How to Find Wholesale Distributor for Your Small Retail Business?

Dec 01, 2022 Chapter 2. Supplier

There is No Magic Formula for how to find wholesale distributor. There is a way to do this, but it’s not an easy and straightforward. Following the right process will most likely take you from “no wholesaler” to “right wholesale wholesale distributor”.

It would be best if you did your homework, provided the right information, and collected the right data simultaneously. Next, you will know how to find distributors for your business.




How to Find Wholesale Distributors?

Small businesses require something to sell when they begin. However, you don’t have to make your own products. External small business wholesale distributor is an excellent place to get them.

You must research price, shipping requirements, and minimum quantities to find the good wholesale suppliers. For finding a wholesale distributors, here are the top 7 ways:



  1. Get Wholesalers’ Contact Info From Online Directories

How to find wholesalers distributors in USA? There are many online directories to find small business wholesale suppliers of all types of products. A good online directory can help you find suppliers and relevant info.

You Can Find Wholesale Distributor on These Websites:


Net 60 terms (you have 60 days to pay for your items) on a marketplace with 30,000 independent retailers.


 Wholesale marketplace powered by Shopify.


A wholesale marketplace, you don’t have to pay commissions on.

Worldwide Brands  

US dropshippers and light bulk wholesalers pre-verified.


United states wholesale vendors. Rather than just consumer products, this database has commercial and industrial suppliers.

Wholesale Central

We have screened and selected wholesalers, importers, distributors, dropshippers, and manufacturers for you.

American National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors Member Association (NAW)  

An online resource that lists (and links to) a bunch of associations.


It’s a beginner-friendly B2B marketplace with vetted suppliers offering a wide range of products.

China wholesale websites:

Wholesale or manufacturer websites. You can find a China manufacturer on most of China wholesale suppliers.


Customized small business wholesale suppliers. Help small business retailers source, manufacture, inspect or ship the products from China.




  1. Attend Trade Shows Locally And Internationally

An excellent way to discover potential wholesale distributor is to attend retail trade shows. Manufacturers and wholesalers exhibit their latest products at trade shows held by various industries. A list of wholesalers can be built by retailers contacting manufacturers or distributors directly. It’s great for a beginner retailer because trade show participants usually offer special deals.

The Following Websites Have Trade Show Schedules:


You can search for business-to-business trade shows or exhibitions aimed at specific industries by using parameters such as the industry, date, city, state, or country and the event name. Every retail industry has a trade show that takes place annually.

You may wish to attend overseas trade shows if you are considering importing products for retail sale. Rather than waiting weeks for samples, you can communicate in person and touch the products you’re interested in.

Think about attending major trade shows if you’re sourcing products from Alibaba or AliExpress:


Canton Fair:

The show has over 25,000 exhibitors and over 190,000 overseas buyers

Global Sources Expo:

There are over 9,000 booths and over 90,000 buyers at this show that’s all about electronic products.

Retailers can close deals faster by attending these trade shows. Your travel plans can be made ahead of time for these events.



  1. Make Sure You’re Reading the Trade Publications in Your Industry

Read all the magazines and newsletters that target retailers. Every advertiser in these magazines is likely to be a wholesale distributor or manufacturer. Advertisements at the back of the magazine should give you a few dozen options.

The trade publications, on the other hand, usually include advertisements with up-to-date contact information and expect retailers like you to obtain their contact information.


Take a Look at These Trade Publications:


Catalog  Name
General Retailing Smart Retailer
Gifts and Decorative Accessories
Souvenir, Gifts, and Novelties
Independent Retailer
Fashion and Apparel Global Apparel Markets
California Apparel News
Home and Furniture Home Furnishings Business
Home Accents Today
Furniture World
Pets Pet Age
Groomer to Groomer
Pet Business




  1. Search on Google

Some retail wholesale distributor don’t update their websites very often. The result: buyers don’t find their websites very informative or organized. They’re not search engine friendly because they don’t follow Google’s algorithm. This means you’ll need to dig deeper.

Some great wholesalers distributors may be hidden on Google’s pages 2, 3, and even 50. Check out what catches your eye.

Play around with your search terms to find wholesale suppliers in a certain niche. Check out these wholesale sock suppliers if you’re looking for one:

  • Wholesale socks
  • Sock distributor
  • Sock wholesaler
  • Wholesale supplier for socks
  • Sock supplier
  • Buy socks wholesale


You can search for local suppliers by adding your location. You can also refine your search on Google’s SERPs and find potential good wholesale suppliers there. Discover more suppliers by scrolling down and clicking on the other options.




  1. Check Out The U.S. Customs Database

Most companies (with a few exceptions) that import or export to the U.S. leave a paper trail that anybody can access. A sea shipping container is one type of container that carries goods from wholesale suppliers trading inside and outside of the country. All of these items must clear customs before crossing the border into the U.S. A US customs database is meticulously maintained for each item during the process.

Utilizing the supplier database tool, you can quickly view shipments from all companies importing into the United States. The information provided here is free of charge. U.S. Customs recommends the PIERS database and the American Association of Exporters and Importers for the latest information on exporter lists by commodities.




  1. Visit Your Local Library To Look Up Business Directories

Lots of libraries pay for the online manufacturer and business directories. These directories contain information on numerous manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors in North America. Contact information is accurate and reliable since these directories are regularly updated.

Your local library website can access a database like Reference USA, which lists all kinds of companies, including wholesale suppliers.

Look for your stuff by NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System). These professional directories include this code for products. It’s easier to find manufacturers and suppliers when you know their NAICS codes.

Be sure to contact your local library before visiting to ensure you can speak with the appropriate person when you arrive. Finding a librarian who knows business research can be a huge help.




  1. Make Use Of Your Local Business Network For Referrals

You can ask your friends and business connections for referrals. Getting to know other business owners with various skills is the beauty of joining a professional network. If you reach out to these people, ask them if they can recommend suppliers. If you wish to consult with one, they will usually be able to provide you with a list of accredited suppliers.

There Are Plenty of Local Professional Networks in Big Cities and Towns, Like:

  • Rotary clubs
  • Chamber of commerce
  • Manufacturer associations
  • Business cooperatives


Chances are your contact knows someone who knows a wholesaler, even if they don’t personally know one. You can also ask them for recommendations if you find that the suppliers your contact referred you to aren’t the right fit.





Tips for Finding a Wholesale Supplier

How should you choose a good one from wholesalers distributors once you find a few that seem right? Here are some tips:


 Compare Locally vs. Globally

Since China’s manufacturing costs are low and there is fierce competition, retailers are very open to importing from China. You’ll be able to price your products competitively if you find the right wholesalers, even though some risks are involved.

A local wholesale supplier can help you avoid extra shipping charges, import duties, and material defect risks. You might save money by importing wholesale, but not if you buy from local wholesalers. A shorter supply chain can also achieve the reduction of unexpected delays.


Review Lead Time

From the date an order is placed until the date the shipment is sent out and how quickly you can expect to receive it, it is essential to know how much time a potential retail wholesaler requires. It is important to recognize that packages may be held up in customs when dealing with international shipments without the supplier’s fault or yours.

If you’re doing business with your supplier, find out what lead time they need during regular and busy times. Understanding how lead times fluctuate throughout the year will help you plan.


Think About Minimum Order Quantities(MOQ)

You can place wholesale orders with a minimum order quantity (MOQ). You’ll need this if you’re a small retailer with limited budgets and space. The MOQ isn’t so important if you don’t have a lot of storage or budget constraints.


Obtain Some Samples

It’s good to test it out first before you commit. You can place sample orders at many wholesale distributors without meeting their MOQ requirements. Distributors sometimes send free samples, but it’s rare.

Before you sell the item to your customers, you can test its quality with a sample. Unless you tell your customers, they’ll blame you if they have issues with the item. To ensure your customers get the best products, you must do your due diligence.


Do Quality Control

If you’re buying from an overseas wholesale supplier you never work before, and you can’t go there, you may want to contact an inspection agency to do the China quality control inspection of your products.

But you need to tell them when to go to the factory and what to check. I try to summarize in this article: How to Do China Quality Control Inspection to Reduce the Risks.


Follow-up Production

If you place the order from the factory directly, the next step is the production process. Even if the factory does not spend too much time on sample production, the formal production will also take a lot of time.

In order not to fall behind in the production process, you need to be aware of the following two points:


1. The cooperative factory has its own supply chain. Each part of the product produced by the buyer may come from a different factory. For example, for shoes, the laces and soles may come from other factories; for bracelets, the raw materials and gems may come from other factories. 


2. You are not the only customer of the factory and may not be the most important customer. To stay ahead in production, you need to keep in touch with factories and build relationships with them. You need to deal with the sales representatives and start to pay attention to things other than production.


In the next step, you generally ask the wholesalers distributors to send photos to update the production progress. You want to know the schedule for the factory to produce each part.



wholesale distributor



Small Business Wholesale Suppliers Bottom Line

Most manufacturers tend to sell to wholesale distributor because they buy large quantities of products. These types of retail wholesaler then sell their products to direct-to-consumer retail businesses at low prices (sometimes more than 40% of the retail price) if they purchase the minimum order quantity.

Knowing how to find wholesale distributor is the first step to a successful retail small business. It takes a fair amount of time to understand where your business is in the industry supply chain, but the lessons learned along the way will help you navigate retail effectively. If you need product sourcing service, please contact us.


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