This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
Online marketplaces and directories are some of the best ways to find the right wholesale suppliers for your business. Online wholesale directories offer a wide selection of products and reputable suppliers on one convenient platform.
In this article, we will explore nine of the top resources for finding the best wholesale suppliers:
|Integrates with Square||Shipping fees for non-Pro members*|
|No transaction fees||No returns|
|Over 2 million products with five-day lead times||Small selection of North American suppliers (~10,000)|
*To become a pro member at Tundra, you have to spend $500 each month. No membership fees apply.
Best for: Financing, cashback, and free shipping on a wide range of products, along with discounts on opening orders
Types of Products: Homewares, fashion, kids, office, pets, and snacks
How It Works: Tundra is a free online wholesale marketplace where suppliers from Canada and the United States list their wares for retailers to shop. It has a wide variety of products and prides itself as a one-stop shop for small business product sourcing. Tundra also does not charge transaction or commission fees, so sellers don’t have to add on to their prices and you can rest assured that the price you see is what you will pay—no hidden fees.
Tundra’s interface is extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate. You can use Tundra just like you would any other B2C shopping site, searching by particular product and browsing by categories including home, fashion, kids, office, pets, and snacks.
Why We Like It: While some suppliers charge for shipping, the majority of Tundra’s merchandise comes without a shipping fee. Not only that, but Tundra also offers financing through Kickfurther, provides order tracking and charges no transaction fees. There are also great cashback opportunities, where every $2 you spend you get $1 toward a new opening order.
|Net 60 purchasing plans for all purchases||15%-20% commission on sellers which can induce markups|
|Custom product recommendations||Shipping fees (except opening orders)|
|Free shipping and returns on opening orders||Midsize selection of international brands (~30,000)|
Best for: Personalized product recommendations
Types of Products: Homewares, food, fashion, beauty, paper goods, kids, and pets
How It Works: Faire is another online marketplace where independent brands can list their wholesale goods. Faire boasts a curated selection of wholesale items and offers a wide array of product categories.
Just like Tundra, Faire’s interface is like a normal B2C website. You can both search for specific products and brands as well as shop by category. While Faire offers free shipping and returns for your first order, there are supplier-based shipping fees and return allowances for all recurring orders.
Why We Like It: Faire has a lot to offer to sellers. It offers Net 60 payment terms for all of its brands and purchases, and its free shipping and return policy for opening orders means that you can test out new brands risk-free. Not only that, but as you shop and purchase through Faire, the site will generate customer product and brand recommendations that match your previous search activities.
Net 60 Terms: This means that you do not have to pay until 60 days after your purchase, giving you time to sell products before you pay.
|Built-in supplier review/certification indicators||Scam risks|
|Trade assurance to protect your orders||Longer ship times for international orders|
|Large supplier selection (~150,000)||Different MOQs across suppliers|
Best for: A wide variety of international suppliers
Types of Products: Vehicle and mechanical parts, electronics, fashion accessories and apparel, home (furniture and wares), machinery, garden, kids, tools, gifts, rubbers and plastics, sports
How It Works: Alibaba is the leading platform for wholesale trade and connects buyers with suppliers from all over the world. Alibaba has a huge variety of wholesalers that cover nearly every product category imaginable.
The majority of Alibaba’s suppliers are located internationally, specifically in China, meaning that there are lots of opportunities to find wholesale goods at lower prices than you might find from North American suppliers. The nature of working internationally, however, does tend to introduce longer shipping times for products ordered through the Alibaba marketplace. Working with international suppliers also means that it can be more difficult to vet their reliability. To help with this, Alibaba allows their suppliers to become “Verified” if they pass a factory/warehouse assessment and inspection to prove the legitimacy and reliability of their business.
Not only that, but Alibaba also offers trade assurance for all orders placed through its site, ensuring that the products you ordered are “produced to the quality you expect, paid for securely, and shipped on time.” Its customer service representatives can help if that’s not the case.
Alibaba also offers a buyer membership program where you can become a Pro Buyer if you have purchased more than $300,000 on Alibaba or have a business that makes more than $1 million annually. All you have to do is fill out the Pro Buyer application to prove your credentials and then you get access to:
- Net 30 and 60 payment terms for all orders
- Shipping consolidation services so you can save on shipping and freight costs
- Pro Buyer badge that suppliers can see when they work with you
- Six $500 coupons for orders of $20,000 or more
- Dedicated Pro Buyer 24-hour customer service
Why We Like It: Alibaba has the widest selection of products and wholesalers on the market and provides security for all your purchases through trade assurance. Additionally, while there are certainly scammers on Alibaba’s marketplace, this platform has taken steps to make buying more secure with its Verified Supplier certification. You can even filter your searches and product pages to only include verified wholesalers. Not only that, but Alibaba offers secure messaging services and a well-equipped customer service department to protect its buyers and facilitate easy and safe transactions.
|Handpicked selection of trusted brands||Only available for US retailers|
|Free shipping for opening orders of $100 or more||Cannot sell goods on third-party marketplaces (Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.)|
|Quality over quantity products||Suppliers determine their own shipping and return policies|
Best For: Hand-selected quality goods
Types of Products: Fashion accessories and apparel, beauty, homewares, kids, stationery, pets
How It Works: Handshake is a curated wholesale marketplace by Shopify that provides US retailers with several thousand hand-selected and high-quality brands and suppliers. Handshake’s staff curates the suppliers on its site, choosing the top brands for quality and reliability.
Just like Faire and Tundra, Handshake’s interface is built like a B2C site with both product search and categorical browsing options. The platform has a fun mix of trend-driven and timeless artisan products for you to choose from, and while Handshake might not be your one-stop shop, it does pride itself on having unique products that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Why We Like It: Handshake is a great option for sourcing exciting pieces that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. With its focus on trustworthy and high-quality brands and suppliers, Handshake provides a secure experience for its buyers. Not only that, but there is also free shipping for opening orders over $100, no commission or transaction fees, and curated lists and highlighted products to make your shopping experience easier.
|Support independent artisans||Smaller order quantity capabilities (for most of Etsy’s suppliers)|
|Unique products with an artisan bent||Suppliers determine their own shipping and return policies|
|Custom product recommendations||Scam risks|
Best for: The largest selection of independent artisans
Types of Products: Party and holiday, jewelry, vintage goods, homewares and furniture, apparel, toys, gifts, craft supplies, and art
How It Works: Etsy is an online marketplace where independent artisans can list their wares for people to shop. Etsy is a great place to find unique, artisan goods and support other small businesses.
Unlike many of the other marketplaces we will look at in this article, Etsy is the only one that is primarily a B2C site. This does not mean, however, that it is not a great resource for retailers. There are several ways that you can utilize Etsy to find wholesale suppliers:
- Visit Etsy’s Wholesale Market Page: Here you can browse by product categories, customized based on your needs and preferences.
- Search: You can search for wholesale goods by typing in “wholesale + the item you are searching for” (i.e., “wholesale dog toys”).
- Message Sellers: You can also message sellers individually through Etsy’s in-site messaging platform. You should include in your message that you are a business interested in purchasing their wares wholesale to sell at your store. Most sellers are eager to work with businesses that want to place large orders of their goods—it is a great opportunity for them too.
Why We Like It: Etsy is a great place to find unique, handmade items from small brands and businesses. Etsy also offers purchase protection through its case system as well as a rich review section for many of its products. Etsy is also a unique opportunity to directly support small businesses and many suppliers offer free shipping on their goods.
|Large database of suppliers||No order protections or order rectification services|
|Can send out product requests for niche or hard-to-find items||No in-site messaging features|
|Access to dropshipping and closeout suppliers||Lacks higher-end vendors and merchandise|
Best for: Finding niche and closeout products
Types of Products: Fashion apparel and accessories, office and school supplies, as seen on TV, auto, business supplies, food, electronics, music, homewares and furniture, beauty, pet, kids, artisan suppliers
How It Works: Wholesale Central is a supplier directory where retailers can search for products that they need and Wholesale Central will provide them with a list of supplier contact information and resources for wholesalers that offer the product in question. Also, if you are looking for hard-to-find products, you can send out requests to wholesalers in your network and they will message you back if they can fulfill your need.
Unlike the other platforms on this list, wholesale central does not facilitate buying or any retailer-supplier communication. The site is only a directory that connects you with suppliers. Contacting the suppliers, placing orders, and arranging payment terms all take place off-site.
Why We Like It: Wholesale Central makes it easy to find niche products and connect with wholesalers directly. You can send our product requests, discover thousands of suppliers, and shop with confidence knowing that Wholesale Central’s suppliers have been screened and are liable for removal from the directory if they prove to be unreliable or fraudulent.
Wholesale Central also has a partner site, Closeout Central, that offers a wide range of closeout goods, where you can find prices well below wholesale.
|Advanced search engine and product evaluation features||Lack artisan goods and suppliers|
|Vetted selection of reliable suppliers||No purchase protections|
|Provides curated selections of trending products as well as personalized recommendations||No in-site transactions|
Best for: Easily requesting samples
Types of Products: Household, homewares, beauty, fitness, snacks, frozen and perishable foods, gifts
How It Works: Like Wholesale Central, RangeMe is not a marketplace, but rather a search platform for finding products and connecting with supplies. You use RangeMe’s platform just as you would a B2C website; there are both product search and category pages that you can explore.
From there, if you see a product you like, you can demonstrate interest by saving it or messaging the supplier to request a sample. All you have to do is press the “save” or “request sample” buttons—it’s as easy as that. After the initial discovery and sampling set, the rest of the purchasing process is between you and the supplier. You can rest assured that all of RangeMe’s suppliers are screened for quality and reliability.
Why We Like It: RangeMe has over 175,000 suppliers on the site, so there is no shortage of high-quality products to discover. RangeMe is also trusted by major corporations like Target, Safeway, Sephora, and Ulta, giving you peace of mind while shopping the selection.
RangeMe also boasts powerful search tools with advanced filters for shipping, price, quantity, and location concerns. Not only that, but RangeMe makes it easy to explore and find new products by providing curated product lists for hot sellers and featured products as well as personalized recommendations based on your preferences
|Expertly sourced wholesalers and products||Only for US- and UK-based retailers|
|New products added weekly||Higher price point than international wholesalers|
|Net 60 payment terms* and 60-day returns for all opening orders free||Limited return eligibility|
*This feature is only available to qualified retailers. To become qualified you simply apply for Abound’s retail experts to review.
Best for: New products added weekly
Types of Products: Accessories, baby and kids, beauty, paper goods, food, apparel, beauty, home
How It Works: Like Tundra and Faire, Abound is an online marketplace where retailers can shop a curated collection of brands and products. Abound doesn’t just curate its sellers—its retail experts review each one for reputation, quality, and reliability. Not only that, but they are adding new products every week, so there is no end to the discovery you can do on Abound.
Abound carries mid-priced products from both established and emerging brands. Additionally, Abound handles everything in-house, including setting shipping and return fees, messaging, transactions, and providing order protection.
Why We Like It: Abound has a strong focus on supporting small businesses and providing them with an accessible and reliable place to shop. It offers 60-day returns on all opening orders so you can try out new brands risk-free as well as net 60 payment terms. Abound is also growing quickly with new brands added each week.
|No order minimums for any products or suppliers||Does not work directly with suppliers|
|ree shipping on all orders over $150||Limited product categories|
|Flexible financing options*||Expect four to six weeks for shipping for all products|
*Supplied! offers six-month terms powered by PayPal Credit. You also have options to pay in four installments with Sezzle or PayPal.
Best for: Lower than wholesale pricing
Types of Products: Holiday, fashion apparel and accessories, jewelry, homeware, office
How It Works: Supplied! is a wholesale marketplace unlike the other marketplaces we have explored in this article. Whereas Faire, Tundra, Alibaba, and Handshake allow you to connect with brands and suppliers, Supplied! is your supplier. Supplied! goes straight to manufacturers and wholesalers to see and assess their wares. From there, it purchases them at the manufacturer’s price, lists them on the Supplied! Marketplace, and sells directly to you at a lower than wholesale price.
This is how Supplied! is able to keep its prices so low and provide you with peace of mind. However, because it sources and purchases all the products itself, there is a smaller selection of goods and shipping times tend to take longer.
Why We Like It: While the selection is a drawback of Supplied!’s sourcing model, there are a lot of great benefits to sourcing and selling everything in-house. Supplied! offers free shipping on all orders over $150, free returns within 30 days, up to 75% off wholesaler prices, and flexible financing options built right into its checkout portal. There is also order tracking and a team of customer service agents available to help with your orders.
Whether you are starting a business or just looking for new sourcing opportunities, finding the best wholesale suppliers can be a difficult task. The resources above, however, make this difficult task much easier. By consolidating suppliers on one convenient platform and providing helpful functionality features and deals, supplier directories and marketplaces streamline your buying process. With the list above, you are equipped with ample options and knowledge to help you choose the best wholesale supplier.