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How To Buy Wholesale: Your Guide For Retail Success

February 21, 2019 9 min read

How To Buy Wholesale: Your Guide For Retail Success - Wholesale Accessory Market

wholesale noun

whole·​sale | \ ˈhōl-ˌsāl \

The sale of commodities in quantity usually for resale (as by a retail merchant)


You’ve thought it through and decided to open a brick-and-mortar or online store.

If you love the feeling you get when you connect people with products that embody their personality and style, opening your own boutique or online shop can be a very rewarding experience. It’s an even better one when you know how to buy wholesale.

Don’t be so hard on yourself if you’re still figuring out the finer details of your retail plan. Narrowing down the specifics related to what you want to sell, how you want to sell and who your target market will be only makes things more interesting. This process gives you the chance to see what’s out there, so you can tailor your selection to meet your future customers’ tastes and needs.

We created this guide to help you figure out how to buy wholesale and sell retail. At Wholesale Accessory Market, we’re committed to not only providing our customers with the best selection of wholesale goods, but to helping retailers thrive. So, we hope you’ll find this guide handy as you start your new venture.

Step #1: Figure Out What You Want To Sell

You already know what you want to sell. Great! Go ahead and skip this step—or keep reading if you’re looking for additional inspiration. For those who aren’t quite there yet, ask yourself the following questions.

Do I Sell Items That People Want Or Items That People Need?

Trust us, this is a great place to start. If you don’t answer this question, you could find yourself in a tight spot down the road. So, think long and hard about your answer.

Still stuck? Here are some additional points to consider as you decide:

If you sell items that people need, you know there will always be a demand for what you’re selling. Products that are always in demand are known as “commoditized products.” Food, clothing, toys, shoes, and health and beauty products are just a few examples of items that fall under this category.

If you’re more interested in selling items that are geared toward a specific group, you’re looking at “niche products.” Niche, as you probably already know, means “denoting or relating to products, services or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.” These items include artisanal products or things that are made in small batches.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing one type of product over the other. It’s also perfectly fine to carry a mix of commoditized and niche products. But whatever you decide to do, make sure you have a good idea of what will keep your prospective clientele coming back for more.

Maybe I Want To Sell Items That Solve A Specific Problem. Is That Okay?

It sure is! And by finding a product to sell that soothes a major pain point, you may find yourself swimming in green. What’s even better about this route is that you can take a more personal approach when deciding on products.

Think about a problem that you run into frequently. Do you often wish that you had a solution for eliminating it altogether or making it easier to manage? Now, what product or products can you offer to solve this specific problem? Once you nail that down, see if that item or items can be purchased reasonably and resold at a cost that will generate a nice profit for you.

Now that we’ve answered those two questions, let’s get back to the steps!

Step #2: Determine Who Has The Wholesale Items You Need

You’ve landed on what you want to sell. Now, where do you get that actual product or products? There are wholesalers out there for almost every product or need. Here are some types of wholesalers or distributors that you might encounter in your search.

Exclusive Distributors

This type of wholesaler has direct permission from the manufacturer to distribute a product. They will either sell items to retailers or split them up among smaller distributors.

Jobbers Or Brokers

These are smaller-scale wholesalers. They usually provide products for small businesses or local merchants.


Even though they make the products and routinely send what they make to distributors, manufacturers will sometimes sell niche products directly to retailers for a reasonable price.

General Wholesalers

This type of wholesaler purchases a wide variety of products from one or more suppliers with the goal of reselling the products in smaller quantities. They’ll often sell to retailers or other distributors.

Discount Wholesalers

This type of wholesaler specializes in discontinued lines, returned goods or refurbished goods. And because most of their items are no longer carried in stores, the merchandise is often sold at discounted prices.

Regional Distributors

These wholesalers get boxcars full of products from manufacturers or exclusive distributors. They’ll then divide the items up into smaller parcels (usually box loads) to sell to area retailers.

You now know about different types of wholesale distributors. So, let’s get into the buying process.

Step #3: Decide How To Buy Wholesale Items For Retail

How you buy wholesale items for resale is really up to you. Think about how you shop for everyday items. Sometimes, you might go to a brick-and-mortar store for convenience, or if you know you can get something at a great price. Or, you might shop online to avoid crowds and the hassle of having to lug stuff around. It’s no different for your retail space. It’s all about preference, ease and finding the best deals.

Buying IRL (In Real Life)

If you want to take a more hands-on approach for purchasing wholesale items for retail, you can opt to work with local or regional wholesalers and artisans. This will allow you to see products beforehand. You can also find out if the items of interest are customizable, or if they can be branded with your own private label. Just make sure the products you’re interested in won’t kill your buying budget or potential profits.

Helpful Tips: How To Find Local Or Regional Wholesale Distributors

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for the right ones.

  • Check out local art expos, flea markets or craft events. You can find vendors with unique items that would fit in well with your retail space.
  • Talk to people who sell products that are similar to what you’d like to carry. If they’re not going to be your competition once you start selling, they might be comfortable with revealing their sources.
  • Attend trade shows related to your target market or even the products you intend to sell. You can find inspiration and even connect with wholesalers.
  • Subscribe to trade publications that are related to the items you want to provide. If you’re going to sell clothing, you can discover where to buy wholesale clothing for a boutique, or if you want to sell jewelry, you can find out where to buy wholesale jewelry for a more niche clientele.
  • Don’t just start a partnership with the first local wholesaler or artist that you find. If the prices and quality aren’t there, keep looking. Ultimately, your brand will be on the line. Do you want to be known for inferior quality products that happen to be local, or do you want to establish a reputation for having the best locally crafted products in the area? You decide.

Buying Online

If you’re trying to figure out where to buy wholesale online, you’re actually in the right place for wholesale apparel, accessories or home and kitchen decor. Wholesale Accessory Market offers these items at the best prices around. So, you can start your search for bulk products here.

Now, we know we’re not the only game in town—or online for that matter. If you’re looking for something outside of our scope and you know that real life treasure hunts aren’t your thing, online shopping can provide a wealth of options. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you jump in headfirst.

Helpful Tips: How To Buy Wholesale For Resale Online

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking for items.

  • Search for the items that you want to sell. Make sure you include product-related specifics like SKUs.
  • Once you find what you need, poke around and locate the best contact information for wholesale inquiries. Then you can ask for more details about products, prices or the wholesaler’s policies.
  • Regardless of which wholesaler you decide on, make sure they’re reputable and can fulfill orders without inconveniencing you and your customers. Read reviews about them. Or, if you’re active in industry-related professional groups, ask around to find online wholesalers with solid reputations.
Step #4: Decide How You Want To Sell Your Items

Are you going to have an actual store, or do you prefer to fill orders online? Figuring out how you want to sell your items can come down to a number of things. Do you have the means to get a retail space and handle the upkeep? Do you like dealing with the public on a daily basis? Are you good with visual merchandising, and will you be able to build up a reliable staff? If you said, “yes” to all of this, it sounds like a brick-and-mortar operation is right up your alley.

If you prefer selling items behind the scenes or want to keep your overhead costs low in general, operating an online store is in the cards for you. You can either sell through your own site, through a hosted platform (which is comparable to renting an online retail space), or through your own ecommerce site, In addition to selling through your site, you can also sell your merchandise on Amazon or eBay. It all boils down to what works better for your business model and if you have the resources you need to fulfill orders and maintain your online presence.

Step #5: Determine Which POS System Is Right For You

If you want to get paid, you’ll need a solid point-of-sale, or POS, system. The good news is, there is a number of POS systems out there that are designed to help small businesses process payments, track inventory, boost sales and even improve customer service.

With all of the options, how do you narrow them down? Here are some things to weigh when making your decision.

Price And Transaction Fees

Besides setup fees, the POS company you work with might require you to pay equipment fees and an assortment of charges based on the credit cards you accept, if you manually enter transactions or if you process online purchases. Be sure to read the fine print before you go all in with a POS system provider.

Is It Easy To Use?

When your business is hopping, struggling with your POS system is not an option. Look for a solution that is simple to use and won’t require a lot of downtime for training. You truly will appreciate this in the long run. No one wants to be stuck in a long line while a clerk tries to figure out how to ring up purchases. Keep this in mind for online shoppers as well. If the checkout process is clunky, hard to figure out or doesn’t work consistently, you’re going to end up with a lot of abandoned carts. So, go for a system that will be easy to use all around.

How Good Is Their Technical Support?

If anything happens with your POS system, you’ll want to have access to around-the-clock support and service. Your reputation and profits are on the line. If customers can’t make purchases from you, many don’t have a problem with moving on to another retailer that has the items they need readily available for purchase. When selecting your POS system, be sure that you’ll have access to a technical support team that can help you instead of harm you—and your bottom line.

Can It Handle Multiple Payment Options?

When trying to decide on your system, go for one that can handle a wide range of payment options. Of course, for a brick-and-mortar store, you want to cover the usual methods like cash, credit or even, dare we say it, checks. But you also want to include gift cards, security chip cards, mobile payments and even split payments in the event that a customer wants to use two options. You’ll also want a system that can easily handle store credits or refunds. So, when shopping around for a POS system for your store, ask about payment capabilities to make sure they line up with your goals.

Let Wholesale Accessory Market Help You Sell Successfully

We hope you have a better picture of how to buy wholesale and sell retail effectively and sensibly. We’ve been in your shoes before and want to help you succeed. For us, what started as a small company of just two people, has quickly established itself as one of the best wholesale suppliers for other small businesses like ourselves.

If you’ve been wondering where to buy wholesale home decor, jewelry, or wholesale clothing for a boutique, Wholesale Accessory Market is dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs like you the best prices for those items. Shop with us today and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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