This post is by online entrepreneur Kadar Khan.
Finding genuine wholesale suppliers can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The internet is an amazing place, but it’s also a breeding ground for scams of every type imaginable and the wholesale industry is not an exception.
This does not mean, however, that there are no genuine wholesale suppliers. All you need is to do your homework properly to find the real gold you can build a business on.
In this post, I am going to list some of the best U.S. and U.K. wholesale sources for genuine suppliers catering to the needs of eBay and Amazon sellers. I have used many of them in the past myself, and still use some of them now.
Top wholesale suppliers in the U.S.
eBay and Amazon in the U.S. are huge markets and the competition is incredibly tough. But there are also hundreds of millions of potential buyers, and many many options for sourcing.
I have listed some of the most popular U.S. wholesale suppliers and drop shippers here. In my experience these are well-established and genuine sources, but you still need to exercise your own common and “business” sense before dealing with any of the suppliers listed.
At a glance
1.5 million products in 150 categories
Seller training and market research lab
Tailored around eBay and Amazon sellers
Strict supplier screening
Only genuine suppliers and drop shippers
Training videos, research tools and support
Auctions and fixed price lots
Free reward program
No registration required
Brand name items
No minimum order
Specialists in fashions
SaleHoo is a paid directory service with more than 8,000 suppliers on their list. It is a paid service, but still a great starting point for newbies or inexperienced sellers as all their suppliers are security screened i.e. they list only genuine suppliers with real wholesale prices.
At the time of writing, SaleHoo have 1.5 million products listed in more than 150 categories.
If you are interested in sourcing genuine brand name products in smaller quantities, then you should have a look at SaleHoo. Some of the suppliers have tailored their business specifically to eBay and Amazon sellers.
Once you become a premium member, you have access to the following resources:
- Seller Training Center
- Market Research Lab
- SaleHoo Stores
Their Market Research Lab is worth the premium membership, providing market data to assess the potential success of a particular niche or product.
Worldwide Brands also has a huge list of wholesaler suppliers, specifically catering to the needs of drop shippers. Like SaleHoo, it is a premium service where you can search for suppliers after you have paid their fee. Once you become a premium member, you have access to the following benefits:
- Wholesale scam protection
- Access to “WBI Certified” wholesalers
- Training videos
- Instant market research tools
- Dedicated forum
As the name indicates, Liquidation.com deals in liquidation stock. This is sold by companies with surplus stock, or that are closing down or have gone bankrupt. They have to get rid of the stock quickly, so liquidation companies can buy it very cheaply, often below cost, and resell it to retailers or wholesalers.
Liquidation.com is, in my opinion, the best liquidation company in the U.S. With a completed gross merchandise volume (GMV) of nearly 7 billion dollars, they are also one of the largest. They have more than 500 categories which gives you a wide selection to choose from.
You can buy items on the basis of condition, such as:
- Brand new
- Customer returns
- Surplus stock
- Salvage items
The cheapest stock is salvage or faulty returns. However, I would advise you to stay away from this type of stock unless you have the expertise and time to repair faulty goods. The time and effort needed often costs more than the products are worth.
My own favorite categories are the “shelf pulls”. These are either surplus stock or ex-display items in retail stores. A major plus point for this type of goods is that they are 99% in working condition, and most branded items are still under the manufacturer warranty.
If you have ever dreamed of selling genuine branded products on eBay and Amazon, Big Lots is the place to go. Generally, it is not easy for eBay or Amazon sellers to source authentic branded products. You have to contact the official distributors and obtain a license to sell the brand, and most companies won’t issue one to online sellers.
This is where Big Lots comes in. The company sells both in the U.S. and Canada, with stocks sourced from a broad range of retail closeouts.
Big Lots has physical stores in almost every single U.S. state. If you find a genuine bargain online, you can collect it in person. If you do happen to collect in person, do not forget to have a look around for more bargains which you may not find in their online catalog.
Another excellent source to get your stock is Tuesday Morning, especially in the luggage, electronics, toys, home and garden categories.
Tuesday Morning is a real treasure hunt, and they do not have an effective central management system. You may have to call them or visit stores separately to find the best products that aren’t listed on their site.
Gabe’s aka Gabriel Brothers acquire branded closing-down stock and make it available to retailers for up to 70% below the MSRP.
There are multiple lines including categories such as snack food, footwear, electronics, housewares, bath and beauty. You can find many products on their website, but for real bargains, you will have to visit one of their stores.
Top wholesale suppliers in the U.K.
The U.K.’s eBay and Amazon markets are smaller than their U.S. counterparts. At the same time, the U.K. market – while still very competitive – is less cutthroat than the U.S.
The U.K. drop shipping segment is still in its infancy. It is, therefore, difficult to find genuine drop shipping companies with lines for a successful business. The wholesale market, on the other hand, is well established. Some of the top wholesale services and suppliers are listed here.
At a glance
No membership required
Support in case of any issue with a supplier
Excellent customer support
Different order sizes
No membership required
The Wholesaler UK
The Wholesaler UK opened for business in 1999 and has served the business community without fail since then.
The directory is completely free for buyers, as they charge wholesale suppliers to be listed. This not only generates revenue for the company, but also acts as a filter to weed out scam suppliers.
They have a strict verification process where they check the suppliers address through telephone and other searches. They also have a dedicated line where buyers can register complaints in case of any issues with the listed suppliers.
eSources is a growing company which has been able to add more than a million products to their site within a span of 10 years.
They offer both free and premium membership. With premium membership you get access to more suppliers and an unlimited number of contacts.
Gem Wholesale is not a directory, but actual stockists who source ex-catalog customer returns from the trade and offer them to retailers at wholesale prices.
They have several categories and you can find almost any type of product. I have personally sourced from them in the past, and as their goods are customer returns I generally prefer to avoid electricals, unless they clearly describe them to be in full working order.
After a little bit of hunting on their site, you might find some really good bargains in the non-electrical goods.
They also provide customer support and are happy to discuss the stock you are interested in buying.
Are wholesale directories worth the money?
Should you go for a free option or a paid version? The wholesale directories such as SaleHoo, Worldwide Brands and eSources offer paid membership for a premium service. If your budget allows, taking a premium membership lets you access some excellent resources to get started. If you are on low budget, you can still start with free or trial access and upgrade later.
My advice on premium membership is only to pay for established and genuine directory services. Never pay unknown directories or actual wholesaler suppliers for membership. Any wholesaler who asks you to pay a fee to access their product information is not a real business.
Start small and do your own research
eBay and Amazon are wonderful platforms where you can successfully establish yourself as a business without any significant financial outlay. But the competition is fierce and one of the most daunting tasks for new sellers is sourcing the right product at the right price.
Whether you go for a free or paid membership, it is highly recommended that you conduct your own research and homework. Just like scams in other online sectors, there are many scams in the wholesale industry space in the online world.
Start small. Go big only once you are established in the game. And good luck!
This post was by Kadar Khan, an online entrepreneur and internet marketer offering specialist advice to eBay and Amazon sellers. His goal is to inspire new online sellers and help them establish successful ecommerce business.