Wholesale Sourcing: Finding Wholesale Suppliers and Distributors
Leveraging OA techniques to source find and pursue wholesale leads.
In our recent guides and posts, we've extensively discussed sourcing with online arbitrage, but we haven't delved as much into wholesale sourcing. Today, we're excited to focus on wholesale sourcing because it opens up numerous opportunities for sellers who have mastered online arbitrage and want to scale up their business.
For me, wholesale was the first time I felt like I was running a “real business”. This isn’t meant to say arbitrage isn’t a real business. It is. And I love it. But I can’t ignore the sense of entering the big leagues as I started placing my first purchase orders.
Now, let's dive in.
Normal sourcing vs. reverse Sourcing
Wholesale sourcing follows the same principles as online and retail arbitrage. You can choose between normal sourcing and reverse sourcing.
Normal Sourcing: Involves finding suppliers first and then sifting through their product catalogs to identify profitable products.
Reverse Sourcing: Begins by finding a successful product already selling well on Amazon, and then searching for a supplier that offers it at the right price.
I prefer reverse sourcing because it has a higher success rate and is more time-efficient. With reverse sourcing, I know I have a profitable product, and I just need to find a supplier offering it at the right price.
Normal sourcing methods
With that said, let's run through the list of normal sourcing methods to let you see for yourself:
Google Search: Use Google to search for suppliers online, pairing the keywords with a niche or category. For example, search for "automotive suppliers" or "automotive dealers." Refine your search by adding your location, such as "automotive suppliers near me" or "automotive suppliers [city name]." Use keywords like "supplier," "distributor," "wholesaler," or "dealer" for better results. Experiment with different search variations to find targeted outcomes.
Wholesale Directories: Explore wholesale directories like Wholesale Central and Top 10 Wholesale. While these directories are widely known, you may still find a decent supplier through them. We have a couple of suppliers from these we still work with every now and then. However, this method may not be the most time-efficient.
Trade Show Listings: Check trade show listings specific to your industry. Attending trade shows in person allows you to network and establish connections. If you can't attend, access the list of vendors or exhibitors from the trade show's website. Reach out to these exhibitors after the trade show and express interest in their business. Some sellers go as far as pretending they were at the trade show when they reach out.
Local Area Sourcing: Physically explore commercial or warehouse districts in your city or suburbs. Look for clusters of warehouses and businesses, and visit their premises. We’ve personally not found success with this method, but it seems someone on Twitter always mentions it. So there you go.
Now, let's move on to reverse sourcing, which is our preferred method: