Things to Consider Before Choosing a Wholesaler for Your Retail Business


Many factors go into the making of a successful retail business. And one of the most important ones is partnering with the right wholesaler.

But how do you choose the right wholesaler with little to no experience in the industry?

By following the steps in our guide!

We have put together a list of the most crucial considerations that will help you choose the perfect wholesaler—even with zero experience.

Let’s jump right in! 

1. Do Supplier Research

You will eventually work with only a few suppliers, but you should always be aware of most of the ones working in the industry, especially your niche.

Here are some places where you can find information on wholesale suppliers:

  •   Trade shows
  •   Wholesale directories
  •   Online wholesale marketplaces
  •   Association websites
  •   Industry databases
  •   Industry events and exhibitions

It is also essential to consider the suppliers your competitors are working with—you need this crucial information to build strategies for your own success. 

2. Think About the Location

Consider local suppliers when narrowing down your list. Issues can crop up in various distribution channels, and it’s best to limit your business’s exposure to these risks. Local supply chains are much safer and more dependable.

Some reasons why you may want to go for local supply chains are:

  •   Less costly
  •   Good for the community
  •   Shorter delivery times
  •   More control
  •   Sustainable

With the constant disruptions in the global supply chains during the pandemic, choosing a local supplier is the smarter option. 

3. Consider B2B Marketplaces

B2B marketplaces are excellent for retailers looking to get the best deals on inventories after comparing multiple suppliers. From Amazon and Alibaba to eBay and Etsy, various B2B marketplaces cater to various industries.

You can also go for industry-specific marketplaces to get a better price and higher quality of products. 

4. Look For Good Customer Service

Customer service is another crucial element you must closely consider before finalizing a wholesale supplier.

It can be challenging to assess the quality of their services before you work with them, but while you’re in the research stage, here are some things to look for:

  •   Prompt responses
  •   Positive attitude
  •   Professional and useful solutions
  •   Expertise in the industry
  •   Ability to handle and resolve complaints
  •   Satisfactory resolution
  •   Personalized services

You can throw an inquiry to their available support lines and evaluate their services from there. Reviews and testimonials of existing clients also help a ton! 

5. Look For Reliability

The more niche your retail business, the more reliable your supplier needs to be.

Check for suppliers with positive reviews about their promptness and reliability. At the same time, consider how long the suppliers have been in the industry. A long history of supplying quality goods means a wholesaler has optimized its processes and operations. They are also more consistent and experienced at responding to requests, rush orders, and stock management.

You can also check the credit histories of suppliers if you want to understand their financial position.

After all, you don’t want to get stuck with subpar products or delayed deliveries because of your suppliers’ poor management skills. 

6. Consider the Price

Be wary of extremely low prices as they often signal poor quality products and inconsistent services. But at the same time, look for suppliers who will give you a good deal that works in your favor.

The most significant factor in retail is the profit margin, as it decides how successful your business is. And if you can’t find affordable inventory, there’s no way to make ends meet at the sales level.

Here are some factors to consider when determining the cost-efficiency in signing with one wholesaler over another:

  •   Discounts
  •   Minimum order quantity
  •   Shipping costs
  •   Distribution promptness
  •   Consistency
  •   Quality of goods

7. Business Values

More and more consumers are becoming aware of the impact of their shopping behavior and purchasing choices. This means there is a demand for sustainably sourced products and environmentally conscious retailers.

But this doesn’t end at the retailer level—consumers are also looking at participants involved at all stages in the supplier and distribution cycle.

While this requires deeper research and consideration, your choice of wholesaler can make a big difference in your brand image. So make sure you choose a supplier with aligning business values. 

8. Look at the Contract Terms

From payments and deadlines to returns and refund policies, many things need to be discussed with your supplier before signing a contract.

While these are specific to the industry and often not very negotiable, it is better to do your due diligence. This means setting some time aside and drawing up terms that fit your niche and business model best. You can come up with terms that you can and cannot work with to ensure that you can generate profits in the long term.

Then, you can look up suppliers who can meet you on your own terms or negotiate to meet in the middle. 

9. Look for Suppliers Who Also Dropship

Dropshipping frees you from the trouble of storing, managing, and distributing physical inventory. You can save a lot on shipping costs, and you can put the storage risk on the dropshipping business’ shoulders.

Lots of wholesalers now offer dropshipping services for your convenience. This makes the job of retailers a whole lot easier! 

10. Consider Working With Multiple Suppliers

Supply chain shortages, demand influxes, delayed deliveries, and unexpected events are significant risks that retail business owners must factor in their decisions. The pandemic has served as a glaring example of everything that can go wrong in each step of the retail process.

One way to address these problems and mitigate the risk is to work with multiple wholesalers.

When you have multiple suppliers on tap, you can quickly overcome unexpected obstacles. Cultivating multiple, high-quality options will give you a much-needed contingency plan if things go awry.

Final Thoughts

When you partner with the right wholesaler, it becomes easier to deliver on your brand’s promise. The right wholesaler will meet all your non-negotiable requirements and should be able to work with you on the important terms of your contracts.

We hope this guide gives you the clarity you need to find the perfect wholesale supplier!