Wholesale Sourcing: Mistakes to Avoid and Tips to Follow

Lilla Stefanovszky

Wholesale sourcing is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of your business regardless of it being an eCommerce or a brick-and-mortar store. You have to have a great understanding of wholesale sourcing to be able to capitalize on the products you are selling and leave your mark on the marketplace. The product you decide upon and the price point you are offering it at will determine many aspects of your business. These will have a direct effect on your profit margin, the niche you are operating in, and your place among your competitors.

With wholesale sourcing from a reputable wholesale supplier, you will still be in charge of the products you sell and their shipping once purchased by your customer. Meanwhile, wholesale sourcing also has its own challenges as well, so in this article, we want to help you with tips to follow and mistakes to avoid.

Where to start the wholesale sourcing process?

Before committing to a major wholesale purchase it is key to do your in-depth research. In order to have a grounded wholesale sourcing strategy in place, you have a lot to consider in the planning phase.

Consider the demand for products

You have to start with finding the best products you can resell to your customers. To find this put you have to somehow measure the demand for the products you are thinking to sell in your niche. Unfortunately, if you like or feel passionate about a product that does not necessarily mean that your customers will do so. A good starting point can be researching the best-selling products on the most well-known marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon. Amazon has its “Best Sellers” page and eBay has a “Trending” page that allows you to see which type of products are doing the best on these sites and get a grasp on what is popular. You also have to look at your competitors’ stores where they are most likely to highlight their best sellers. This can give you an idea of which direction to move to when sourcing your wholesale products.

Know which products sell the best

Owning a store can be tricky if you are not certain what to sell to succeed. If you want to take a slice of the clothing retail industry, here are a couple of guidelines to follow when it comes to best-selling fashion products.

Athleisure

According to Google Trends, the athleisure trend started to overtake the fashion market in 2014, and ever since it is a steadily growing segment. The pandemic only escalated this even further with most of the world’s population working from home and wanting to be more comfortable. This goes hand in hand with the increasing demand for luxury sneakers as well. If you want to tap into this market, read our article about the best wholesale luxury sneaker suppliers.

Men’s shoes

Another product category that shows steady growth over the past decade is men’s shoes. Based on Google Trends, the best selling months are November and December but if you have a look at how the interest evolved over time, it is visible that there is also growth during other months as well. Especially when it comes to designer apparel and shoes, the sector is steadily growing which motivates wholesale suppliers like BrandsGateway to offer premium brands and styles for men’s shoes at wholesale prices.

Watches

The next segment that is worth considering investing in is watches. According to the trends over the past decade, both men’s and women’s watches are on the rise considering the customers’ interest in these categories. The major driving force of this market is the perceived value as a status symbol of each piece. The use of high-end, premium materials and brand names are even more appealing to customers when considering buying a watch. For these reasons, designer watches are a big hit that you should consider including in your product mix. BrandsGateway’s portfolio of branded men’s and women’s watches is something to look into if you decide to enter the market of designer watches.

Consider your competition

With every good selling product or with those which are in trend now comes great competition. The highest the demand is for a certain product the higher and harsher competition you are likely to face when listing it. This can easily lead to a price war between you and your competitors. By trying to offer the same product at the lowest price possible you might get noticed by customers but you can also easily damage your profit margin. You need to analyze your competition in detail to see if completing in this certain niche is actually worth it. If you have big, well-established competitors with a wide product offering that are likely to win the battle, it might be a better idea to stay away from the competition.

Consider all factors when setting prices

Not only the wholesale sourcing price of your chosen product will determine the margin you will be making on each sale but you also have to keep in mind the cost of your logistics. When you are dropshipping, your supplier is the one who takes care of packaging, shipping, and managing your inventory but when you choose wholesale sourcing is a whole different story.

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See all the elements you need to include into your pricing to end up with the desired profit margin in the list below:

  • First, you have to make sure that you have sufficient and suitable storage for your products even if you can only buy them in bulk;
  • Secondly, you have to factor in the price of the packaging you want to dispatch your products in. Usually, this is the lowest cost but with the idea of “buying low and selling high” in your mind, you have to keep account of each small cost that reduces your margin;
  • If you are selling on a marketplace such as eBay or Amazon you need to take into consideration the fees that you need to pay when selling your items on these platforms;
  • Finally, you have to study the ways you can get the products to your customers once a purchase is made. You need to carefully look into the costs of shipping and choose the best and most efficient methods for your business.

Mistakes to avoid while wholesale sourcing

Now that you have useful tips to follow when sourcing wholesale products, we need to look into the biggest mistakes you want to avoid. These will help to set you up for success in the future and minimize your potential loss due to the lack of knowledge or experience.

Ordering way too much from a product

When working with wholesale suppliers, buying a single unit of a certain product is usually not a possibility. You are likely to have to buy everything in bulk. Each supplier is working with different minimum order quantities you need to be always aware of. When you are just starting your store, you can buy only the minimums required at first. This way you can avoid tying down your sourcing capital in a certain product and will have the chance to offer a greater variety. Also, this will allow you to test different products at the same time. If a purchase turns out to be successful, you can always go back to your supplier and purchase more.

Wholesale ordering should be planned upfront

Ordering time-sensitive products

If you are stocking seasonal items you have to be sure that you only order what you will surely sell during the season. If you are unsuccessful in doing so and the season has already passed the remaining products can seriously harm your profit margin. You will not only have to discount the remaining items in the hope of selling them but also you have to factor in the storage cost that occurs in these cases. If you are a new player on the market and still experimenting with your shop, you might be better off offering products that can sell throughout the whole year.

Trying to negotiate a better deal

Many people are tempted to negotiate when they think that they can end up with a better deal at the end of the negotiation. But are you actually ending up with a better deal? You need to be very careful when you are just starting to work with a new supplier, negotiation on your first order might not give the best impression of you. This can be an issue if you are determined to work towards a long-term relationship with your supplier. Also, you can easily fall into the trap of ending up purchasing too much. When starting your business you have to be careful about the amounts you purchase as we already highlighted in our first point. A better solution would be to look for wholesale suppliers that provide diversified products that can help you avoid overstocking your store with the same models and styles.

Making assumptions

Making faulty assumptions can cost you a lot of money and loss in profits. When starting to work with a new supplier you have to make sure that you understand all terms and conditions they are operating with. Also, you need to fully understand in what condition and packaging your wholesale sourcing products will be delivered to you. This way you can avoid buying excess packaging that already is provided by your supplier. Moreover, you have to make sure that you are aware of all costs that might incur while sourcing. You might think that buying in bulk will automatically grand you free shipping. But is this actually true? To avoid faulty assumptions and mistakes that can hurt your margin do not be afraid to ask questions from your suppliers. Keep in mind, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Know the difference between a manufacturer and a distributor

When buying directly from a manufacturer you are buying from the maker of the product and this has its disadvantages you need to consider. You might have to deal with language barriers, rocky deliveries, and a lack of customer support. On the other hand, when you are sourcing from a wholesale supplier you are essentially working with a middle-man. You can get tremendous support and valuable connections from your distributor.

Speaking of, manufacturers are not much involved in the process of wholesale sourcing, whereas wholesale suppliers usually have a whole team of experts and account managers that will guide you every step of the way. Also, they will make sure that you can offer great quality products to your customers with brand and quality guarantees. Especially if you decide to buy in bulk branded items, BrandsGateway is an example of a wholesale supplier that ensures product authenticity and will provide you with original packaging and product tags which is a rare thing. Moreover, most suppliers provide world-class customer service and even business assistance to you to succeed with your store.

Conclusion

Paying attention and trying to avoid mistakes while wholesale sourcing for your store can be a huge help when starting your business. Once you are having more experience, these will come naturally to you. But obviously, you always have to watch the market trends closely and keeping an eye on new possibilities for making a profit. Never stop researching products and categories that you can include in your product mix that might give you a head start before others on the market and always double-check your potential wholesale suppliers in order to benefit from the best quality products and deals.

About the Author


Lilla Stefanovszky
Fashion marketing professional turned digital marketer. My name is Lilla and I have been working in the fashion industry for 5 years. Currently working at BrandsGateway and helping with the development of the marketing strategy and on occasions writing articles for our audience. When away form the computer, I enjoy outdoors and running with my dogs.

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