I have reiterated it this time and again that one of the most daunting task for a new eBay seller is to find genuine suppliers who can supply items at real competitive prices.
During the past 10 years, I learned a lot regarding the wholesale suppliers, directories, drop shipping and importing from China and the Far East. In this post I am going to list a number of US and UK based wholesale suppliers and directories that can be used as a great starting point to outsource your inventory.
Please bear in mind that you have to do a good deal of research and investigation before committing to buy a product at the right price. Most of the time, you will see that suppliers quote prices on these directories with unrealistic profit margins shown.
There are also directories and suppliers which may not be genuine. I have used suppliers from these directories in the past and, with a few exception, have found real gold tidbit suppliers. Once you have done your homework, you are ready to go.
Some of these services are free and some charge membership fees. The free services do not cost you anything and instead they charge the supplier for advertising.
The premium directories charge a membership fee and are not free. Some of these premium directories are worth every penny as I personally have come across some very great suppliers. But again, diligence, homework, research and investigation are the key points that you must consider before you make any purchases with them.
There are thousands of US suppliers. Most of them claim to have real suppliers who are ready to offer you dirt cheap products for onward sale on eBay. Do not be overwhelmed. There are good and bad. The following list of the US suppliers are the ones who are well established and some of them I have a personal experience of finding some great deals with them.
Liquidation Dot Com
Liquidators are organizations that buy huge stock in bulk from close out businesses. These businesses bust and they have to close and sell out whatever inventory they have. Liquidation companies usually buy these stocks at very cheap prices and resell them to retail or smaller wholesale businesses.
The best US liquidation company I know of is liquidaton.com. According to the company they have so far completed more than $5 billion Gross Merchandise Volume.
The items sold are in different conditions. You can buy salvage items, surplus, returns by customers, refurbished, used and even brand new.
There are more than 500 categories to choose from.
I am never interested in the salvage items as they are defective and cannot be repaired for the most part. If you do not have the skill to repair or dissemble items for parts sale, I would advise to stay away from this category.
Returns, refurbished and used items are great categories to go for. Again, you must closely inspect the listing as some returns are quite unusable and are good only for parts sale. Refurbished and good conditioned used items are great for quick sale.
Shelf Pulls are those which are new but were never sold by the retailer. These are a kind of ex-display items. Shelf Pulls is my favorite category. Most items are quite in immaculate conditions with a rare piece with some marks or display signs.
New category is great but it is very competitive price wise.
It is free to join liquidation.com. Click here to join.
This is a huge listings of suppliers mostly from China who can supply almost anything you need.
The site, unfortunately, has a bad reputation and many people relate it to scams. It is true that there are scammers suppliers listed on the site. But the site itself is a very useful source of information especially if you are interested to import from China.
The site receives millions of hits each day and its popularity is growing day by day.
It is free join Alibaba.
New eBay sellers are advised not to indulge in importing unless you have a good experience.
Start small and slowly grow your orders. Make sure you deal only with premium members with verified status. Verified members are premium member who pass authentication test either conducted by Alibaba or any independent company.
By dealing only with verified members you greatly reduce your chances of being scammed.
It is one of the largest broad line closeout retailers in the United States and Canada. Biglots is an excellent place for finding brand name items for cheap prices. As an eBayer, it is very difficult to source genuine branded products due to legal complications.
Bilgots.com is a great alternative store to get the brand names for really good prices. Please remember you will have to do a good deal of research to find genuine bargains.
Once you select the items you can also collect the item in their store. They have stores in almost every state.
Once you are in the store, do not forget to look around for other deals on the shelves.
The company deals in closeouts and offers some of the most fantastic bargains especially in the home and garden, toys, luggage and electronics segments.
Tuesdaymorning.com is a treasure hunt. You have to visit the stores and hunt for the treasures.
You may have to visit several stores separately as they do not have a very smart way of centrally managing their inventory.
Gabriel Brothers is a well-known closeout store selling famous brands up to 70% off the department and specialty stores prices. Lines include
- Bath and beauty
- Snake foods
You locate some products on the website, but for real bargains hunt you will have to visit the stores in person.
After Liquidation.com, I personally think that SaleHoo is the best wholesale source in the USA. There are more than one million products and eight thousands suppliers listed on their website.
It specially caters to eBay sellers and small business where they can source products in small quantities.
The biggest feature of SaleHoo is that all the 8000 suppliers are security screened suppliers. Most new eBay sellers fall prey to scam suppliers. With SaleHoo you are only dealing with genuine wholesalers.
Furthermore, if you are interested in dealing brand name products, you do not have to worry about dealing with bogus suppliers.
Please bear in mind that you will still have to use your prudence before committing to buy. You will need to conduct a good amount of research on prices, trends, demands etc.
Salehoo is not simply a wholesale directory, it offers many other tools such analyzer, get me ideas, profit calculator etc.
Apart from some very useful tools, there are three main areas which you get access to once you join.
1. Seller Training Center
This is a free eBay and ecommerce training center by SaleHoo experts. There are many good and useful articles providing some excellent information.
2. Market Research Lab
This section will let you discover profitable markets. Once you are registered, you enter a keyword in the search tab and click analyze. Once you click analyze, you will see a good range of data displayed. The Market Research Lab is a great too to analyze products and find the most profitable niches.
3. SaleHoo Stores
SaleHoo stores let you make your own independent store where you can set your own prices for your products. As an established seller, you must not miss the opportunity to advertise your own private store to your eBay customers. If you do not have technical skills and want a professional looking e-commerce store, you may like to have a look at SaleHoo store plans.
I know that Salehoo is not free. It costs $67 per year to get access to the wholesale directory and Market Research Lab. But the price is worth every penny for the value the company offers.
Serious sellers, who are looking for great and genuine sources, may consider signing up to SaleHoo.
The Worldwide Brands focusses more on drop shippers, but there is also a huge directory of wholesalers.
There are three main features that makes Worldwidebrands.com stand out from the crowd.
1. Wholesale Scam Protection
Once you are registered with Worldwide Brands offers you the security to work directly with top-level wholesalers. The protection ensures that you do not get fake wholesale prices, false monthly and annual fees and other wholesale related scams.
Once you sign up with the directory, you are automatically enrolled in the scam protection scheme.
2. WBI Certified Top Level Wholesaler
The is a seal or certification which is awarded to those top level wholesalers and drop shippers who are able to go through rigorous verification process. Once you see the WBI certified, you can deal with the supplier with peace of mind.
3. Keeping Your Customers Safe
Keeping your customers safe should be one of your first and foremost concerns. One of the greatest risks while working with drop shippers is the abuse of customer information.
This not only puts your customer at risk, but you are at risk too. Worldwide brands guarantees that you will be working only with real wholesale suppliers and drop shippers with no middle men involved.
Worldwide Brands is a paid directory with a life time access of $299 or an Easy Pay Plan of three instalments.
I understand that it is a bit expensive, but if you want to take your business to the next level, you may consider joining getting all the following benefits.
4. Profession Training Videos
You get access to 25 hours of high quality videos which are great if you are a new seller.
5. Instant Market Research
Making informed decisions is crucial to your business success. It is not possible to make informed decisions is to have access to real analytical data. World Wide Brands offers a formidable source of data to their registered users.
6. Members Only Forum
When you are stuck, the best place to ask is an active and interactive community. Worldwidebrands.com members only forum is a super cool place to join the community to get tons of benefits while participating in the discussions.
7. Mobile Device Access
Access your members area with a click from you mobile device. Next time you see a product and you feel like selling just tap on your smart device and you are good to source it.
This is perhaps the largest free directory among the UK wholesale sources. They opened their business back in 1999 and have been in the business for the last 15 years.
The Wholesaler is completely free for the buyer to join and browse. The company charges only the suppliers at premium. This reduces the number of junk or scam suppliers.
Another great feature is that they only list those suppliers who they could verify by a telephonic contact. So almost all the sellers are genuine.
They also verify the address and if they have any doubt about a supplier, they simply do not list them.
Another great feature of the Wholesaler UK is that they provide their own office telephone number and in case of any issues they will do their utmost to sort the issue out. Very few directories offer a service like that.
Their site is easy to navigate and very user friendly. I found a couple of good suppliers for my UK shop which are verified warehouses.
This is another great place to source products from within the UK and international suppliers. Established around 10 years ago, esources now stand very established both locally as well as internationally.
They have a huge database and at the time of writing this post they had more than 1.5 million live listings.
There are two types of accounts for buyers. One is buyer worldwide which is free. The second type is premium buyer worldwide which is available only to paid buyers.
Here is a the fee structure
- 1 Month £20
- 6 Months £50
- 12 Months £75
I have never used their paid service as I do not feel the need to use it. The free side provides enough information without the need to go premium.
A great and distinguishing features of eSources is that their article section provides information about businesses, eBay listings, amazon and other educational type of posts.
Some of the articles are good offering useful information. However, most of the articles are rehashed with no or little value. However, if you dig though the article section, you may come across some useful, educational and informative posts.
The trader.co.uk is the online face of the Trader Magazine. Once upon a time, we were regular subscribers of the Magazine. After their full online version was active, we unsubscribed to the offline Magazine. If you want to search for suppliers without tagged to your computer, then you need the Trader.
Trader online is absolutely free to use and they have links to the suppliers mentioned and you can freely navigate to the supplier’s website.
To fully utilize the Trader, I recommend browsing their three sectional regularly.
⦁ Bargains of the Week
⦁ £1 Line
Our UK eBay branch found three suppliers and outsourced end of line clearance items from them for six years. Two of them stopped dealing in end of line, while one is still a great source for us.
Wholesale Outlet is just like any other directory listing wholesale suppliers category wise. Three features distinguishes it from other directories according to the owners. These are:
1. It is completely free. You do not have to sign in or create an account with them.
2. There is a separate section for Indian manufacturers.
3. There is another section for USA based wholesaler.
We do not have any experience in dealing with them. We have not used their listings for our own business. However, we do have them on our list, just in case.
Wholesaledeal.co.uk targets smaller sellers especially those who sell at eBay and Amazon.
You will have to open account with them and subscribe to one of their paid membership options.
Currently, they offer two deals.
- £14.99 per month
- 34.99 6 months
- £44.99 One years
- £20.00 per month
- £30.00 6 months
- £60.00 on year
- £24.99 per month
- £49.99 6 Months
- 69.99 one year
Back in 2005, I had a direct dealing with them. The owner supplied me BT Amstrad Video Phones on very good price.
In those days, there were no smart phones and the BT Amstrad Video phones was a great luxury phone set for your landline in the UK.
The catalogue price for the new ones was 89.99. I was able to strike a deal of 500 piece for 5 quid each. I sold them in the Buy Now Format for £24.99 plus shipping! Not a bad deal.
Since the company went premium, we have not dealt with them since then.
Other Wholesale Sources
Charity stores are another source of building your profitable inventory. Most charity stores get their items as donations or free gifts. They sell them cheap to generate cash for charitable purposes.
Please note that most charity items are not good for resale on eBay. You will have to browse through deeply to dig real bargains.
Once I found a leather-bound classic edition Bible with colorful illustrations. I paid 0.70 cents and resold it on eBay for $75.
How much is the profit? Do the math.
Yard Sales and Sunday Markets
I think they call it Car boot sale or Sunday markets in the UK and Yard sale in the US.
They are treasure islands. If you have the skill to repair stuff, you will find amazing bargains on vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, mobile phones, laptops, dvd players and a range of other electrical goods.
I am not a technical person and have no repair or fixing skills at all. I stay away from such goods. My personal favorite hunting is to find Men’s Levi’s Jeans. Most cases I find it for anything between $1 to $5 and resell it for $20 to $35.
Bear in mind that most stuff in these car boot sales markets is junk. Be very careful when buying electrical stuff. Do not buy unless you can test them. You will usually find services around to test electrical items for a small fee.
For large sized items, take the postal or shipping cost into account. Most of these items are unboxed and you will have to spend some money boxing them before you can sell.
eBay has a wholesale category where can find almost any line on job lots or wholesale prices.
Again, check the price on the retail side to see if you can sell them for profit. Do not buy from sellers who retail on eBay. Most eBay wholesalers like to get rid of the unsold surplus stock to generate some cash. So, there is a good chance you will get some very good deals there. However, you will need to dig deeper rather than just scratching the surface.
Trade shows are the best places to network with suppliers in person. The shows provide an excellent opportunity to see the goods and sellers in person.
In online wholesaling, you mostly rely on the internet credential of the supplier. Starting with new online supplier has an element of risk unless the supplier is trusted and well-established.
On the other hand, in trade shows you have a great opportunity to see real people in action. Tradeshows provide great opportunities for connecting to old and new suppliers.
A word of caution regarding trade show is to make sure you check your prices against the average price on eBay.
Salesmen are ready to push and thrust their sale on you. Take your smart devices to check the prices on eBay, Amazon etc. to give you a rough idea. Don’t jump to commit at the show without checking the product price online.
The tradeshows are quite expensive for the traders and there are minimum chances of a supplier being a scammer. However, you must exercise your own prudence before committing to a deal.
In the USA the Trade Show News Network is a great place to find information about trade shows. It is an ultimate trade show event resource where you can search around 15000 global events. Although, it mentions the events globally, I have no experience of attending their shows internationally except in the UK.
In the UK, there are several shows held over the year. My favorite two are the Spring Fair and the Autumn Fair both held at NEC Birmingham.
The Spring Fair showcases mostly summer items and is held in the first week of February. The Autumn Fair is held in the first week of September which is a great chance to replenish you stock for the holiday and Christmas season ahead.
If you have been sourcing your inventory online and have never met your supplier before, you may see them at the trade shows.
I started 99 percent of my inventory sourcing online and met most of them later in these shows. Most supplier attend the shows. If you want to see a particular supplier, make sure you know their stand No. This will save you a significant amount of time.
Paid or Free?
Now you know that there many supplier sources. There are free and there paid. So which sources should you use, free or paid?
I personally use both. The free sources are very helpful to acquaint yourself with the wholesale market by browsing their sites and noting down suppliers and products of your interest.
The paid sources are many steps ahead than the free sources. The paid services offer two main advantages over the free services.
1. Verified Suppliers
Paid directories will make sure to list only those suppliers which are genuine and authentic. They will not risk their business by simply making a list or copy it from other sources. They will naturally make sure to work hard and under a strict process of verification and list only those suppliers who meet their standards. So dealing with suppliers by paid directories, you are relatively safe to deal with real suppliers.
2. Support and Customer Service
Free directories charge suppliers and not buyers. Suppliers are their primary customers and their business depends upon a large number of suppliers. They will naturally work more towards their end rather than buyers. In contrast, paid directories treat their buyers as valuable customers and will provide as much support as they can.
A Word of Caution
There is no 100% guarantee that everything will go smooth. There are always risks attached whether you go free or paid. As we have seen above, paid directories are relatively safer, this does not mean you should not use your common sense. Here are few guidelines to consider before making any contractual commitments.
1. Use only established free directories.
2. Paid directories are a better option but not all paid are good. Only use paid directories who have a clean track record.
3. Use your common sense and do your own research to verify each company before your strike a deal.
4. Start small and then slowly go bigger.
5. Use only the safest possible methods of payment.
6. If suppliers are in your city, state or area, pay a visit to see them in person.
7. If you can personally visit, talk to suppliers on phone, skype or email.