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How to Buy Wholesale Merchandise (Part 2)

Finding Suppliers

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Once your store is open and doing business, it will be easier to find wholesale merchandise to sell because the suppliers will be coming to you, instead of you looking for them. Customers can also play a large role in finding suppliers as they recommend products they would like to see in the store.

Types of Suppliers

Manufacturer - Some manufacturers will sell their products at wholesale prices directly to the retailer. If they do, they may sell their products at large quantities or at a high minimum order. If you have a particular product you want to sell, contact the manufacturer and ask if they sell directly to dealers. If not, ask what distributors they sell their products through so you will know where to buy the items.

Importers - Due to globalization, importing products has become much easier than it used to be. Retailers can purchase from importers or buy the products directly from a foreign company. Before using this type of supplier, do your homework. It is important to understand all the aspects of the paperwork, shipping time, product life cycle and all costs involved.

Distributors - A distributor generally sells a large variety of a certain classification of products. They must make a profit too, so their prices may be slightly higher than if the item was purchased directly from the manufacturer. Retailers can buy lower quantities with little or no minimum order. Some even offer free freight on orders over a certain amount.

Other Wholesalers and Liquidators - In searching for products at wholesale prices, you may find wholesalers that don't sell just one type of merchandise but many, many kinds of products. Some will sell closeouts, truckloads and pallets of merchandise and even damaged goods. Before buying wholesale merchandise from this type of supplier, be sure you completely understand the condition, price and terms of the sale.

Auctions - Retailers can find many bargains on eBay, the world's largest auction site. Just browse the Wholesale Lots category of the type of store you have and you'll find tons of merchandise. Not all product prices on eBay are truly wholesale but if you spend time watching the auctions and learn how to buy effectively, you're sure to find a deal. Don't miss out on live auctions for bargains on merchandise for resale.

Choosing a Vendor

Once you've located several sources of products, evaluate each vendor on a variety of factors. In order to bring the best merchandise to your customers, you'll need to buy from someone offering quality products, reliable delivery and superior customer service. This information can be gathered through references, marketing material or by simply asking the sales representative how they conduct business.

Other Factors to Consider

  • Stability
  • Price
  • Location
  • Shipping Options
  • Shipping Costs
  • Customer Service
  • Terms of Sale
  • Business Hours
  • Returned Merchandise
  • Website and Online Purchasing

Don't get discouraged. It may take some time, research and several vendor negotiations to find the best merchandise to sell in your retail store.

Wondering what all those new products will cost? Find out how to calculate inventory startup costs.

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