Whether you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, or hobbyist, selling wholesale products online can give you an advantage by improving your money-making potential.
But there’s endless information about wholesale items to sell, so where do you start? Website Builder Expert is here to help. This article will provide detailed advice on how to identify the top selling wholesale products and the best way to sell them online.
Wholesale is the process of buying goods in bulk, usually from a manufacturer, to sell on for a retail price. Wholesale purchasing doesn’t have to be manufacturer-direct; in fact, wholesalers can purchase from other wholesalers.
There are many benefits to selling wholesale items online:
- Bulk-buying can give you a price reduction low enough to compete against larger stores.
- It often demands less effort and you’re less likely to run short of the products.
- Your profit margins can be much higher.
But selling wholesale products online isn’t for everyone:
- Choosing the wrong product can cut into profits.
- Popular wholesaler’s products create a lot of competition for you.
- Mistakes in trend predictions can result in being stuck with lots of products that won’t sell.
To figure out if selling wholesale goods online works for you, you’ll need to know the types of wholesale items to sell, where you can find them, and where you can sell them.
When looking for the best products to sell, there are plenty of factors to consider. Here are four of the most important:
- Demand – Wholesale products you want to sell need to be in demand, which you can research by checking what sells best on websites like Amazon. Some sellers use personal knowledge to figure demand – for instance if you are a lover of Japanese anime, you’ll know which products appeal. Or if you know there’s an upcoming film about a historical figure or comic book, related products could be a great choice.
- Potential profit margin – Profits are more than resell price. There are sales fees, processing, storage, packaging, postage, and insurance that must be figured into profit.
- Competition – The ideal intersection for your wholesale goods is high demand but low seller competition. You can reduce competition by choosing products most sellers haven’t found out about yet, catering to a specific region, or getting your manufacturer to customize your products.
- Opportunity cost – This is simply how much it will cost you to go with one product (or line of products) versus another. Two product options present pros and cons including margin, durability, ease of shipping, etc. Crunch the numbers to figure out what you lose by going with one option versus the other.
Advice from the Experts
Top Tip: You’d be surprised about what product needs aren’t being met if you talk to locals. For example, it’s really hard to find new hammocks sold by local online shops in Antigua!
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed choosing which wholesale products to sell online, because there are many tools that can help. Let’s have a look at some of the best ways to source products in big categories.
The COVID pandemic forced people to not transform their homes into working spaces and value their homespace more. Because of this, homewares are the most popular online category including home office products like adjustable desks, laptop stands, and high-end home coffee machines.
There have been some dramatic shifts in wholesale clothing trends including an explosion in casual clothing like tracksuits and jumpsuits and sustainable products made from bamboo or recycled fabrics.
With tightening budgets, schools, teachers and parents are bulk buying educational products including textbooks, toys, school supplies, and teaching resources. People are investing in books to upskill and improve their marketability. There are plenty of wholesalers out there including BookDepot.
Between the work-from-home boom, the wellness movement, and the pandemic bringing health to the forefront, this is a hot category of products. By 2027, this industry is predicted to be worth $7 trillion dollars. Beauty and skincare, how-to books and courses, clothing, and supplements are a fraction of what’s available. Healthonomics is a great place to start.
This extremely wide category has broad appeal. We all need electronics whether wires, phones, TVs, home appliances, wearable tech, etc. Though the competition is fierce, and electronics date quickly, you can buy in smaller quantities. If you specialize, you’re likely to do better. Wholesalecentral.com names top wholesalers and gives links to liquidation sales.
There’s huge potential in this category. International and hard-to-get foods, novelty gifts like hot sauces and BBQ sets, and diet-focused foods are all popular online. Remember that unless you choose dropshipping/outsource fulfillment, you’ll be responsible for storing those goods safely to protect the quality of the products. The Wholesale Grocers Directory requires an initial investment, but will help you with what’s available.
Advice from the Experts
Top Tip: Look for products with a higher price point. Most products that give you less than a $5-10 profit won’t be worth your time because you’ll have to sell so many of them to make a difference.
When looking at sources of wholesale goods, you’re spoiled for choice. Whether online or in person, there are all kinds of options to suit your needs. Here are a good range:
Alibaba – An online wholesale marketplace like Alibaba will give you clear options with price transparency for each product you search. It gives you bulk-buy discounts while you handle the shipping to customers. You’ll have to pay upfront for the products without guarantees you’ll sell the stock. Keep in mind you’ll have to store the products too.
Trade Fairs – At trade shows you can physically touch the products and better judge their quality. You’re in a stronger position to negotiate because reps want to close deals and their competition is the next booth over. The danger is that in the head off the moment you might jump on what looks like a good deal without doing research online.
Trade publications – Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the sourcing process works the other way around – suppliers are looking for you too! They don’t just reach out through fairs and social media, but in specific trade publications that you can order online, at booksellers, or even at the library. In them you’ll find ads, suggestions, and reviews. Just remember to take them with a grain of salt!
Direct from the manufacturer – Why wait for a wholesaler to get their hands on the goods you want? You can often buy straight from the manufacturer. The products can often be customized, and manufacturers know about compliance with product regulations. They can also free you of both scalability and DIY packaging stresses. But bear in mind you’ll pay for your goods upfront and it , you’ll pay for everything up front and may face set-up fees. It might take them months to make that first order. And they could make similar products for your competitors.
Whichever way you source your products, remember that prices are often negotiable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions including whether they make their own products, how many samples they can send, minimum orders, and their return policy.
We’ve written an in-depth article How to Source Products to Sell Online, which provides the options available to you with analysis on the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Advice from the Experts
Top Tip: Consider going niche with your wholesale products. Though it might appeal to fewer people overall, they’re more likely to be must-haves for your smaller target market.
There are many places to sell your wholesale products. But depending on the product, one choice will be more suitable than another.
Your Own Online Store
First, let’s look at building your online store, especially if you want to sell from home. After carrying out in-depth research into the best ecommerce platforms, Website Builder Expert recommends three: Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace. We’ve provided links to our in-depth articles on each below.
Wix offers a user-friendly website building experience and a great selection of ecommerce tools. There’s something for everyone and lots of creative flexibility. But you can’t switch your website template once you’re live (unless you want to rebuild from scratch), you must install third-party apps for scalability, and the range of choice can be a little overwhelming.
Shopify is better for larger stores because of its inventory system. It allows you to sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay. It also offers payment options and round-the-clock customer support. But it can be challenging to newer users, and has high transaction fees.
Squarespace offers stunning templates, excellent marketing features, and the best support of all the builders we’ve tested. It also has the cheapest plan. But it doesn’t give full customizability and the editor can be high maintenance.
If you aren’t interested in having your own website, Amazon provides a great alternative. 26% of its vendors sell wholesale goods to their customers. It provides information on which products are highest rated, have the most competition, earn the biggest profit margins, and are logistically easy to sell.
You’ll have to choose whether you want Amazon marketplace to fulfill your orders, or whether you want to do it yourself. Most vendors who have expensive or fragile items prefer to do it themselves for quality control.
It’s easy to set up a business on Amazon, and Amazon offers great benefits like an affiliate program to boost your sales. But remember there’s a lot of competition, so you’ll spend more time tracking products, trends, and your pesky competitors. If you’re self-fulfilling you’ll also shell out for products with no guarantee you’ll sell them.
eBay is another attractive and high-visibility option for selling wholesale items online. Choose a seller channel, research which products you want to sell, then gauge how you want to list in accordance with the new seller restrictions. Once you order and list them, you’re on your way.
There are benefits with eBay such as:
- Live auction options and lower fees.
- eBay has an affiliate programme and excellent international reach.
- Customers won’t have the same expectations of free shipping like they do on Amazon (though they still love it!).
There are a few challenges, however:
- The new-vendor limit can limit your sales for months.
- eBay’s simplistic tracking software demands more time keeping track of inventory, returns, trends, and competition.
- You might be tied to listing products during reduced-fee promotions.
- And because eBay doesn’t have a fulfillment center (dropshipping is possible but the rules are complex), you’ll need to store and ship your products.
Advice from the Experts
Top Tip: Whichever platform you use, make sure you know whether you need a wholesaler license, reseller certificates, Tax ID numbers, etc.
Between the bulk-buy price reduction, the ease of finding millions of different products you can sell, and the variety of platforms on which you can sell, wholesale can be a profitable venture.
At the heart of selling wholesale products online is good research that considers all factors of the buying and selling process.
In order to make your online business the best it can be, you need to source the right products at the best price. Once you figure out which type of wholesale items meet your needs, the sky’s the limit.