There are currently so many avenues through which you can purchase wholesale products that it can be hard to know which route to take. But before you worry about your wholesale avenue, you need to analyze your retail situation.
Are you opening an e-store? Is your business web based or brick and mortar? If it is going to be a web based business, unless you are simply going to sell on auction sites it is very important that you have some interest in the product you plan to sell. The reason is that in all likely-hood your not going to be making many sales the first couple months while the search engines and customers discover your site. You need to be interested or even better, be passionate about the product you are going to sell, so you can stay motivated during these months despite receiving little pay. Of course, whether or not you have a passion for what you sell, make sure you are knowledgeable about what you are selling.
Now if your store is brick and mortar, its not as crucial (but it helps) that you are highly interested in the product. That is, assuming that you have money coming through the cash register from day one. The cash will keep you motivated. (In this economy Id be very careful about opening a brick and mortar store.)
Once you know what to sell the question is where are you going to get the item(s) from. (Assuming your planning to sell a fairly common item) I would reccomend sitting down with a piece of paper and writing down the 3 most important things (in order of importance) that you are looking for in a wholesaler. Think about things like minimums, price, shipping, drop shipping or pickup, return policies, etc…
If you are going to open an e-store, or if most of your business is going to be through catalogs, the chances are that low minimums or possibly drop shipping will be a priority.. You might want to look at sites like Wholesale to Sell or some of the well known auction sites for deals. For drop shipping youre going to have to do a little more research because there are even more factors to consider. Some drop shippers charge a monthly or yearly membership fees, while others may or may not accept returns. Also things like how long it takes between the customers order and the shipment of the product, and whether or not the drop shipper has monthly minimums need to be taken into consideration. Its not hard to find drop shippers, just type drop shipping into a search engine and youll find all kinds of drop shippers. Thoroughly research your options before you settle on one.
As a small brick and mortar retailer you can use drop shipping, but odds are that the customer is going to want to take home their purchase that day. On the other hand, youll probably have some storage space but you dont want it full of product thats not moving out quickly. Before buying a lot of any one product so you can get the best price per item, make sure the item sells well in your store and area. Some of the most successful small retailers sell their product before they even pay for it. This is possible because many wholesalers will give you thirty or sixty day terms after your first order.
The choices are limitless, and there are people making lots of money selling just about everything you can imagine. If you are e-retailing and your budget is small I would recommend specializing in a niche that is not dominated by huge corporate websites. Type the name of the item you want to sell in a search engine and look at the top ten search results and see which type of websites are at the top of the heap. By specializing in a niche not dominated by huge websites, you are more likely to start making sales sooner and are generally more likely to succeed.
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