Using Shopify to sell wholesale is a great way to jump-start or expand your existing Shopify business. Diversifying your product line can be a great strategy for generating more income because there’s room to profit from new customers.
To understand how you can make money off of wholesale, you have to understand what it is. Wholesale is the sale of goods in large quantities to retailers and it works like this: A supply chain buys the raw materials needed and creates a product. Then, a wholesaler purchases those products in a massive quantity so they can up the price—enough to make a profit—and sell it to a retailer (you), who marks it up again to sell it to consumers.
Buying in bulk can help you keep costs down because you purchase at a decreased rate, giving you increased revenue potential. Adding these new wholesale products to your e-commerce store also invites new customers to your store who you might not have been targeting before. But first, you need to find a wholesaler to work with.
- The beta Shopify wholesale website
You might not realize it, but there’s an entire catalog of wholesalers who work with Shopify sellers that you can easily access. Head to wholesale.shopify.com and search for products, choose what products work well for you, and then get in touch with the wholesaler. The website guarantees the wholesaler will get back to you within three days, and the search is free to use.
- Wholesale directories
There are entire directories dedicated to wholesalers and merchants looking to partner with them. Popular sites include: Doba, Worldwide Brands Directory, and Wholesale Central, where you can search products and prices. You do need to pay for these services though. It might be an ongoing subscription a one-time fee. It’s worth it though, because it saves you search time and gives you access to credible wholesalers.
- Good ol’ Google
You probably already guessed, but a simple Google search can also lead you to wholesalers of the products you’re interested in. Use keywords like “product name wholesale” or “wholesale products of xyz.” It’s important to note, though, that you can get swindled if you’re not looking in the right places. Wholesalers aren’t concerned with SEO, so the good ones might not pop up on the top 5 sites—or even the first five pages. Also, we typically judge the modernity and aesthetics of websites to get an idea of how the company works. However, in this case, a good wholesaler website is a lot like a good Spanish tapas bar: it’s going to look out of date and maybe even a bit seedy, but the product’s most likely good. Get the contact information and give them a call, and don’t think twice about their website that looks circa 2002.
- Check out manufacturers
If you already know which product you want to sell wholesale, contact the manufacturer to see who sells their products wholesale. Who knows? You might even end up working with the manufacturer yourself if you’re willing to buy a really large quantity.
- Trusty trade shows
If you’re not having luck online, or you like having face-to-face meetings, a trade show might be a good route to go. It might cost a bit up front to get into one of these trade shows, but it’s a great opportunity to see the products up close and start cultivating a good relationship with a wholesaler.
Be smart when shopping for a wholesaler
It’s important to be cautious when shopping for a wholesaler because there are a lot of people out there posing as wholesalers, saying things like “we sell products at wholesale prices.” In reality, they’re selling you products at retail price instead of the discounted wholesale price you’re looking for, and counting on that to make a profit. Besides this subtle wording, you need to look out for three things:
- Do they sell to the public?
If this “wholesaler” also sells to the public, this is a big tip that they’re not really in the wholesale business.
- Do they charge a membership fee?
A wholesaler won’t make you pay to have, or keep, a relationship with them. This is a huge hint that this “wholesaler” isn’t in the business at all.
- Do they ask for your business information?
A true wholesaler is going to double-check you before they do business with you. That means they might ask you to fill out an application and even provide your legal business information before they work with you. If you’re not asked this information, they’re probably not in the wholesale business.
Get started wholesaling on Shopify
Once you’ve found a wholesaler, established a relationship, and place your orders, it’s time to start selling. Typically, you would get these products sent to you in bulk like you purchased them—and then pack and ship them out as needed. However, you might also be able to negotiate drop shipping with your wholesaler.
Drop shipping means you can purchase the product as you need it—as you sell the product on your e-commerce site—and then the wholesaler ships it out as the orders come in. Essentially, the wholesaler is invisible to your customer, but you get to save time and resources by only selling these products as the orders come in. You can learn more about drop shipping by taking a look at nChannel’s Drop Shipping 101 Guide for some great information on this option.
In the end, if you use these tips for shopping for a wholesaler, as well as remembering the warning signs to look out for, you should be able to dive into the wholesale business yourself. Taking this leap can be daunting, but if you’re well prepared, you can really stand to make a bigger profit.