How to find suppliers for your online store

  1. Where to look for a supplier
  2. Magazines and newspapers
  3. Exhibitions, Fairs and Conferences
  4. Local manufacturers and dealers
  5. Competitor Suppliers
  6. Packaging
  7. Online catalogs
  8. Supplier catalogs
  9. Suppliers from Europe and the USA
  10. China and Asian suppliers
  11. How to choose a supplier

There are two ways to fill the online store with goods:

  • do it yourself;
  • order goods from wholesalers.

In both cases, you face the problem of finding suppliers from whom you will buy materials, components, equipment or finished products. And this question cannot be solved once and for all. A partner may go bankrupt, raise prices, change the range or quality of products, and you will have to look for a new source of supply.

Where to find suitable suppliers and how to choose the best, we tell in the article.

Where to look for a supplier

Search engines

Type in the name of the required product in the search box of Yandex or Google and add the word "wholesale" or "supplier".
Type in the name of the required product in the search box of Yandex or Google and add the word wholesale or supplier

Do not stop on the first page of issue, reach the 10th or 20th. Manufacturers rarely pay attention to the beauty and convenience of the site, do not spend money on search engine promotion, so their sites do not fall into the TOP-10. You can see only the page with the text “About the Company” and the link to download the price. However, the ugly site does not mean that the products will be bad, and the terms of cooperation are unprofitable.

Write, or rather call the company, request the price and terms of delivery. Select several options, pay attention to prices and the minimum amount of purchases. The manufacturer will have cheaper products, but the minimum order may be too large for you. In this case intermediaries may be useful to you.

Magazines and newspapers

In offline print publications, you can find ads for the wholesale sale of goods. There is something that is not on the Web. Choose thematic publications. For example, the announcement of the wholesale sale of fishing rods is likely to be in the magazine Quiet Life of a Fisherman.

Some of these publications have already begun to go online. For example, the magazine "Light industry. Courier" Places PDF versions of the numbers on the site. You can also find industry news and conference announcements.

Exhibitions, Fairs and Conferences

Professionals gather at industry conferences to find partners and see what competitors have achieved. There you can meet experienced players and newbies who want to make themselves known. Very often at such events, organizations offer discounts and interesting collaboration options.

At conferences and exhibitions, everyone is disposed to have a conversation and will be happy to answer your questions on the account of supplies and product mixes, allow you to examine product samples, or even give souvenirs or samplers.

Look for events for your industry in search engines and websites:

  • - a calendar of Russian exhibitions.
  • - a calendar of international exhibitions, congresses and forums.
  • - Search for exhibitions in the cities of Russia.
  • - catalog of Russian and international exhibitions.

Local manufacturers and dealers

It is possible that in your city there is a small factory that produces the products you need, or a regional warehouse. Find out which businesses are in the neighborhood. This is how Vladimir Grigoriev, the owner, found his supplier online shoe store handmade Afour :

A big plus in purchasing from the manufacturer is a lower price than from distributors. But there are also disadvantages:

  • there are not many factories in Russia whose products can be easily sold through an online store;
  • a major manufacturer may refuse questionable cooperation with a beginner and not too well-known, and even an electronic store.

Competitor Suppliers

If you are delighted with competitor's products, try to find out who supplies them to him:

  • Pretend to be a customer and ask the store manager where the product is from.
  • Make a trial purchase and study the packaging and warranty documents, they may be the supplier.
  • Search the site or request quality certificates.

What is the plus of working with a competitor supplier? You get a trusted partner whose product you are sure of.

But if you hope in such a way to quickly catch up and overtake the opponent's store, then this is a deliberately disastrous idea. You probably will not get the same favorable conditions of cooperation at the initial stage.

See also: How to analyze data on competitors on the Internet? 12 questions and 9 services


Go through the retail stores and look at the packaging of the goods you are going to sell (or similar ones). On each product there is a label on which the data of the manufacturer or dealer is indicated - sometimes it is only the name of the legal entity. Contact them and ask about the assortment and conditions of cooperation. Most likely you will find many other products of similar quality from your subject.

See also: Packaging parcel online store (how to make securely and beautifully)

Online catalogs

In search results, you probably will find several online directories that contain wholesale suppliers. Wholesalers in them are conveniently broken down by subject to facilitate the search. Further we give examples of such directories.

Supplier catalogs

Russian suppliers

The advantages of working with local suppliers in the absence of a language barrier, fast delivery and the ability to personally verify the quality of the goods before purchase. Minus in price: foreign-made goods from a Russian dealer are sold at a high mark-up. If you find good quality locally produced goods at prices lower than Western ones, hold on to this supplier.
The advantages of working with local suppliers in the absence of a language barrier, fast delivery and the ability to personally verify the quality of the goods before purchase

The largest catalogs of suppliers operating in Russia:

Another variation of the catalog - bulletin boards, type - there, too, you can often find advertising wholesale companies.

Plus, you can search in the standard directories of companies and companies:

Suppliers from Europe and the USA

While in Russia there are few high-quality brands, imported goods cause people more confidence. Usually the quality of goods from Europe or the USA is high.

However, not all Western companies are ready to work with Russian customers. In addition, with such cooperation, you will get paperwork, including customs, and delivery costs. Before ordering, make sure you need a closer or cheaper item.
However, not all Western companies are ready to work with Russian customers

Examples of wholesalers catalogs:

And take a look at the wholesale section on the largest retail marketplace. .

China and Asian suppliers

Chinese websites are a paradise for those who adore all sorts of necessary and not too much things at stupendously low prices. But the quality of these things is always a mystery until you get them. You can buy very cool things at a ridiculous price that you can sell at a profit, or you can get a product of such quality that it will not be worth even the kopecks you spent on it.
Chinese websites are a paradise for those who adore all sorts of necessary and not too much things at stupendously low prices

Therefore, until you find a reliable supplier in the Asian market, be careful: always make a small trial purchase or ask for probes, ask for certificates, build up momentum gradually.

Catalogs of suppliers from Asia:

See also: How to find a reliable supplier on AliExpress

How to choose a supplier

After collecting the prices, clarifying the terms of the purchase, you can already understand which suppliers are not suitable at all, and which ones can become your partners. Those who stayed need to be contacted or clarified in the correspondence the following questions:

  1. What is the cost of goods per unit or per lot?
  2. What is the minimum batch of products to purchase?
  3. Is this a common figure for the entire order or for each product also has its minimum?
  4. What are the minimums for the purchase for a specific period, for example, how much should a minimum be ordered per month?
  5. Where are the warehouses with the goods?
  6. What are the terms of delivery? Is there a transport for delivery? If not, how is the shipment of goods made?
  7. What guarantees does the supplier provide if he delivers?
  8. Are there product certificates?
  9. What are the ways to pay for the order?
  10. What are the payment terms? Are advance or savings calculations necessary?
  11. Can I use deferred payment?
  12. Are there any discounts and what are the conditions for their provision?
  13. Do I need to make a security deposit?
  14. How often the goods are delivered to the supplier? Do they send product update notifications?
  15. Does the supplier send notifications about the change in prices for goods?
  16. Are there any notifications about the cessation of deliveries of any products?
  17. How is marriage determined? What are the conditions for the return and exchange of defective products?
  18. Is it possible to return or exchange illiquid products? On what terms?

Collect all answers in a table to make it easier to compare. Some tips:

  • Do not stop at one supplier, choose 3-4 suitable ones.
  • If there are suppliers of goods in Russia, it is more convenient to start with them. You are guaranteed to quickly receive the goods and be able to quickly start selling.
  • Do not immediately give all orders to suppliers from China and Asia, until you check in practice their reliability.

In any case, remember that in a conversation at the negotiation stage, each manager seeks to present the conditions for working with his company in the best possible light. And only at the stage of concluding an agreement you will be able to see the pitfalls that have not been noticed before. So be careful and good luck in finding a reliable supplier!


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about the author

Alina Vashurina - PR Director at Ekvide. Writes to inspire and educate readers about everything related to e-commerce. He loves to travel and runs marathons.