• Share

Where Do Retailers Buy From? The Best Product Sources

When planning to start a retail business you may wonder, ”where do retailers buy from? It’s important to know where to buy your merchandise from. I’ve been in the business for over 10 years and have learned a thing or two about product sourcing. In this blog post, I’ll share with you the best places to buy wholesale merchandise for your retail business.

Where Do Retailers Buy From? 

Where do retailers buy from? Retailers have three options when it comes to buying their inventory. Some work with suppliers, others buy wholesale, and some even manufacture their own goods.

Let’s take a look at the differences between these 3 methods.

Working Directly With Manufacturers

Many stores prefer to work with the manufacturer directly, cutting out the middleman. While this can be ideal, it’s not always easy to do.

Some manufacturers require minimum purchase amounts, or MOQs.

Many suppliers prefer to work with larger distributors, who commit to purchasing hundreds of units of their products at a time.

If you’re new to manufacturing, then working with a manufacturer might be a little difficult.

One of the issues you may face when working with manufacturers is having to manage sending specifications and dealing with warehouse imports. This can be time-consuming and take away from your focus on retail business.

All that can be time-consuming, and prevent you from being focused on your retail shop.

And that’s where our next point comes in…

Work With Wholesalers

Wholesalers buy products in bulk from manufacturers and resell them to other merchants.

Wholesalers can be a great option for retailers who want to avoid the hassle of importing and warehousing items. You can simply place your orders with the wholesaler, and they will take care of the rest. This can save you time and money, as you won’t need to travel or deal with shipping customs.

Make Your Own Products

Large companies often make their own products and this can be a good way to ensure you’re meeting customer demand. However, it’s important that you’re in a niche market and have a small production team. If you do, then making and selling your own product can be a good option.

If you’re planning to create your own product, you should look into where you’ll source materials. Craft stores and flea-markets are great options, as are local thrift stores, and don’t forget to factor in the time it takes you to create each item.

If you plan on hiring a team to help with your product creation, be sure to determine the labor costs ahead of time. This way, you can avoid running up an unexpectedly high bill.

Where do you find suppliers, manufacturers, and other vendors?

Now that you’ve figured out what you’re going to sell, you need to figure out where you’re going to get it.

What resources are there for finding great suppliers?

Let’s check out some of your options for…

How to Find the Best Events for Your Industry

Expos, buying shows, and other industry events are excellent opportunities to learn about upcoming trends in your industry. By attending these events, you can gain valuable insights that can help you stay ahead of the competition.

Attending events is a great way to get face to face with manufacturers and wholesale suppliers. This lets you see and touch the materials and products available.

Large retailers often hold events where suppliers and manufacturers can connect with potential buyers.

There are trade shows that focus specifically on apparel, footwear, and accessories like MAGIC, as well as home and lifestyle retailers like New York Now. These shows can be great resources for finding new products and suppliers in your industry.

There are a ton of shows for just about any industry, so if you’re in a niche, you’ll have no problem finding a conference that caters to you.

To locate industry-specific events and trade shows, you can use sites like the Tradeshow Network and Event In America. These sites allow you to search for upcoming shows by location, date, and category. Alternatively, you can ask other retailers or wholesalers about the events that they find to be most beneficial.

Another way to find out about industry events is to ask other retailers and suppliers.

At the events

What should you do on the trade show or exhibition floor? Here are some best practices for making the most of your time there.

When you attend an event, get organized and take notes. This way, you can go back home with a clear idea of which products and suppliers are worth pursuing.

It can be very overwhelming, and you don’t want to miss anything. You’ll want to walk the whole show first so that you don’t miss anything important!

Don’t worry, you won’t miss out on anything good! There’s no need to pounce on the first great products or suppliers you see. It’s best to wait until you’ve explored the whole function before filling out any purchase orders.

Don’t just settle for the first great products or suppliers you see. Explore all of your options before making any decisions. This way, you can be sure you’re getting the best possible deal.

Be sure to take advantage of any show deals that vendors are offering – it’s a great way to save some money on products or services that you’re interested in. If you don’t see any offers posted at the booth, ask the vendor if they have any deals available for event attendees. In many cases, you’ll be able to take advantage of these offers even after the event has ended.

2. Trade Publications

If you don’t have enough time or money to attend events, try looking into subscribing to a specialty or trade magazine.

Industry publications are a great way to stay up-to-date on product trends and find new suppliers.

Trade magazines can give you insight into which products are being supplied, and who the suppliers are.

If you’re not subscribed to any trade publications yet, you should check out TradePub.com or Forum Publishing to see if you can find any relevant to your industry. Subscribing to these magazines can give you insights into the products others are selling and who their suppliers are.

3. Industry Associations

Most trade organizations offer networking, vendor, and membership services to their members. However, in some cases, non-members can take advantage of these services as well.

where do retailers buy from (Source)

Some trade associations offer non-member pricing for events that is only slightly higher than member pricing. Additionally, some groups such as the American Apparel & Footwear Association let users access their online supplier directory at no cost.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try searching Google for organizations in your field.

4. Online Directories

SaleHoo, ThomasNet.com and Alibaba.com are all great online directories to check out when you’re looking for products and suppliers.

There are many online directories available, but we suggest you start with these because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself by browsing too many marketplaces.

Both ThomasNet and Alibaba offer extensive supplier directories with search and browse features to help you find the products or vendors you need. With thousands of suppliers available on each site, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

ThomasNet and Alibaba are both online directories that offer access to thousands of supplier profiles. The main difference is that ThomasNet focuses on suppliers in the United States and Canada, while Alibaba can direct you to suppliers in other countries.

Tips for using online supplier directories

Make sure to do your research before selecting a supplier. Check their website, do a basic web search, and ask for samples and references.

Look out for signs that a supplier might not be legitimate, like ones who don’t have a phone number or a custom domain for their email address.

Both ThomasNet and Alibaba offer tools and features to help you assess suppliers.

For example, one site, called thomasnet.com, allows you to search for suppliers by industry, location, and product. Another, alibaba.com, has a list of “Gold Supplier” companies, which are companies that have passed their tests.

When dealing with international suppliers and vendors, it’s important to be concise and clear. This is especially important when communicating via email, as they may not understand complex sentences.

When communicating with online suppliers, be clear and concise in your language. Be sure to include all relevant details regarding what you need from them. If necessary, have them repeat your request back to you to ensure that they understand.

How do you decide what products to sell?

To do this, you’ll need to do target market research and figure out what kinds of products they would be interested in. You can use a variety of methods to gather this information, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and social media research. Once you have a good understanding of your target market’s needs and wants, you can start sourcing products that meet those needs.

There are three easy ways to accomplish this goal – talking to your customers, listening to your staff, and looking into your retail analytics.

At Cat Socrates, we like to keep our product assortment fresh for our regular customers. This means that we are always on the lookout for new and interesting consumer products to sell in our shop. We take into consideration what our customers are asking for, what is popular at the moment, and what we think would be a good addition to our current selection.

We’re always on the lookout for new and interesting brands and items to sell in our store. We use sales reports to help us decide what kinds of goods to stock, and we also listen to feedback from our customers.

While your sales team may be your most important source of customer information, don’t neglect your other internal departments. For example, your marketing department may have insights into what your customers are looking for, while your customer service team may know what customers like and dislike about your products.

As retail expert, and Partner at consulting firm, The Kurt Salmon Company, said, “Retailers often collect tons of customer data, but it tends to be stored in different departments. Instead, he recommends gathering it all in one place.”

Your marketing, e-commerce and website analytics teams can all work together to provide you with an understanding of what your customers are looking for, what they consider and which products are barely considered.

After you have collected a sufficient amount of customer data, and have gained an understanding of what products or brands are most popular, you can confidently go out and find the right vendors to stock your store with. This way, you can ensure that your store always has fresh, appealing merchandise.

Having a fresh, updated, and enticing selection of products is the cornerstone of any retail business.

You need to have a fresh and appealing product selection to be successful in retail. Staying up-to-date with the latest product trends is essential, and you should always be looking for new merchandise or suppliers that can help you keep your selection current.

Starting Steps to Wholesale Merchandising

Before you purchase any products for your retail store, be sure to do a bit of research. Visit other stores that sell similar products to yours, and take note of the brands that each carries.

You can try to determine which products are selling well and which ones are in the clearance bin by visiting a similar store that is located too far away geographically to be a competitor. The retailer may be willing to share with you their product sources.

Retail businesses can find new products for their store by searching for items on the Internet, by joining a purchasing group, by using local libraries, and by attending trade shows and events.

As your store begins to generate business, you will find it easier to locate wholesale merchandise to sell. This is because suppliers will reach out to you instead of you having to track them down. Additionally, customers can also help point you in the direction of new products they would like to see in your store.

Customers can also help find new vendors by recommending products that they want to see in your store.

Building strong relationships with customers is essential to understanding their needs and ensuring that your business is meeting them. Seek customer feedback regularly to stay informed and make changes as needed to keep them happy.


Where do retailers buy from? Retailers can source directly from suppliers, others buy wholesale, and some even manufacture their own goods. However, the best place to buy wholesale merchandise for your retail business depends on what type of products you’re looking for and your budget.!