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How to find suppliers for online store

Table of contents
  1. What are the suppliers
  2. Where to find a supplier for your online store
  3. Using search engines
  4. Conferences, exhibitions and fairs related to your store
  5. Lure a competitor's supplier
  6. Regional producers
  7. Search for offers in print media
  8. In the supplier base
  9. Examine product labels
  10. Classified sites
  11. Markets, bazaars
  12. Features of finding suppliers from abroad
  13. China suppliers for online store
  14. Contacts and terms of cooperation

Even before drawing up a business plan and making an online store, understand the market of manufacturers and wholesale companies of the product category that is chosen for the business.

If you are looking for suppliers of clothing for an online store , distributors of gadgets and phones, children's products and toys, auto parts , medicines or agricultural equipment - read on. We will present working methods for finding suppliers online and offline for different fields of activity.

What are the suppliers

"Oh my God! Who are all these people? " - do not panic. There are several players in the commodity business on the market. Now we will explain the differences, it will take 5 minutes of your attention.


Market participants

Features of work



They have their own warehouses and send the goods directly to the customer you find them (example after the table). May be a manufacturer themselves or a small wholesale company



Factories and factories that manufacture goods (an example will follow). A very small number of industries work directly with stores


Wholesale companies

They buy goods in bulk (by airplanes, wagons, containers) in the country or from foreign manufacturers and resell them at a premium to dealers. As a rule, they work with different manufacturers


Sales representatives

They are representatives of the manufacturer, are 90% of the time in the fields, offering products in bulk to shops, restaurants and other potential wholesale customers, more often offline



They buy goods in large wholesale from one manufacturer and resell them in small wholesale with their own markup to dealers. It is they who bring goods to new markets and countries. For example, Samsung appliances, in every country there is a distributor of this brand



They take from distributors in small wholesale and resell in even smaller quantities with their own mark-up to online stores


Online Stores

They buy more often from dealers (less often from distributors and even less often from manufacturers) and sell with their own margin to the end consumer

Example # 1. Dropshipping suppliers for your online store.

You are engaged in advertising and lead generation (attracting real buyers) + your margin , and after all the agreements, you transfer the client's data to the dropshipper for sending the goods. This type of work is suitable for aspiring entrepreneurs.

A story from life. There is an entrepreneur Oleg, he found a shoe manufacturer who sells through dropshipping. I created a template online store and placed 30 products with my own markup. For example, in the price list the price for women's black Uggs was 300 hryvnia, and he put them up for 500 hryvnia. This is his benefit . The client transfers the money to him, and he already to the supplier, after which the company makes the dispatch.

For such a scheme to work and not arouse suspicion from the buyer, you need to take a 100% advance payment or transfer information about the margin to the manufacturer who will ship it, and transfer part of the money to you when the client picks up the shoes at the post office. For dropshippers, your percentage is normal practice.

At the same time, there are risks. The goods may not be in stock, there may be delays in sending the products to the client, difficulties in returning the defects.

Example # 2. Manufacturers.

There was once a case when a son was born to Maxim and he, together with his wife Marina, decided to buy a runbike (plastic motorcycle) for their baby. And after seeing such in every second family, we wondered if they could go into business and open an online store?

We looked at the label and saw that the manufacturer is located in Kharkov. We found contacts in a search by name, called, and in response heard that they do not work with stores directly, but only through dealers who make purchases from them. We asked for a list of dealers to find out the price and minimum order quantity.

If you want to go directly to the manufacturer and place orders from him at the lowest prices, find out what the minimum order is. If you are ready to buy in large quantities, please note that they often work on a full prepayment basis and only with legal entities.

Important! In order to work with wholesale companies, manufacturers or dealers, you must have a warehouse for storage, a purchase budget, registration of an individual entrepreneur or LLC, a bank account.

Where to find a supplier for your online store

It is worth looking for them not only when you open a store, but also later, when you already regularly work with several companies.

At first. Nobody canceled the backup plan B, in case your partners change prices, stop activities, reduce the assortment, fail with supplies. Being able to order a similar product from another supplier can save your business.

Secondly. To expand the range.

When you find it, build a long-term relationship, so you can get additional discounts or special conditions. Suppliers for the online store will work with you with a stable flow of orders.

Using search engines

This may seem like the simplest and best, but don't jump to conclusions. In order to find a supplier in the Google or Yandex search engine, add the words “buy in bulk” or “supplier” to the name of the product. Look at the first page from the top 10 for information only, because the first positions are often resellers who invest in SEO (website promotion) and PPC (contextual advertising in search).

Real wholesale suppliers often do not deal with the site and its promotion, therefore they are on page 5, 10 or 30. Make yourself an Excel spreadsheet, where you will write down all the necessary information in an orderly manner. This presentation is convenient for comparison.  

What products

Min wholesale (pcs)

Product price 1

Product price 2

(for example)


or dealer




site 1

site 2

Let's take a real life example. Let's try to find suppliers of children's LEGO constructors in Ukraine in the Google system. Let's say in advance, the quest turned out to be the same!

  1. We entered a query in the Google search for "suppliers of lego constructors" and saw not Ukrainian sites, but Russian and Belarusian ones in the top. And if they were real wholesalers. Someone turned out to be outbid, and someone made a website called "wholesale", but sells at retail at regular prices and does not hide it on the main page.

On the first page of the search, we found the site - this is a platform where wholesalers of various categories are registered and some of them are represented on this site.

Important! If you try to enter the same query, the search results will be different depending on the region, user behavior, your device, access from the browser under a personal account or incognito mode. Make a search under your account and in anonymous mode. But personally, nothing has changed with us in the search results with the second search method.

  1. And what do you think, how many original LEGO constructors have we found on this site for wholesalers in Russia? That's right, zero. There are Chinese Lego fakes and suppliers from whom you can buy them. The site's usability is inconvenient, there are no filters.

  1. Further, on the second page, we found analogues of the constructors of this brand and clicked on the product. We see the cost, minimum wholesale and delivery terms.

  1. Below on the page there is a description and contacts.

  1. Interestingly, and its price at 4800 rubles and the real recommended at 6700 correspond to reality or are indicated "from the ceiling"? We opened the first store we came across in the search, the cost there is 7800 rubles. It means, however, that his prices are really wholesale. But the constructors are not from the Danish brand LEGO, as he honestly points out, but from the Chinese manufacturer.

  1. And we want to sell exactly LEGO, you remember. We continue to search. We go to the next site.

  1. Yes, there are original constructors here: you can immediately see the prices, photos and characteristics. The price for a model with a train is UAH 6499, most likely this is not a wholesale price, because on one of the forums we found that they send a wholesale price list on request. But let's also check the market price.

  1. In the price aggregator for different online stores, we see the lowest price at UAH 4799. Do you understand now what the quest consists of? It is very difficult to find a real supplier. But we said that it is worth looking at all sites up to 10, 20 or 30 pages. In the meantime, we scrolled down the first page, saw one online store that is advertised in Adwords by wholesale words, you can also ask them for a price list for comparison. Google also suggests additional queries that you can try in the search.

  1. In total, in this example and in the search results, there were 9 pages for the keyword and not a single obvious wholesaler with the current prices on the site . Therefore, we changed the query to "lego wholesale" and continued searching.


After 3 hours of surfing the sites, we also did not find a site or platform where the wholesale prices for such constructors would be indicated. Everywhere the cost was above market value. If we were faced with a real search task, we would send an email request to every “possible” wholesale store to get a price list. Later in the article, we will talk about other search methods if Google and Yandex do not give the expected result.

To summarize:

  • search in a search engine that is popular in your country (we provided statistics for 2018 in this article);
  • see dozens of pages and sites, not just the top 10;
  • compare prices with real retail prices;
  • analyze the prices and conditions of wholesalers among themselves;
  • find at least two supply partners.
Important! It is worth spending as much time as you need to find suppliers. The success of your business and profit will depend on this.
Life hack! When you get wholesale prices, compare prices on aggregator sites with other online stores. The cost can be the same as in the price list of the wholesaler. The reasons - a big discount for that store, it works through another supplier or went to the manufacturer. Thus, you can order from him in any quantity, and not in bulk.

Conferences, exhibitions and fairs related to your store

If we talk about the automotive industry, agricultural machinery, building materials and tools, food products, clothing and footwear , industrial equipment, sports goods, products from the beauty industry or any other large business area in the country, then we can say with 100% confidence that what to look for suppliers can be at annual exhibitions and conferences. Such events are more often held in the capital, sometimes in other large cities.

You can find exhibitions on the Internet by request. If you find a mention in the news or some article about an event last year, look for an event for the same dates this year. Most often they are held in the same months. It is on such sites that you will find not only real suppliers and manufacturers of products, but also business partners or even investors.

The pros of this approach:  

  • dozens of representatives of the sphere at each exhibition;
  • many manufacturers, distributors, dealers;
  • you can agree on cooperation on the spot;
  • see examples of products or equipment;
  • get to know competitors to find out their work experience.


  • you have to wait several months for the event to take place.

Below we have given the sites and catalogs of exhibitions in different CIS countries, from where clients come to us. Don't waste your time , start looking now.





Watch on international aggregators

above or do a separate search.

In Kazakhstan, for each

exhibition make their own website.

Lure a competitor's supplier

Order a product from a competitor. A few are better. How can you benefit from this:  

  1. To get to know their partners. Ask the operator about this, when your application will be considered, ask to send a scan of the quality certificate, look at the guarantee and other documents that you will receive along with the products.
  2. Learn how their service works in terms of maintenance. Website, call center, delivery , guarantees - you will go through all the stages as a client.

It should be understood that the conditions for them and for you, at wholesale prices, may be different. Formation of a contract for cooperation is individual in each case.

Regional producers

As we wrote in the table above, it is often impossible to order directly from manufacturers. However, there are exceptions.

We know examples when a food or clothing and footwear manufacturer works directly with online stores and offline outlets.

Advantages of such cooperation :

  • small factories work with small businesses;
  • prices are lower than those of dealers;
  • the brand may be unknown, but the quality is high.

Look for them in your city, region or country using the Internet or at exhibitions and fairs.

Search for offers in print media

Buy all newspapers, magazines and catalogs in your niche from the point of sale of the press. Review the pages with ads and advertisements, you can often find offers from wholesale companies there .

Be sure to search for online magazines on the Internet, as many publications have migrated to the digital world.

Features of this search:  

  • see not only new magazines, but also a year ago;
  • find all magazines and newspapers in your business area, order them by mail from other cities;
  • look for more publications in the book market and in specialized stores.

In the supplier base

Each country has a supplier base for an online store and retailer that can be found online. More precisely, online catalogs, where any of them registers and places several examples of their products, prices, descriptions, prescribes purchase conditions and indicates contacts. One such example was at the beginning of our article when we were looking for suppliers of LEGO constructors.

Important! There are people on the Internet who sell different databases for hundreds or thousands of contacts. Among them there are also scammers who will take an advance payment and will not send anything. Or send unreal and outdated contacts. Double-check the information about the seller, take reviews from his customers, ask to send several contacts for free or, better, a screen of part of the database. You will make such a purchase at your own peril and risk.

Here are examples of online directories for four countries.  





Look for such sites in your niche, for example: "directory of suppliers of footwear in Kazakhstan", "database of suppliers of soft toys in Russia."

Examine product labels

Go shopping, mall, or market. Take your smartphone with you to take pictures of all the labels, and at home you will already examine them in detail.

The following information is often indicated on the packaging or sticker:  

  • who is the manufacturer or distributor;
  • city, address and contacts.

Use this data to find out the terms of cooperation for online stores.

Classified sites

If you enter the name of your product + "wholesale", "wholesale" on ad sites, you will find several offers.

Important! Some of them are outbid, so double-check the prices on other sites and in the prices of other companies.





Markets, bazaars

For example. There are such large bazaars in Ukraine:

  1. Kharkov: "Barabashova".
  2. Odessa: "7 km".
  3. Khmelnitsky: "Wholesale Bazaar".

Famous markets in Russia:  

  1. Moscow. Several places: "Gardener", "TYAK (Trade Fair Complex)", TC "Mezhdunarodny", "Dubrovka".
  2. St. Petersburg. "City wholesale market"

In every country there are cities with large-scale markets and wholesale depots where merchants bring goods from all over the world + local producers sell there. In such places, there are sectors with different types of products. You will be able to find sellers in your niche and talk to everyone about wholesale prices and purchases.

Features of finding suppliers from abroad

In order to find wholesale companies in other countries, be it the USA, Europe or Asia, you can use the following search methods:  

  • view foreign bulletin boards and online catalogs of wholesalers;
  • go to international exhibitions and forums;
  • order from a foreign store and see the manufacturer's or distributor's contacts on the label and in the documentation.

Use a query of the format "wholesale + product + country". For example: wholesale kids toys usa.

To communicate with them, you do not need to know English or the language of the country where you want to make purchases. You can hire a translator to conclude a contract and business correspondence, and use Google translate or another online translator for simple communication.

Below are the sites for finding foreign suppliers.




China suppliers for online store

Search for the keyword "wholesale + product + china or city" on your own.

Things to consider when searching in Asia:  

  1. Pay attention to the age of the account and the announcement, an earlier registration date instills more confidence.
  2. The description, details may not be very detailed, so making a list of questions in advance will help you.
  3. Read all reviews to get the big picture. The regularity of their placement will indicate the stable work of this person.
  4. Request documentation, quality certificates, legal address of the company or their production.
  5. If you can buy through a "secure deal" on one of the sites that host vendor advertisements, use this feature.
  6. Check prices with other representatives. A price that is too low or too high should make you suspicious.

Several sites:

Important! Pick at least two and order a sample from them. Fallback never hurts!

Contacts and terms of cooperation

Before concluding an agreement on the terms of delivery , find out the answers to the following questions:  

  • what prices will be at what volume, what discounts and bonuses are possible;
  • what are the minimum and maximum deliveries by the number of units per month;
  • how long does it take for the goods to reach your country and city;
  • what to do if it is defective;
  • what system will you pay;
  • how to find out about the leftovers;
  • what documents will be provided with each order, what contract will be signed at the very beginning of cooperation;
  • what guarantees, what to do in the event of a warranty case with the client;
  • whether he will provide you with photos, characteristics and other details for posting information on your site.

May the relationship with your supplying partner be long-term, strong and mutually beneficial!

Comments 3
12.03.2020, 12:40
Спс за статью и ссылку выше на Нашел там поставщика для своей лавки. Вроде ничего особенного, но цену хорошо скинул))
28.01.2020, 19:57
Спасибо. Полезная статья.
30.12.2019, 14:40
Спасибо за статью, довольно полезная информация. Я бы еще добавил сюда свежие каталоги оптовиков, например, Все бесплатно и удобный поиск.
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