Wholesale 101: Verifying Suppliers for Your Online Store

Wholesale 101: Verifying Suppliers for Your Online Store

Not to be dramatic, but wholesale suppliers are the lifeblood of online retailing. Without a good supplier to steer you toward the items that you sell, you will find it hard to increase sales or even grow as much as you would have liked.

Hence, finding and working with the right manufacturers or suppliers is crucial to your business success. Verifying wholesalers for your online store helps ensure that you end up working with genuine suppliers. Here’s how you can verify manufacturers and suppliers for your online business:

Make personal contact

Finding legitimate suppliers to buy wholesale from is hard work. The best way to protect yourself from scams is to make personal contact, if possible, with suppliers before you proceed to make a purchase. Don’t pay a huge sum of money in blind faith.

Research the organization

Suppliers are essential to online retailing, so, it’s easy to want to get started and jump the gun on the first one with a semi-decent website. However, it is critical that you do your research  before you close the sale. It’s imperative to know who your future partner is. How do they conduct business? What experiences have other retailers have had with them? Look up their website if they have one and read user reviews online. Don’t rely solely on ones on their site, as they may be fake. You never know if they are courtesy of the owner’s grandmother has too much time on their hands or they are the result of paid reviews off Craigslist. Googling the company can help you find some unbiased reviews. Further, you should check customer referrals.

Also, a legal entity should be registered with a government agency in the country they reside. For instance, if your potential supplier is Chinese, they should be registered with the Bureau of Industry and Commerce (BIC). Registered organizations are issued unique company numbers. Demand to see this number before dealing with them any further. Don’t stop there; proceed to confirm the company information from the Bureau of Industry and Commerce office, if Chinese. If you don’t understand Chinese, you can get someone who does to assist.

If you are dealing with a US-based wholesaler, you can search for the company at the website of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or contact them directly. If they are based in the United Kingdom, the site of the Office of Fair Trading is a good place to start.

Ask for specific details and documents

Ask for the company’s full details, a copy of their tax ID or even VAT. Compare the details that they provided with those of other legitimate wholesalers.

Be mindful their preferred mode of payment

Payments made through mediums like PayPal, Western Union, and TT cannot be traced. If they prefer any of these payment methods, then it’s probably a red flag. If you still feel like proceeding with the deal, then you should consider using an escrow service, especially if you are ordering smaller shipments or making sample orders. If you are making a large purchase, then you should go with a Letter of Credit.

Utilize a B2B website

TopTen Wholesale and Manufacturer.com and other B2B websites are great resources because suppliers are a part of a community and vetted beforehand. Although, some research and communication prior to going into business is still highly encourage. This will ensure that you will work well together and have the same expectations. But, these sites do take take a good amount of the headache out of the equation.


Author:  Christine Duff

Christine wants to live in a world filled with cutting edge fashion, beautiful words and and an endless supply of leather jackets and boots. A product development grad of FIDM, she was the Editor-in-Chief of MODE Magazine where she reignited her love of storytelling. She has diverse experience within the industry with trend research, art direction and styling editorial spreads. She gained her most notable experience working in Los Angeles at the satellite operation for GQ and Vogue Thailand. Christine is passionate about social science and the role it plays in the consumer goods industry and apparel in particular.


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