7 Tips on Finding a Wholesale Vendor

Whether through an online store or a brick and mortar outlet, selling products as a retailer can be a viable business. However, after establishing your shop concept, you face a big hurdle—finding wholesale distributors for your store.

Unless you are experienced with wholesale distribution, you’ll find this to be no easy feat.  From finding and vetting suppliers to establishing a good relationship with them, the whole process can be daunting to a small business. If you are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself some mental comfort because we’ve got you covered. 

In this post, we’ll look at 7 best ways to find wholesale distributors for a retail business. You’ll also learn how to identify reliable and trustworthy wholesalers, plus get tips for communicating with them effectively. 

With reliable distributors powering the back end of your shop, you can reduce shipping costs, offer better pricing, and improve your order fulfillment. Here’s everything you need to know. 

What Are Wholesale Distributors?

Wholesale distributors are vendors that buy products in bulk directly from manufacturers with the intent of selling them to a retailer, who then sells them to consumers. Essentially, wholesalers act as the channel between your business and those who make the products you sell.

Most manufacturers don’t distribute their products, and this is where wholesalers come in. Wholesalers buy the items in bulk and sell them in smaller quantities to multiple retailers. From there, retailers add a markup on the purchase price and sell the goods to consumers.

As the link between you and the product, wholesale distributors form a crucial part of your business. They will affect your ability to deliver products on time, compete on price, and respond quickly to customer demands. 

In other words, your business will only be as good as the wholesaler you work with. Below are some tips to help you get this critical business decision right.

How To Find Wholesale Distributors: 7 Best Tips

1. Run a Google Search

Google is always a good place to start any research. However, you may need to do more than just a regular search when it comes to wholesale distributors. This is because they rarely optimize their websites for search engines, which means finding them on Google isn’t that easy.

To increase your chances of finding the best wholesale distributors online, you need to perform targeted searches. You can try different search terms such as “supplier,” “reseller,” “distributor,” “wholesaler,” etc. You can also combine this with a specific product you want to sell and the region you are in. 

For example, if you are looking for bulk Handbag suppliers, a good search would be “ handbag wholesale distributors in MALAYSIA.”

2. Check Wholesale Marketplaces

Wholesale marketplaces are platforms that connect retailers like you with manufacturers and wholesale distributors of various items. Although there’s no shortage of these platforms, you probably want to use a marketplace that makes it convenient for small businesses to buy wholesale, like JSMALL. (Clever marketing? Maybe. Valuable Tip? Certainly.)

Here at JSMALL, we are no with low – or no – minimum order amount to help shop owners buy wholesale without draining their budget. We’ve also gathered plenty of vendors who have no minimum order requirements. This means you won’t need to order a certain quantity of products to do business with the wholesaler.

You can search for wholesalers by category, including: 

  • Handbag
  • Gift Idea
  • Home & Living
  • Beauty & Cosmetic
  • Fashion Accessories

What’s more, Handshake allows you to search by the vendor’s state to ensure you find a supplier close to home. Sourcing products from a distributor in or near your state can help reduce your shipping costs while allowing for faster deliveries. The best part is, the platform gives you access to tons of retail wholesale vendors, so you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one. Plus, there are thousands of unique, trendy products to help you make a statement. 

3. Subscribe To Industry Publications

Trade magazines and other publications specific to your industry are some of the best places to find top wholesale distributors. Check out their ad section, where you’ll find a list of vetted manufacturers and distributors, along with their up-to-date contact information. Subscribing to relevant publications makes product sourcing easier by giving you hundreds of wholesale contacts to reach out to. 

Besides trade magazines, you can subscribe to relevant online newsletters and blogs. Not only will they help you find relevant online wholesale vendors, but they will also give you a wealth of updated information about your industry.

For example, if you are looking for wholesale clothing distributors to partner with, you could subscribe to top fashion publications like:

  • Facebook Page JSMALL: The publication provides information and intelligence on changing trends. It currently has over 60k subscribers.

Similar magazines are available for most industries.

4. Read the Label

One of the most straightforward ways of finding wholesale vendors is by contacting the manufacturer. Almost all manufacturers mention their details and contact information on the product’s label, which you can use to inquire about distributors. 

Contacting the manufacturer can also help you cut out middlemen who may eat into your profits. For instance, some buyers tend to pose as legitimate distributors of certain items, but they actually get the products from wholesalers and sell them at a margin. You can ask the manufacturer for an official list of distributors to weed out such parties. 

5. Join Online Communities and Associations

Sometimes, the best wholesale distributor recommendations come from other business owners. Your job is to find and network with them. You can do this by joining online groups where they usually hang out.

Here are some resources to check:

6. Ask for Referrals

Asking for referrals from other retailers may sound crazy, but it actually isn’t. You don’t need to ask your direct competitors, but rather from people doing similar businesses in other regions. 

As mentioned earlier, you can easily make friends in the industry when attending trade shows and joining online groups. Even if you’re already working with a distributor, it’s always smart to learn about other wholesalers (in case you need another supplier to meet a sudden spike in demand).    . 

There are also events organized to allow business owners like you to meet like-minded people. One of these is the Small Business Expo, which bills itself as America’s largest business networking & educational event. The event takes place in multiple cities throughout the country, and you can use the opportunity to create business relationships.

7. Communicating With a Distributor

Getting a good deal often comes down to how you communicate with a wholesaler. Here are some tips  

  • Be honest and open. When you address a situation honestly, solutions become available. For instance, telling a vendor upfront that you’re a small business with a limited budget might encourage them to set terms that allow you to buy products on partial payments.
  • Respect their time. Your potential distributor likely has other clients, which means they get dozens of emails and calls each day. Keeping your communication clear and concise is key to making them take notice. Once the distributor sees that you are super easy to work with, you can bet that they will prioritize your messages over other things.
  • Make an offer they can’t refuse. Distributors typically want recurring income. If you can offer them this type of stability (for instance, through frequent order placements), it will increase your chances of securing a deal. 


Finding the right wholesale distributor is a key part of ensuring your retail business’s success. You now know about the several ways you can find and vet them, as well as how to form a good working relationship. While the distributors focus on sourcing and delivering, you can focus on managing your store and driving sales of your business

And if they want to work with you as much as you want to work with them, that could be the start of a long and profitable business relationship.

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