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 explore nine of the top resources for finding the best wholesale suppliers based on several factors: minimum order quantities, pricing and fees, payment terms offered, order protection, and customer support.
In general, we recommend:
- Tundra: Best for financing, cash back, and free shipping
- Faire: Best for personalized product recommendations
- Alibaba: Best for product variety and price
- Handshake: Best for Shopify stores
- Etsy: Best for sourcing handmade and vintage items
- Wholesale Central: Best for finding niche and closeout products
- SaleHoo: Best for online sellers and Shopify dropshippers
- Abound: Best for indie retailers
- DHgate: Best for small order quantities
Best Wholesale Suppliers Compared
Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs)
Payment Terms and Financing Options
Funding options via Kickfurther
Depends on seller
Net 30 and 60
24/7 chatbot, email, and phone
Depends on vendor
Depends on vendor
Varies; 50% doesn’t have MOQs
$67 monthly, $127 lifetime access
Live chat, email, and phone
Free; but need to apply
✓ free returns
Email, callback requests
BNPL via third-party provider
24/7 live chat, and help desk
Tundra: Best for Financing, Cash Back, and Free Shipping
*To become a pro member at Tundra, you have to spend $500 each month. No membership fees apply.
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.
How it works: Tundra’s interface is extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate. You can use Tundra just like you would any other business-to-consumer (B2C) shopping site, searching by particular product and browsing by categories including home, fashion, kids, office, pets, and snacks. Note that you cannot sell Tundra-sourced products on third-party marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay.
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 cash back opportunities, where every $2 you spend you get $1 toward a new opening order.
Faire: Best for Personalized Product Recommendations
Faire is another online marketplace where independent brands can list their wholesale goods. Faire boasts a curated selection of wholesale items and offers an array of product categories.
How it works: 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. It currently is only available to a limited number of countries.
Why we like it: Faire has much 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.
Alibaba: Best for Product Variety and Price
Alibaba is the leading platform for wholesale trade and connects buyers with suppliers from all over the world. Alibaba has a variety of wholesalers that cover nearly every product category imaginable.
How it works: 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 net 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.
Handshake: Best for Shopify Stores
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.
How it works: 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.
To be able to buy from Handshake, you need to sign up as a retailer and have a US-based business. You need to submit your store name, legal business name, reseller ID, US business address, and contact information. Note that you also shouldn’t be selling on third-party marketplaces, including Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.
Since it is integrated with Shopify, if they see that your email isn’t linked to a Shopify ID, you will need to create one. You don’t need to open a store on Shopify though, and getting a Shopify ID is free.
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 of more than $100, no commission or transaction fees, and curated lists and highlighted products to make your shopping experience easier.
Etsy: Best for Sourcing Handmade and Vintage Items
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.
Etsy Wholesale shut down in 2018; however, sellers can continue to buy items at wholesale prices from Etsy sellers.
How it works: 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,” such as “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 fro m small brands and businesses. Etsy also offers purchase protection through its Cases Policy and a rich review section for many of its products. Etsy is also a unique opportunity to support small businesses directly and many suppliers offer free shipping on their goods.
Wholesale Central: Best for Finding Niche and Closeout Products
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 the network and they will message you back if they can fulfill your needs.
How it works: 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 and discover thousands of suppliers. Wholesale Central’s suppliers are 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.
SaleHoo: Best for Online Sellers and Shopify Dropshippers
New Zealand-based wholesale supplier SaleHoo has a directory of more than 8,000 highly vetted wholesale and dropshipping suppliers. What sets it apart from other wholesale suppliers is the amount of training and support it gives to its members, making it a recommended supplier for those starting their online stores and wanting to try dropshipping.
How it works: You need to be a paying member to shop in SaleHoo ($67 monthly or $127 for lifetime access) but worry not—you have 60 days to decide if it’s a good fit; otherwise, you can get your money back.
SaleHoo works similarly to other marketplaces such as Alibaba. You can connect your Shopify store to enable dropshipping, create your private label brand, or buy wholesale products. Shipping and MOQs depend on the vendor, and what’s great about SaleHoo’s product listings is that the majority are genuine, high-quality brands from the US like Sony and Disney.
Why we like it: What is impressive about SaleHoo’s supplier directory is how well-vetted its vendors are. SaleHoo also has a market research feature that helps buyers see trends and notice seasonal products. Its customer service is also highly rated among its users.
Abound: Best for Indie Retailers
Abound is a curated wholesale marketplace that provides opportunities for indie brands to sell what they love and local retailers to find unique and thoughtful products for their store. The platform is designed for brands and retailers, where brands can sign up to be a seller and retailers need to sign up to buy from the marketplace (proof of store name, website, and type are asked upon application).
How it works: Like Tundra and Faire, Abound is an online marketplace but one thing that sets it apart is that 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 and net 60 payment terms. Abound is also growing quickly with new brands added each week.
DHgate: Best for Sellers Who Want to Order Small Product Quantities
Similar to Alibaba, DHgate is a wholesale marketplace with a majority of China-based suppliers. Founded in 2004, it is one of the biggest wholesale marketplaces in the world—with about 1.7 million registered suppliers selling more than 7.7 million online products in more than 27 categories.
How it works: You need to sign up for an account with DHgate to browse its available listings. Upon signing up, you see a variety of coupons that you can apply to your order. Since DHgate is known for counterfeit items, we recommend exercising due diligence when placing an order. They have a built-in feedback system where DHgate displays reviews for each supplier, as well as how long they have been selling, product quality, customer service standards, annual sales volumes, and percentages of disputes and positive reviews.
Once you place an order, processing time varies by seller but is usually fulfilled within three to 15 business days. DHgate has a very flexible shipping lead time, so consider this when placing an order. Its shipping lead times can be anywhere between three days to three weeks.
Once you receive your item, you are given the chance to file a dispute and claim for a refund if the order doesn’t meet your requirements, is broken, or is not as advertised. DHgate holds your payment in escrow until you click on Order Received in your dashboard.
Why we like it: DHgate doesn’t have any membership fees and provides membership levels depending on the number of orders and purchase amounts you have placed. Once you reach VIP status, you are entitled to phone support. Most of its sellers do not have minimum order quantities, so you can place an order to check its quality before deciding to buy in bulk.
We weren’t able to verify if its buyer protection works, especially with claiming a refund. However, we advise you not to mark an order as received until you have thoroughly checked your parcel.
Best Wholesale Suppliers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which is cheaper to buy products from—a manufacturer or a wholesaler?
While manufacturing a product is cheaper, it takes a lot of time to develop a product from scratch. Buying from wholesalers cuts the time in more than half, and you can find great deals from wholesale marketplaces we have outlined above.
How do I find the best wholesaler for my business?
To find the best wholesaler for your business, check online directories, attend trade shows, research online, ask for local business referrals, and use business directories available to you. When choosing a wholesale supplier, study its lead time, consider minimum order quantities and buyer protection programs, and lastly, try to obtain samples before buying in bulk.
What is the best wholesale supplier for retail?
We have reviewed close to 50 wholesale suppliers and rounded up the best nine, with Tundra and Alibaba leading our recommendations. Tundra wins for its financing, cash back, and free shipping features while Alibaba is the top wholesale supplier for a wide variety of products and pricing.
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.