Different Types of Wholesalers to Choose From

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So you’ve decided to start your own business, and you’ve decided what products you want to sell, and how you’re going to target your market. Next, you’ll need someone to supply those goods, and that means finding the right wholesaler for you. But how to choose the right wholesaler? First, it helps to get an understanding of the types of wholesalers out there who can help you.

Types of Wholesalers

Merchant Wholesalers
Think of merchant wholesalers as, well, sort of a Wal-Mart. They carry all sorts of different items of different types. It is all they do. Don’t expect them to have lots of specialized knowledge about the types of products you like or expect them to make recommendations on what your customers will want most. They buy and sell a little bit of everything, and don’t focus on a particular product line. So, you will have to have a good idea of exactly the products you want, and what you are willing to pay. With a merchant wholesaler, much of the burden of research is left to you.

Specialty Wholesalers
On the other hand, if you are selling a very specific type of product, and are interested in meeting very specific needs for discerning customers, a specialty wholesaler might be a better choice for you. These wholesalers focus on a particular type of product and are much better able to answer specific questions about particular products or to make recommendations based on the needs of your customers. If you, or your customers, are particularly picky about meeting certain needs or getting product of a certain type or quality, you are better off with the available expertise of a specialty wholesaler.

Mail Order Wholesalers
A mail-order wholesaler may be your best bet if you are looking for something that isn’t readily available in brick and mortar stores, or if you are looking for a particular item that is very hard to find. Thousands of mail order and Internet wholesalers can get the product you need and deliver it straight to you. Remember also that drop shipping is an option if you don’t have the means or the space to warehouse a large inventory of items. Drop shipper wholesalers are easy to find online. You can select the items you’re interested in selling, list them on your own website or an e-commerce site like eBay, and have the wholesaler ship it direct to your customer so that you never have to handle the inventory.


Before you even choose a wholesaler, or even before you choose the products you’re most interested in selling, it is crucial to perform some market research. Do the products you want to sell do well on eBay? How much do they sell for (based on ended auctions, not ones that are ongoing)? At what prices are the various wholesalers selling these products? What type of profit can you reasonably expect to generate? No matter how much in love you are with a particular product, you must have some idea that it will be profitable to sell before you jump in.

In addition to checking out the products, check out the wholesalers. A simple Internet search may yield some important information. Look for complaints from other customers. Is the wholesaler reliable? Were products shipped on time? Does the wholesaler allow you to buy small quantities, or do they insist that you buy in huge lots? All of this information is important and will affect your bottom line.

Don’t select your wholesaler blindly. Thoroughly research your supplier, as well as the willing market for your products. Have an understanding of the market niche to which you will appeal, and how specific they are about the products they want. This will help you maximize your profits. Good luck!