Finding profitable wholesale accounts is not as hard as you think it is. Most people make that assumption because they first focus on trying to secure wholesale relationships with super big name brands (like Lego, Apple, Nike, etc.), which is almost impossible for normal Amazon sellers. While landing a wholesale account with a big name brand might be hard, it’s much easier (yet very lucrative) to find smaller, lesser known brands to start wholesale relationships with. I’ll show you how in this blog post.
Plus, near the end of this blog post, I’ll share with you the number one strategy that has lead me to the most long-term successful wholesale accounts.
In a previous blog post I gave you my top 9 reasons why you should consider adding wholesale sourcing to your Amazon FBA business. You may have read that post and started thinking, “Great, Stephen, I’m convinced. I definitely want to try out wholesale sourcing, make my business more streamlined, and protect my seller account. Now where do I find profitable wholesale suppliers?”
That type of question is where we end up any time we want to make a change in our business. “OK, I see my sticking points, and I’m ready to press on to get beyond them. But how do I take that next step?”
With finding wholesale suppliers, your possibilities are really only limited by your creativity. Ultimately, you want to find unique wholesale accounts where you can develop a great business relationship with your supplier and provide an awesome product to Amazon customers.
After I share these 5 strategies, I’ll tell you which one of the five wholesale sourcing strategies that has had the biggest impact on my Amazon sales.
Let’s discuss the top five ways you can make that connection and find profitable wholesale accounts:
1. Trade Shows
All throughout the year you can find a trade show going on in areas all across the U.S. (Or in other countries! Don’t limit yourself geographically) and in all niches of products. Think trade shows for toys, bridal products, baby items, kitchen gadgets, home and garden, crafts, you name it.
Beyond those niche trade shows, you can also find larger trade shows and markets where you can find products across all categories presented in one show. The biggest trade show out there is called ASD, and it happens in Las Vegas every March and August.
If you live in a big city, chances are there are trade shows and markets happening nearby throughout the year. I recommend doing a Google search for trade shows in your town or somewhere you can travel to, and check out what’s coming up in the months ahead. Most of these types of shows are free to enter, and you can walk around the exhibits, talk with the exhibitors, and see what types of products are available at the different booths.
One thing you should keep in mind is that two different types of exhibitors set up booths at trade shows: manufacturers and distributors. A manufacturer would be a direct connection to the source of the product, without any middle man. If you get a wholesale account with a manufacturer, you will likely need to make purchases in larger amounts, but you will get a better price per unit. With a distributor, you are usually dealing with a middle man. You can make smaller purchases, but you will pay more per unit.
2. Trade Show Websites
Even if you can’t attend a particular trade show, you can benefit from signing up for the show and doing research on the exhibitors. On the trade show website you can get access to the vendor list and their contact info, which you can then use to call or email for more information on the products they offer.
Whether you attend in person or make contact through the trade show website, it’s all about making connections with the vendors, asking good questions, and developing a relationship that could lead to a mutually beneficial arrangement. You will need to have a resale certificate to open a wholesale account once you have made that connection, so be sure you have your certificate on hand before starting the process to open an account.
If you are interested in more details about how to maximize the opportunities on trade show websites, check out the book Trade Show No Show by Jim Peterson and Jim Cockrum.
3. Product Packaging
This may seem overly simplistic, but finding wholesale sources really doesn’t have to be that complicated!
Pretty much every product you can imagine is going to have the manufacturer’s name and contact info printed right on the product’s packaging. If you can only find the name or part of the contact info, use Google to find the rest of the info, and you’re one step closer to making contact and finding out how to open a wholesale account.
If you have an awesome retail find that you would love to sell more of, check out the product packaging for that contact info and see if you could start buying that product at wholesale prices.
One strategy you can use to get an edge on your competition is to think of products that are made locally to your town or area. What is your area known for? Food products can be especially profitable, if there’s a local favorite that can’t be found in other parts of the country. Find these types of products on your local shelves, get the manufacturer’s info off the packaging, and start making contact.
Try searching a wholesale directory like Worldwide Brands. Now, I want to tell you up front, that this is the only suggestion on finding wholesale sources that comes with a one-time cost, but if you use it the right way, then it can be worth the investment. In fact, I’m glad there is an upfront cost to use this service because if it were free, then everyone would use it and the sources would not be as good.
Why is there a cost to get connected with these wholesalers? Because Worldwide Brands has done the hard work for you and has found countless wholesalers who have stated they will sell to Amazon resellers. Some wholesale companies don’t like selling to Amazon sellers, but with one click of a button on the search page, you can have Worldwide Brands only give you the search results that contain Amazon seller approved wholesalers.
Now, as with anything, you’ll still need to do the hard work of finding which wholesale companies have profitable items, but once you find them, you can order and reorder again and again. Note: Worldwide Brands also promotes dropshipping, which we do not recommend (see #2 on this blog post for more on why), but for someone wanting to create wholesale relationships with wholesalers, this is a good start.
5. Amazon Best Sellers
Again, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated to find great ideas for wholesale sources. You can research the popular items in your favorite category by checking out the Top 100 sellers and looking up their manufacturer’s info online.
To make it even easier, we have created a quick link, fulltimefba.com/bestsellers, to take you right to the Amazon best sellers page, where you can drill down from the main Amazon categories. Once you find a product you are interested in researching, click to go to the product page, and you should see the name of the manufacturer listed below the product title. You can then do a Google search for their contact info and start the process of opening a wholesale account.
Pro Tip: I do not recommend opening wholesale accounts with companies when Amazon is selling the product. Even if you think you can get a great wholesale price, Amazon is likely getting an even greater volume discount, and it’s too hard to compete. You should also check out the sales history on Keepa to see if Amazon is out of stock now, but might have been on the listing in the past. There are plenty of other products out there, so move on to ones where Amazon isn’t currently on the listing or doesn’t seem like they’ll come back in stock in the future.
There you have it, my top 5 ways to find products where you can open a wholesale account. The key to getting those accounts is to just make contact. Get the door open, start a conversation, ask for a catalog, ask what you need to do to apply for an account – it really doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. In fact, if you want to learn about the next step in the process, I’ll share with you exactly how to successfully land wholesale accounts.
Stephen’s Favorite Wholesale Sourcing Strategy:
So out of the five wholesale sourcing strategies I listed above in this blog post, there is one that outshines the rest by far. It’s the strategy that has lead me to find multiple wholesale accounts from which I reorder month after month and has made me thousands upon thousands of dollars: Amazon’s Best Sellers!
The other four strategies focus on getting the wholesale account first and then hoping the wholesaler has items that are good enough to sell on Amazon. But when you reverse the order of what you do by first focusing on finding a winning product and then seeking to get the wholesale account, then you already know you have a profitable item that sells fast!
This wholesale sourcing strategy has another name:
Reverse Wholesale Sourcing.
It’s called “reverse” because it’s the only strategy where you find a fast-selling item on Amazon first… and then reach out to get the wholesale account. This strategy is what finally helped me to find multiple profitable wholesale accounts.
Would you like to learn about reverse wholesale sourcing? My wholesale mentors, Dan and Dylan, put together a free video series focused on teaching the Reverse Wholesale Sourcing model, but unfortunately, this free video series focused is currently closed. If you want me to tell you when the doors are open to the free reverse wholesale workshop again, then sign up for the wait list where I’ll email you the moment the free wholesale workshop videos are available again. This free video series that will open your eyes to what is possible with selling wholesale items on Amazon, so take a moment and sign up for the wait list.
*This post was updated for 2021
Want to Learn More About Wholesale Sourcing?
For the longest time I wanted to add wholesale to my Amazon business. I have actually gone through 3 different wholesale courses to teach me how to do it. Each time I went through a new wholesale course I would try what was taught, but I kept coming up empty. It was extremely frustrating… then I scheduled a phone call with Dan Meadors from The Wholesale Formula. That conversation opened up my eyes to things about wholesale I never thought about before (and was never taught). I took his advice and began to find multiple wholesale accounts.
Would you have wanted to listen in on that conversation? Unfortunately, we didn’t record the call, but Dan and his team have created something even better: a free video series focused on successfully adding wholesale to your Amazon FBA business. The content in this free video series is the same content that I heard in my phone call with Dan… and more!
Unfortunately, this free video series is currently closed, but if you want me to tell you when the doors are open to the free wholesale workshop again, then sign up for the wait list where I’ll email you the moment the free wholesale workshop videos are available again. This free video series that will open your eyes to what is possible with selling wholesale items on Amazon, so take a moment, and sign up for the wait list.