When it comes to sourcing for a product, there are two main types of suppliers. The first type is a wholesaler or distributor and the second is the manufacture or developer of a product.
The wholesalers and distributors are usually the actual importers of the products. They purchase these products in large quantities and sell to retail stores and small businesses.
You would need to open a wholesale account before being able to purchase from these types of wholesalers. Some may also require a minimum quantity of products be purchased.
By adopting a local wholesaler or distributor, you have the advantage of having your products delivered faster and not having to worry about any importing procedures or fees associated with importing a product.
However, there are disadvantages to purchasing this way. The first would be that this particular type of supplier will be adding profits and fees, including overheads, to their own products, which would mean that even though you still may be able to make money, your profit margin will be reduced dramatically.
The next disadvantage is that your wholesaler or distributor is very accessible to your own competition, meaning that any other business selling the same products as yourself locally or even in your own country, can quite easily create their own wholesale account and immediately start buying the same products at the same prices from the same supplier. It also can open doors to future competitors seeking to sell similar or identical products.
Some wholesalers and distributors may offer OEM or private branding rights which allow you to sell their particular products with your own brand, however this is quite rare and such a service is not easy to find, especially locally as opposed to importing from international suppliers who consider private branding to be the norm.
Other disadvantages include that there will be times where you’ll need to restock a product due to it being depleted in your own stock, but learn that your wholesaler has run out or even worse discontinued that particular product.
This may not sit well with your customers and if you’ve already created a catalog based on that particular product, then certain details will immediately need to be changed and your catalog would need to be reprinted. So naturally, money, time and effort would have been lost.
Another method of locating a wholesaler or distributor is through online auction sites and online wholesale stores. One popular provider of wholesale goods is the popular auction site, eBay.
By browsing eBay’s wholesale section in the ‘Wholesale – Bulk Lots’ category (http://shop.ebay.com.au/Wholesale-Bulk-Lots), you’ll be able to browse and view thousands of listings from vendors who have their own goods locally and are selling them in bulk online ready for you to purchase and resell in your own business.
The Preferred Type of Supplier
Without a doubt the most profitable and satisfying type of supplier is the manufacturer or developer of your product who would be from an overseas location. This generally would mean that your products would need to be imported, however, as stated earlier, there is no reason to be intimidated at the thought of sourcing a product from abroad.
Importing itself can be quite an easy task to do when adopting the right skills, tools and services. You also need to learn a few computer applications that are crucial to simplifying your import experience.
When we first want to source a supplier overseas, we need to search free online supplier websites. Two of the largest sites currently online that provide the ability to search for suppliers from around the world are; AliBaba.com (www.alibaba.com) and Global Sources.com (www.globalsources.com). These giant sites offer you thousands of product categories across a vast number of industries.
Registering on both sites is free and once a member, you’ll be able to not only browse through products and manufacturer profiles, but you’ll easily be able to contact the suppliers in order for them to send you more information on product details and prices. We must say that even though both sites are quite popular, you’ll tend to find the largest selection of products and suppliers on Alibaba.com, which recently launched its very own Australian Department.
Each site has its own search box at the top of the screen which will allow you to search for any particular product you are interested in. Once you click on the search button and the results page is shown, you’ll be able to browse through possibly thousands of listings offered by many suppliers.
You are free to click and view any products that appeal to you, however, what we recommend if your list is quite extensive, utilize the sites’ ability to select multiple listings from different suppliers by simply clicking into the checkbox and highlighting listings of products you would like to receive more information for.
When you then click the button, you’ll be able to send all selected suppliers a request for product information and pricing to their email inbox. Both sites allow you to select multiple suppliers and send email requests in one go. This can be a huge time saver as you will be able to receive information about the requested products directly to your email from all the suppliers that interest you.
Once your email is created and sent, you’ll need to allow up to 72 hours for your nominated supplier to respond to your email inbox. As you can see, by utilizing these two sites and sending away for information about the products, you are well on your way to getting your first shipment of products imported for your own import business.
Remember when first searching for a supplier, you’ll first need to be careful and select only the ‘gold suppliers’ which simply means suppliers that have been verified by AliBaba.com to be legitimate companies. We also recommend that you do register an account. This will allow you to more effectively contact suppliers and even save information request messages as templates so you can use them again in the future without having to retype much.
The online wealth team has over 15 years of sourcing and negotiating with suppliers in many countries around the world. If you have a product in mind to source, please get in touch with us.