These days, it’s incredibly accessible to start your own home business as an online retailer, thanks to the internet. Having an e-commerce shop allows you to start out of your garage if you want, and then start hitting milestone after milestone and working your way up in the world, eventually landing an arrangement that’s much more convenient, as far as businesses are concerned.
Selling anything though, requires a stock of the said item. It sounds obvious, but making sure you have the right suppliers for that stock can make or break your entire business model. You need a supplier that’s reliable, easy to work with, responds well to requests, and of course, sells at a reasonable price. You’ll be buying wholesale to take advantage of what’s referred to as economy of sale, which is merely the concept that buying 100 of something makes you pay less per item, than if you were only buying one. Then, resell the items at a profit.
Simple, right? Not so fast. Finding the right supplier requires some due diligence. Here’s what you need to do to properly vet any would-be suppliers for your business:
When buying from wholesalers, you should always make a test purchase of their minimum amount of a product before committing fully to using their services. This way, you’re able to test how long it takes for them to fulfill an order and how good their product is. Sometimes, when it comes to mass-produced wholesale items, there’s a percentage of products that will be defective that you’ll have to accept as a cost of doing business. Other times, you need to do a dummy order before committing to a particular supplier to make sure the product you receive matches the picture, and that it isn’t something weird like a 1/50th scale model of what you were looking for, that was mocked up to look like a full-sized product.
Any good wholesaler should have been in the business for years and got enough time to have finely tuned their system to work as efficiently as possible. If you’re going wholesale, they should be able to fulfill your order in full every time you order, and it should reliably arrive within the time frame they prescribed. Wholesale for everyone should mean they’re willing to handle your needs promptly and with tact and professionalism. If you can’t rely on your wholesaler, your clients can’t rely on you.
As you begin to sell more and more, you’ll start getting feedback from your clients as to what they want from the products you’re selling. Because of this, you should be able to have the products changed or adapted slightly from the manufacturer to better serve these needs. This kind of adaptability can be low-grade, like changing the font or text on an item or adding an extra feature that your clients need. Any wholesaler who isn’t able to do this for you is probably just an unnecessary additional link in the chain. You should instead look for a wholesaler who’s actually producing the items or directly connected to the entity that is.
Finding the right supplier for your business is a challenge. You’re going to have to accept that you might not get it right the first time around. There’s no problem with that. You just need to change things up when necessary. Read into and vet your wholesalers as much as possible. With the Internet, there’s no reason for you not to look up their track record and make an informed decision.