Practical Ecommerce

Product Sourcing: What Not to Do

One thing an entrepreneur shouldn’t do is search online for “wholesale supplier” or “drop ship” when trying to locate a wholesale partner. This is according to Chris Malta, founder and CEO of Worldwide Brands, Inc.

“You can look online all you want to,” said Malta, “but you won’t find quality suppliers under those search terms.”

He notes there are two main reasons why the search engines are not a good place to look for real wholesalers.

  1. Search engines flooded with misleading marketing

    First, thousands of unscrupulous agents, middlemen and companies are so eager to get the attention of an etailer that they have flooded the search engines with misleading marketing. “When you use those keywords on the search engines, you’re going to get thousands of links that will take you straight to the middlemen. These people spend so much effort flooding the search engines with their ads that a real wholesaler hardly stands a chance of being noticed through all the smoke and mirrors,” Malta noted.

  2. Wholesalers like to keep a low profile

    Second, real wholesalers don’t really want to be noticed on the search engines to begin with. Small businesses are not considered to be very important to a real wholesaler, in terms of volume of business. These smaller businesses are frequently time-intensive to work with because of all the trouble of setting up accounts, checking credit, working out terms, etc.

    Malta says from their point of view, wholesalers already have major accounts with huge physical retail-store chains. In terms of their overall business, many believe that smaller businesses don’t bring in all that much money. Because of that, most of them think advertising themselves in the search engines is a waste of time and money.

Even though an intuitive search on the Internet under “wholesale distributors” may not bear success, you must do your research on product sources, market trends and what products are selling well.

Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

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  1. orchard February 4, 2009 Reply

    I agree as to #1 – there are indeed a lot of companies advertising their products at "wholesale" prices – that really aren’t. However, I have to disagree with #2, that "Small businesses are not considered to be very important to a real wholesaler, in terms of volume of business." That may be true for some, but it is changing. Our wholesale-only ecommerce site (www.trulyfruit.com) certainly doesn’t bring in the majority of our revenue, but that’s not its purpose, either. We consider it both a service to our customers (it was actually created as a direct result of requests from small retailers) and as a way to build brand awareness and open up distribution "from the ground up" so to speak. We were doing this before the economy took a dive, but it’s even more important now, especially for manufacturers in niche markets.