Where Do Retailers Get Their Products From?

Learn about where retailers get their products from - wholesalers & manufacturers - plus other ways online retailers can store their inventory affordably.

Where Do Retailers Get Their Products From?

Most retailers don't make their own products, instead they source them from wholesalers. Wholesalers are great sources of products and can support businesses as they grow and evolve. Many online retailers buy products in bulk, either as is or with their custom brand applied to the product. Wholesalers act as intermediaries between the retailer and the manufacturer of the item.

For online retailers who can't buy directly from a manufacturer or distributor, this is the most likely source of retail products. Meaghan Brophy, retail sales expert for Fit Small Business, has more than 10 years of retail experience, including working in local book and dance goods stores, making gifts by hand at an eco-friendly manufacturer, developing own-brand brands, and managing a team of more than 40 sales and service professionals at a local spa. Alibaba is a great platform to connect with manufacturers in China. It's a common marketplace for finding existing products, but you can also use it to connect with manufacturers and create custom products.

Simply search for the products you are looking for and explore the various suppliers and manufacturers. A retailer is a person or company that sells products directly to its customers for profit. The retailer may be the manufacturer of the product, or may purchase the relevant products from a distributor or wholesaler. The products they sell will have a higher price than that of a wholesaler, due to margins.

Other directories, such as Wholesale Central and the Wholesale Network, are also available to help online retailers get the products they need while still sticking to their budget. As a direct shipper, you get the benefits of retail sales (such as a specific brand and a direct line to the customer), while a specialty retailer takes care of the initial part. However, many manufacturers prefer to work with retailers who can place large orders, so online sellers who are just starting out with a small budget might not be able to work directly with manufacturers at first. Wholesalers are part of the broad category of retail suppliers, generally known as suppliers or distributors.

They rely heavily on market research and feedback from retailers to stay ahead of the curve. If you think you can manage both wholesale and retail together, think of strategies that allow you to grow the retail side of your business and, at the same time, be able to sell to retailers without competing against yourself. There are many types of retail suppliers you'll come across when you get products for your business. While working with independent retail suppliers opens the door to custom designs and the purchase of unique products, there are some drawbacks. Independent retail suppliers manufacture their own products and sell them at trade shows, through their personal websites and working directly with retailers.

This can generate interest in your product and make it attractive to retail stores, who can see that there is a strong audience for your products and are more likely to want to store your product. In addition to wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers, there are other ways in which online retailers can store their inventory affordably.

Emmett Heyduck
Emmett Heyduck

Evil food scholar. Certified food trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble zombie guru. Passionate music fan. Wannabe web aficionado.

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