Both new and established Shopify sellers can benefit from selling wholesale products. If you’re just starting out, wholesale products can jump start your business. Established sellers can expand their product line this way.
Looking for wholesalers to work with and selling products for the first time can seem daunting. You have to find products, establish relationships, and then start selling on your Shopify store.
To help get you started, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide for buying and selling wholesale products for your Shopify store.
The Definition of Wholesale
Wholesale is the selling of goods in large quantities to be retailed by others.
The supply chain works like this: a manufacturer purchases raw materials and creates a product. A wholesaler purchases those products in large quantities from the manufacturer. A wholesaler marks up the price a little bit and then sells to a merchant, like you, to sell directly to consumers in your retail store.
As a merchant, you purchase the products from the wholesaler in a large quantity at a discount and then mark up the price for your consumers.
It’s in your advantage to purchase in bulk from wholesalers for a better per unit price. Most wholesalers require that you purchase a certain amount to place an order with them, as well.
Wholesalers exist for all different types of products. You just have to find them.
Benefits of Selling Wholesale Products on Shopify
Why would you want to sell wholesale products through your Shopify store in the first place? There could be many reasons.
For new sellers, procuring wholesale items is a great way to start your business. You can find wholesale items in all types of categories like clothes, electronics, shoes, handbags, and jewelry.
You don’t have to make, or manufacture your own products to be a successful retailer.
You can still choose your own product mix. It’s is a cost-effective way to start your business because you don’t need the resources and labor to make your products. Instead, you order in bulk from a wholesaler for your inventory.
For established sellers, selling products purchased through wholesalers represent an opportunity to expand your product line. If you already sell women’s shoes, you can find men’s shoes to also sell. You can also introduce new products to create product bundles to sell.
This is a good way to test out new product types for your customers. You can start with one order of the items you want. If it goes well, purchase more. If it doesn’t, then you don’t have to order again.
Selling wholesale products is a great opportunity for all types of Shopify sellers. Now, you just have to find the right wholesalers and products for your business.
Where to Find Wholesalers
It’s going to take some time and research to find the right wholesaler to work with. Wholesalers are notorious for having outdated, lackluster websites that you have to search for.
But, it’s all worth it in the end. Here are a few different places that you can find wholesale products for Shopify.
1. Shopify’s Wholesale Site
If you’re a Shopify seller, you need to look no further than Shopify. You can go to wholesale.shopify.com and use their directory to search and contact wholesalers.
Their directory is easy to use. Search for products, select which ones you want, and then contact wholesalers. Then, provide your email and the wholesalers should respond with pricing and availability within 72 hours.
The best part is that this product search tool is free. However, it is currently in beta. So, you might run into a few bumps in the process, but it’s still worth checking out.
Shopify isn’t the only one who provides directories of wholesale sellers. There are actually many different ones for merchants.
These directories allow you to search and find wholesalers who provide the products you’re looking for. Just like Shopify’s tool, you can easily find wholesalers to work with.
Here are some popular directories to check out:
For directories like these, you have to be prepared to pay for these lists. Sometimes it can be a large one-time fee, or it can be a smaller monthly subscription. Some are even free.
With any directory, especially the free ones, you need to be diligent in research of the wholesaler. There can be retailers posing a wholesalers by offering products at “wholesale prices.” We’ll go into more detail below to figure out how to spot these fakes.
Good, old Google can also be helpful in finding wholesalers. Just type in different search terms for product types you want to sell.
For example, let’s say you’re looking for wholesale Star Wars products. You can try search terms like “Star Wars wholesale”, or “wholesale products for Star Wars.”
When you’re using Google to find wholesalers, you need have these expectations.
Don’t expect to find top wholesalers in the first page results. Wholesalers usually don’t optimize their site for search. You’re going to have to look on page 10 or 12 of Google results to find what you’re looking for.
Don’t expect some fancy, over the top website. It’s most likely going to look out of date, and even untrustworthy. Don’t take this as the wholesaler not being legitimate. All you need to find is contact information like a phone number and email.
Other than that, Google is a good way to find wholesalers.
4. Trade Shows
If you’re not into finding something online, you can also attend trade shows specific to the industry or products you want to sell.
While trade shows can be expensive, they’re also a good opportunity to find the exact products you’re looking for. You’ll be able to meet the wholesaler in person and established a good relationship right away.
5. Find the Manufacturer
For sellers who know the exact type of product you want to sell, you can use that product to find potential wholesalers.
Contact the manufacturer of the product to find out who the wholesaler is. You can even work directly with the manufacturer if you’re willing to purchase a big order in bulk upfront.
If you can’t seem to find a wholesaler through any other means, this is a good approach for specific products.
How to Determine Real Wholesalers
Like we mentioned, there are many cases when retailers pretend to offer products at seemingly “wholesale” prices. These types of merchants are ripping you off by selling to you at the retail price, instead of the discounted wholesale price.
There’s two things to look for when researching wholesalers to tip you off whether or not they’re posing as a wholesaler. Those two things are – whether they charge membership fees or sell the same products directly to the public.
Some fake individual wholesalers will ask for a service, or membership fee. You shouldn’t have to pay to have a relationship with them. (It’s okay when directories ask for a fee because they are providing services for you).
Secondly, check out the wholesaler’s website and see if they are offering the same products to all consumers at the same “wholesale price.” If they are, they’re mostly likely just offering products to everyone at retail price, meaning you’re getting ripped off.
To know if a wholesaler is real, you should have to apply for a wholesale account and prove you’re a legal business before placing any orders.
What To Do Next: Dropshipping
This guide should help you how find and sell wholesale products on your Shopify store.
Once you start selling wholesale products, you’re next step might be fulfilling your Shopify orders. Traditionally, a merchant can purchase wholesale items, keep the inventory on-hand, and then fulfill orders themselves from their Shopify store.
However, merchants today now have the cost-effective option of dropshipping their Shopify orders.
Drop shipping allows you to purchase products from wholesalers only when sell items. You don’t have to keep on-hand inventory, or guess how much you need.
Instead when someone makes a purchase on your Shopify site, the wholesaler ships the product to your customers.
Throughout this whole process, the wholesale is invisible to the customer. The order is sent as if it is from you.
If you want to learn more about drop shipping, check out our Drop shipping 101 Guide.