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Where Do Stores Buy Their Products? A Quick Guide

If you are starting a retail business you may wonder, ”where do stores buy their products?” In this post, we’re going to outline different product sourcing methods and tips for finding the right manufacturer, supplier, or materials for your business.

One of the most important things in retail businesses is finding reliable sources for your products. After all, if you can’t find good products to sell, then your store will quickly go out of business. 

So, where do stores buy their products? Let’s find out!

How do you source products for retail?

Where do stores buy their products?

There are a number of retailers who make their products themselves. Retailers have three main options when it comes to sourcing products: working directly with manufacturers, buying from wholesalers, or making products themselves.

Some businesses make their own products, while others purchase them from manufacturers.

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

Working Directly With Manufacturers

Many large businesses prefer to work with their suppliers directly, cutting out the middleman. This allows them to get their products at lower prices, but it’s not always easy to get those relationships started.

It’s common for manufacturers to have minimum quantity requirements, often depending on a product.

Many manufacturers are more willing to work with retail stores that commit to purchasing hundreds of units of their products.

If you’re new to marketing, then you might not have the connections or the budget to work with a manufacturer directly.

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.

Work With Wholesalers

Wholesalers are entities that purchase items in bulk from different manufacturers. They store these items and then resell them to businesses or consumers.

With a wholesaler, you don’t have to worry about travelling to another country to pick up your merchandise or dealing with customs issues.

Placing orders is all it takes.

Make Your Own Products

It’s not uncommon for medium to large businesses to make their own products. In fact, it can be a great way to ensure that you’re always able to meet demand while still producing high-quality products.

Of course, it’s important to make sure that you’re in the right niche and have a small team behind you who can help with production. But if you do, making your own products can be a great option for your business.

If you’re planning on creating your own products, it’s important to first figure out where you’ll source your materials. Local craft stores and flea markets can be great places to find what you need.

Additionally, you should take the time to calculate how long each individual item will take to make. This way, you can ensure that your production process is as efficient as possible.

If you’re looking to hire a team to help you with a project, be sure to calculate your labor costs in advance. This way, you can avoid an unexpectedly high bill.

What Are Wholesale Suppliers?

Businesses that buy products from other companies at wholesale prices and then resell them to the public are known as wholesalers.

Some wholesale distributors may both manufacturer and distribute products. In other cases, they may only distribute.

Wholesale Vs. Drop shipping

You’ll often see both terms when talking about small businesses that supply other retailers.

Wholesalers purchase their goods from suppliers, who ship the merchandise to them. The wholesaler then stores the items in the location of their choice.

Once a customer buys something from you, you need to pack and ship the items.

For those who prefer to focus on marketing, drop-shipped products can be a great option. However, it does come with some logistical challenges.

In the Drop Shipping Model, you never actually purchase any products. Instead, you list the products on your online store, and when a customer purchases a product, you forward the order to the manufacturer or wholesaler. They’ll then ship the item directly to the customer.

This means that there is less risk, although the profits are usually lower.

How To Find The Best Wholesale Vendors In The US

If you’re looking to find the best wholesale vendors in the US, the simplest way is to Google the company of the product you want to sell. Once you’re on their website, look for information about who their wholesale distributors are. Smaller companies typically won’t have distributors and will sell to you directly.

Wholesale discounts are usually around 30-50% off MSRP.

Smaller companies typically won’t have distributors and will sell products to you directly with discounts of around 30 to 50 percent off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

And, depending on brand and product, the minimum amount for an order can be as little as a $100.

DataAxle (Aka. Reference USA)

You can use reference USA to look up information on any US company.

The best part is, it’s completely free.

The only drawback to using ReferenceUSA is that it can only be accessed through a local library. However, most libraries support the service so it should not be an issue.

ReferenceUSA can also be used to find potential customers and business partners, as well as to research competitors.

Determine if a company is publicly or privately held ReferenceUSA can be used for more than finding wholesale suppliers; it can also be used to locate any type of retail company, research business executives, find factories to produce your products, and determine if a company is publicly or privately held.


The database, called “ThomasNET,” is searchable by industry, product, or service.

If you have a product or company that you want manufactured in the US, then check out Thomasnet.com.

ThomasNet is the leading online resource for wholesale suppliers. Our extensive database contains detailed information on every supplier, including size, annual sales, product information, certifications and more. With ThomasNet, you can quickly and easily find the right supplier for your needs.

The site is completely free and you can send an enquiry, request a price or visit the website of the service provider.

The Best Way to Find Wholesale Suppliers

The wholesalecentral.com website is a directory for U.S.-based suppliers and trade shows.

Attending trade shows is a great way to meet multiple wholesalers in a short amount of time.

Wholesale Central is the perfect place to find a niche specific convention to attend. With every show sorted by product category, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Wholesalers at trade shows are a great place to find good deals because they have gone through the selection process and can afford a booth.

If you live near a major city, trade shows are a great opportunity to check out different wholesale suppliers. All you need is a sellers permit to get in, and admission is usually free. This is a great way to find reputable suppliers who have the funds to invest in a booth at a trade show.

How do you decide what products to sell?

Finding the right product can be a difficult process, but it’s crucial to have a good vendor or producer. It’s also important to make sure you’re selling a product that people want.

The best way to accomplish is to listen to your staff, talk to your customers, and look at your retail sales data.

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 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 product selection.

We regularly use sales figures and customer feedback to decide what to buy and sell in our store.

Your sales team isn’t the only department that can provide valuable insight into your customers. Other teams, such as marketing and customer support, can also offer unique perspectives.

You need to gather information from them in order to make a decision.

According to retail expert, Dr.Kurt Kendall, many companies have a wealth of customer data, but this data is often stored in separate departments.

This is why he recommends gathering data from all departments of your business.

Your marketing, analytics and e-commerce teams can all provide insight into which products are most popular, which items are searched for and which aren’t, and which get little interest. This can help inform what you should sell.

Once you have gathered enough information about your clients, and understand what products they generally prefer, you can go out there and find suppliers who can provide your shop with the items your customers want. This will ensure that you keep all of your clients satisfied, which is crucial for any successful company.

Offering a varied and appealing range of products is critical for retailers to be successful.

It’s important to always be aware of the latest product trends and to have merchandise that appeals to customers in order to be successful in retail. Staying up-to-date with what is popular will help attract more customers than having outdated products.

Choosing the Right Supplier for Your Small Business

There are a few things to consider when finding a supplier for your small business.

When it comes to finding suppliers for small businesses, price, product range, location, shipping costs and policies, order minimums and reputation are all important factors to consider.

If you prioritize what’s important to you, like getting sales, generating revenue, or building your brand, then you’re more likely to achieve your business goals.


So, where do stores buy their products? Retail stores source their products either directly from manufacturers, buy from wholesalers, or even make their own products. When it comes to sourcing your products, price, product range, product quality, location, shipping costs and policies, order minimums, and reputation are all important factors to consider.