Angeles, CA. Most of their items are sold in bundles of 6 and they offer very reasonable pricing on their items.
- LA Show Room: LAShowRoom.com also offers a huge selection of clothing from designers, manufacturers, and wholesale distributors from around the world. New products are added every week.
- Tasha Apparel: Tasha Apparel is a LA based wholesale clothing vendor that carries the latest and hottest wholesale clothes and accessories for women. They also have a dropshipping program for their single-piece and bundled items.
- En Creme: EnCreme is a wholesale clothing vendor that offers stylish dresses, rompers, tops, sweaters, and other products at accessible pricing. Based in downtown Los Angeles, EnCreme specializes in wholesale bohemian and contemporary clothing.
- Lush Clothing: Based in Los Angeles, Lush Clothing offers wholesale apparel for every season including casual, dressy, flirty and fun pieces. A seller’s permit is required to purchase from Lush Clothing.
- Hailey & Co: Hailey & Co is a wholesale marketplace dedicated to upscale contemporary women’s clothes. 80% of their clothing is locally made in the US.
- Tyche: Tyche is a wholesale clothing vendor from Los Angeles that aims to turn every woman into a chic and sunny California girl with cute clothes at affordable prices.
Best Mens Wholesale Clothing Vendors
Here some of the best wholesale vendors for men’s fashion:
- Vustra: Vustra sells sustainable clothing for men that is comfortable, durable and fashionable. Based in San Jose, California, Vustra ships their tees, shackets and shirts internationally and can be purchased wholesale.
- FindYourCoast: Find Your Coast is a wholesale clothing vendor that specializes in casual comfort apparel like surf wear, swimwear and more. The brand’s catalog covers clothes for both men and women.
- Solid Threads: Solid Threads specializes in funny and cool men’s t-shirts. Their vintage-inspired t-shirt designs appeal to different ages, genders, and interests and they take pride in their hand-made and ethically sourced tees.
- Spiritex: Spiritex specializes in clothing made from organic cotton that is grown in the US. Spiritex caters to wholesale buyers within the USA.
Denim Manufacturing: Denim Manufacturing makes all of their own denim and specializes in wholesale and private label jeans, jackets, and other custom-made denim products.
Best Kids Wholesale Clothing Vendors
Here are the top choices for wholesale vendors focused on kids apparel:
- Orcas Lucille: Orcas Lucille is a wholesale clothing vendor that specializes in children’s fashion like rompers, tops, as well as knitwear and swimming apparel.
- Bailey’s Blossoms: Bailey’s Blossoms sells clothing for infants and toddlers in addition to fashionable accessories. All designs are produced and shipped from Rhome, TX.
- Little Threads: Little Threads offers adorable dresses and rompers for babies and children, as well as classic and special occasion outfits. All of their clothing is available for wholesale ordering with low minimums.
- Laree + Co.: Laree + Co. sells beautiful and buttery-soft children’s dresses, footies and accessories. They ship out of Fort Scott, Kansas.
- Flap Happy: Flap Happy makes protective and practical children’s wear for play and the outdoors. Most of their products offer sun protection and businesses can order wholesale from Flap Happy on their website.
Best Wholesale Print On Demand Vendors
Here are the top 5 wholesale print on demand vendors.
- Printful: Printful is a vertically integrated print-on-demand company that prints all of their own products with fast turnaround times. They also support all of the major ecommerce platforms.
- CustomCat: CustomCat is a vertically integrated print on demand company like Printful that does all of it’s own printing in house. However, CustomCat has a significantly smaller product selection with cheaper prices.
- Printify: Printify offers one of the largest print-on-demand networks in the world with a vast catalog of bags, mugs, candles, apparel and hoodies. Printify offers a free plan with unlimited product designs.
- Redbubble: Redbubble is a print on demand platform where independent artists can sell their designs. They are headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.
- Zazzle: Zazzle is an online platform for printing custom products and gifts. You can create and sell a variety of products, including clothing, home décor, stationary, and accessories. Zazzle also offers a large selection of pre-designed products that can be customized with text, images, or logos.
Other Reliable Wholesale Vendors
Here are a few other wholesale vendors that haven’t yet been mentioned but are still worth considering:
- Faire is an online wholesale marketplace that connects retailers with independent brands and artisans to stock their shops. Faire offers a wide variety of products, including apparel, home decor, food and beverage, and gifts. Faire also offers a variety of features and services to help retailers succeed, such as a free shipping option on wholesale orders over $500, net 60 terms, and Faire Flexpay financing.
- TradeKey is a global marketplace that bridges the gap between wholesale suppliers and buyers worldwide. TradeKey features a vast selection of wholesale items, spanning categories such as agriculture, apparel, consumer electronics, and industrial machinery. They have premium memberships that offer features and benefits, like the ability to list a certain amount of products, buyer leads, priority placement in their directory, dedicated account manager, and so on.
They also offer tools and resources like TradeMate for secure transactions and TradeKey Wallet for easy and safe payments.
- Handshake is Shopify’s own wholesale e-commerce platform tailored for all the wholesalers and brands wanting to connect with retailers. As an extension of Shopify’s robust ecosystem, Handshake offers a curated assortment of products across categories like fashion, beauty, home, and more. For businesses, it seamlessly integrates with their Shopify store, making inventory management and order processing efficient.
Handshake is a great option for businesses of all sizes. It is especially well-suited for small businesses that are looking for a convenient way to source products from local suppliers. They ensure that retailers are genuine and authentic, create personalized product recommendations for retailers, and take no commission fees on orders.
When To Source Product From Asia Vs the United States Or Your Home Country
Sourcing wholesale products from Asia to sell online is usually cheaper, while sourcing products from the United States is easier since you don’t need to deal with shipping and customs. It’s also much easier to visit a US vendor for quality assurance checks.
So while the wholesale price for your goods will tend to be cheaper if purchased from China, importing from Asia will not always be the right answer for everyone.
There are many factors that you need to take into account. First off, the main advantage of importing from China is that the labor costs are significantly cheaper.
Therefore if you want to sell products that are labor intensive to create, going with China will almost always be cheaper. So textiles, clothing and anything that needs to be handmade are ideal candidates for importing.
But let’s say you manufacture plastic toys and you already own the molds. The cost of plastic between the US and Asia will probably not differ enough to warrant manufacturing in China.
The other thing you need to consider are the minimum order quantities and the cost of shipping and customs.
Note: I created a true landed cost of goods shipping calculator that you should check out if you plan on importing from overseas. Click here to check it out
You should also be aware that the term “wholesale” gets thrown around a lot in the United States and the definition can be misleading.
Buying wholesale implies that the price is the lowest that you can find. But that’s rarely the case.
For example, when I was looking for a wholesale suppliers in the US, I noticed that most small business wholesale suppliers quoted extremely high wholesale prices that were comparable to Walmart.
While they were cheaper than MSRP (MSRP is just a made up number anyway), the wholesale prices were so high that the profit margins would have been in the single digits for the products we wanted to sell.
In general, US wholesale suppliers (or wholesale suppliers from your home country) are going to be more expensive. But using a local wholesale supplier has its advantages.
Because many products are not made in the United States anymore, wholesale suppliers take care of all the hassle of importing and warehousing the goods from the manufacturer.
You don’t have to travel to a foreign country. You don’t have to deal with shipping or customs. You just place your order and the merchandise appears at your doorstep.
Finding domestic wholesale suppliers also saves you time from having to perform extensive quality control checks on your merchandise because presumably the wholesale supplier has gone through it all already.
Overall, it’s a trade off between time vs money.
Here’s a comparison of the benefits of working with local vs. international wholesale suppliers.
|Criteria||Local Wholesale Vendors||International Wholesale Vendors|
|Shipping Costs||Lower due to shorter distances.||Typically higher due to longer travel distances.|
|Delivery Times||Quicker, given the proximity.||Generally slower because of international transit, or even customs|
|Selection of Products||May offer a limited selection because of space constraints.||Often boasts a wider variety due to larger storage facilities.|
|Prices||Tend to be higher due to the cost of US labor and smaller economies of scale.||Often more competitive, therefore lesser, because of bulk operations and sourcing advantages.|
|Personal Relationships||Easier to establish and maintain; face-to-face meetings are more feasible.||Language and cultural barriers; limited to digital communication and occasional visits.|
|Competition||Fewer competitors might make them more open to negotiations.||High competition can make negotiations tougher.|
|Customs and Duties||Not applicable for intra-country shipments.||Import duties, customs clearance, and associated paperwork can add complexity and cost.|
|Quality Assurance||Easier to verify product quality through frequent visits.||Might require third-party inspection services or infrequent visits, adding to the time and cost.|
|Communication||Usually no language barriers, facilitating smoother communication.||Potential language and time-zone differences can pose challenges.|
|Environmental Impact||Reduced carbon footprint due to shorter shipping distances.||Longer shipping distances might contribute more to carbon emissions.|
How Do I Negotiate Prices With Wholesale Vendors?
Here’s some quick tips to help you negotiate with wholesale vendors:
- Do your research. Before you start negotiating, it is important to do your research and understand the market value of the products you are interested in. This will help you to determine a fair price and to avoid being overcharged.
- Get multiple quotes. It is always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different vendors before you make a purchase. This will give you a better idea of the price range and will also help you to negotiate the best possible price.
- Be prepared to walk away. If you are not happy with the price that a vendor is offering, be prepared to walk away. This shows the vendor that you are serious about negotiating and that you are willing to go elsewhere if you do not get a good deal.
- Be prepared to compromise. It is important to be prepared to compromise when negotiating with wholesale vendors. It is unlikely that you will get the exact price that you want, so be willing to meet the vendor halfway.
- Build a relationship with your vendor. If you have a good relationship with your vendor, they will be more likely to give you a good deal. Be friendly and respectful, and try to understand their needs.
- Start by negotiating the volume. If you are willing to purchase a large volume of products, you will be in a stronger negotiating position.
- Ask about discounts. Many vendors offer discounts for large orders, for paying in advance, or for paying in full.
- Be flexible with your terms. If you are flexible with your terms, such as the delivery date or the payment terms, you may be able to negotiate a better price.
- Be confident. When negotiating with wholesale vendors, it is important to be confident. Believe in yourself and your ability to get a good deal.
Remember that negotiation is a two-way street. Be prepared to listen to the vendor’s needs and to work with them to find a solution that is beneficial for both of you.
What Are the Key Factors To Consider When Choosing A Wholesale Vendor?
There are a few key factors to consider when looking for a wholesale vendor:
- Product Quality – High-quality products maintain your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Compromising on product quality can lead to customer dissatisfaction and potential returns of your products.
- Product Selection – A vendor with a diverse product range gives you flexibility in your inventory, allowing you to cater to varied customer needs. It also lets you pivot and adjust your offerings based on market trends.
- Pricing – Ensure that the cost aligns with the quality and value of the products. Negotiating favorable pricing with your vendor can boost your profit margins.
- Delivery – Reliable and timely delivery from a vendor ensures a smooth supply chain, preventing potential stockouts. Try to gauge if the vendor can handle rush orders or scale up deliveries during peak seasons.
- Customer Service – Excellent customer service capabilities can help address concerns promptly and ensure a smooth collaboration. It’s essential for troubleshooting issues, handling returns, or adjusting order specifics.
- Reputation – Selecting a vendor with a solid reputation reduces risks associated with quality, delivery, and overall reliability. Word-of-mouth and industry reviews can provide insights into a vendor’s track record.
- Location – A vendor’s location can impact shipping costs and delivery times. Choosing a strategically located vendor can lead to faster restocking and lower logistical expenses.
- Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) – A reasonable MOQ (the smallest amount of products you can order from the vendor) ensures that you’re not overstocking or committing to more inventory than you can sell. Conversely, it’s also vital to ensure the vendor’s MOQ doesn’t restrict your ability to order in volumes suited to your business needs.
You’ll know you’re dealing with reputable suppliers if you can find the following after your research:
- Wide selection of products
- Competitive prices
- Reliable delivery
- Excellent customer service (responsive and goes out of their way to help you)
- Good reputation (plenty of recommendations and positive reviews)
- Financial stability
- Flexible payment terms
How Can I Verify The Legitimacy Of A Wholesale Vendor?
There’s a few different ways you can verify the legitimacy of a wholesale vendor.
- Online research. Search the vendor you plan on approaching in Google or popular directories of Chinese wholesale suppliers like Alibaba. You can also try searching for “[vendor name] + scam” and other variations of this phrase to see if other customers or retailers have had bad experiences with the vendor. You should also check if the vendor has a website, and if it’s professional, up to date, and contains necessary information such as contact numbers and their physical address. Just keep in mind that not all wholesale vendors have a website in place.
- Contact the vendor and ask questions. Ask them about their products, their shipping policies, and their payment terms. Get references from other businesses that have worked with them. If you can, get a credit report (credit history, credit score, financial performance, years of operation, management structure, etc.).
- Request documentation. You can request documentation like their business license, tax ID number, or certificate of incorporation.
If the vendor’s address is in a place you are able to travel to, visit the vendor’s warehouse or office in person. This will give you a chance to see their operations firsthand and allows you to discuss product specifics in person.
What Is The Standard Payment Process For Wholesale Vendors?
The common payment process for wholesale vendors usually goes as follows:
- The buyer places an order with the vendor.
- The vendor sends the buyer an invoice. The invoice will include the total amount due, the payment terms, and any shipping or handling fees.
- The buyer pays the invoice. The buyer can typically pay the invoice by credit card, debit card, check, or wire transfer.
- The vendor ships the order to the buyer. Once the payment has been received, the vendor will ship the order to the buyer’s specified address.
However, the standard payment process for wholesale vendors can vary depending on the vendor and the size of the order. Some wholesale vendors may offer additional payment options, such as net 30 or net 60 terms. Net 30 or net 60 terms allow the buyer to pay for the order within 30 or 60 days of receiving it.
Can I Get Samples From Wholesale Vendors Before Making A Large Order?
Yes, most vendors are open to sending samples prior to purchase. Product samples can help you see if a vendor’s products are good quality before committing to a larger order.
Potential customers can contact the vendor directly and request samples. Some vendors may even have a sample request form on their website.
Keep in mind that product samples might not precisely match your specifications or may vary from their bulk-produced wholesale items. While some vendors might offer samples for free, others may charge a fee to cover their costs.
What Are The Typical Shipping Terms With Wholesale Vendors?
Here are some common shipping terms, called Incoterms, that are often used within the industry.
- FOB (free on board): The seller is responsible for delivering the goods to a carrier of the buyer’s choosing, but the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs and risks from that point on.
- FCA (free carrier): The seller delivers the goods to a carrier specified by the buyer. Once delivered, the buyer takes responsibility.
- CIF (cost, insurance, and freight ): The seller covers the cost of the goods, insurance for the goods while they are in transit, and freight to transport the goods to the buyer’s port of destination.
- DAP (delivered at place): The seller delivers goods to a specific location. The buyer then takes care of import duties and taxes.
- DDP (delivered duty paid): The seller ensures the goods arrive at a specified location, covering all duties and taxes.
- EXW (ex works): The buyer collects the goods directly from the seller’s location, assuming all shipping costs and risks.
- DPU (delivered at place unloaded): The seller delivers and unloads the goods at a specified location, but the buyer is responsible for import duties and taxes.
- CPT (carriage paid to): The seller pays to transport the goods to a destination, but once they’re shipped, any risk or damage is the buyer’s responsibility.
- CIP (carriage and insurance paid to): Similar to CPT, but the seller also covers insurance for the goods in transit.
- FAS (free alongside ship): The seller places the goods next to a ship chosen by the buyer. From there, the buyer takes responsibility for costs and risks. Seller handles customs clearance.
- CFR (cost and freight): The seller pays for the cost and freight to transport goods to the destination port. Once at the port, the buyer assumes responsibility.
- LCL (less than container load): Shipping goods that don’t fill an entire container. It’s useful for smaller shipments, but the buyer shares container space with others.
You can see a list of other industry terms in our eCommerce glossary.
Shipping with wholesale vendors typically takes place in the following steps.
- Selecting a shipping method. Depending on the volume, weight, destination, and urgency of the order, the buyer and vendor will decide on the best shipping method. Common methods include air freight (for faster, typically smaller shipments), sea freight (for large bulk purchases), rail, and road transport.
- Agreeing on shipping terms: Set the terms of shipment, which dictate who pays for what and who assumes risk at which point. These are typically defined using Incoterms, which are mentioned above.
- Packaging: The vendor ensures products are packaged correctly for transit, considering factors like weight, fragility, and the potential for environmental damage.
- Documentation: The shipping process requires several crucial documents. This can include the bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list, certificate of origin, and if required, insurance documents. Proper documentation ensures customs clearance and adherence to international trade laws.
- Customs and duties: Imported goods often undergo customs inspections. The buyer (or sometimes the vendor, depending on the agreed terms) is responsible for paying any duties or taxes levied on the imported goods.
- Tracking and updates: Many wholesale vendors provide tracking numbers so the buyer can monitor the shipment’s progress. This is especially common for air and courier shipments.
- Delivery and receipt: Once the shipment reaches its destination, it’s typically received at a wholesaler’s warehouse or distribution center. Staff will inspect the order for accuracy and any potential damage during transit.
- Payment: Depending on the payment terms agreed upon (like net 30, net 60), the buyer completes payment after receiving the goods or after the invoice is issued.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wholesale Vendors
Is Amazon A Wholesale Supplier?
No, Amazon is primarily an online retail platform and marketplace, not a wholesale vendor. However, Amazon does offer a wholesale program called Amazon Business for business customers to purchase products in bulk.
Is CostCo A Wholesale Vendor?
Technically yes, Costco is a wholesale club retailer that offers bulk purchases to its members at discounted prices. By becoming a member, customers can access the store’'s wide selection of products and take advantage of the lower prices.
Can You Buy Wholesale Without A Wholesale Business License?
You can definitely buy wholesale without a business. However, you may be charged sales tax which can negatively affect your margins.
Do You Need A Tax ID To Buy Wholesale?
Many vendors may not be willing to sell to you unless you have a business license and tax ID. A business tax wholesale number allows you to buy goods wholesale without paying sales tax. While it is not explicitly required, some vendors may not be willing to sell to you unless you have a business license and tax ID
Is It Legal To Buy Products And Resell Them?
It is completely legal to buy products and resell them. Once you’ve purchased the product, it becomes your property, and it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. However, if you are planning on selling products for a profit, you must register for a sellers permit in order to pay sales tax to your governing entity.
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Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.