Wholesale Selection: What's Best For Your Business?

Wholesale Selection: What's Best For Your Business?

Gideon Eklund on Apr 13th 2021

The most important element of being a US-based retailer is getting products for your shops to sell, as anyone running a retail store can tell you. But, with so many options, it's hard to know whether or not you should get your inventory from the US, or from China instead. It can get to be a big conundrum, but we're here to help with your decision-making process! First and foremost is the question, "...Where should I order my products from, and why?"

Both sides have their merits and their inferiorities. Sure, ordering directly from China seems more palatable, but the US has their own pros as well. Let's compare the two:

ORDERING FROM THE US—PROS:

  • No minimum order quantity
  • Similar business hours with US distributors
  • Much shorter shipping times, due to shorter distance traveled.
  • Easier access to customer service/support

ORDERING FROM CHINA—PROS:

  • Newer products available right away
  • Access to their full product inventory, instead of only what US distribution centers have chosen to provide
  • Lower pricing
  • Can re-order the same products indefinitely
  • More inventory availability

Now, something to keep in mind is that, for many US-based shops, the savings from ordering directly from China get eaten up by the costs of shipping internationally. If you order large amounts of products, it may be more beneficial, but for many US retail shops, this won't be the case. But, even ordering from the US isn't a perfect situation for everyone. For the sake of evenness, here's the cons for both options:

ORDERING FROM THE US—CONS:

  • Higher pricing
  • New items sell out faster, (In some cases, literally in minutes,) because resupply will be needed
  • Smaller product selection
  • Products available for a shorter window of time

ORDERING FROM CHINA—CONS:

  • Newer products available right away
  • Access to their full product inventory, instead of only what US distribution centers have chosen to carry
  • Lower pricing
  • Can re-order the same products indefinitely
  • More inventory availability

So, obviously, these pros and cons weigh differently for different business models, but ordering from the US can have its cons diffused a bit by making sure to hunt for the best deal. But, devices get changed, modified, and upgraded completely within months. That makes it difficult to keep up, because the distributors will only carry certain products for a short period of time as a result.

When looking for the right distribution company, keep the following qualifications in your mind:

  • What is their shipping times/policy? Their cutoff times or start times could be completely wrong for you. Time zone will determine when these shipments will happen in relation to your own as well.
  • Location also matters. If they're too far away, shipping will obviously take longer. A business operating on different business hours than yours can be difficult to reach out to, as well.
  • Whatbrands do the distributor carry? Do they even carry the stuff your customers like? If not, you may want to shop around for someone else.
  • Shipping costs. These can be CRAZY right now, because of the new policies against shipping vape products to certain states, and who can deliver them. Make sure you're getting the most affordable deal for your business as possible.
  • Return policy. You're going to need to ship things back. Defective products happen; it's just the nature of the business. What does the distributor you're shopping for charge to ship things back? If their return policies are too unreasonable, or cost you money you shouldn't be spending, then maybe move on to someone else.

A common question is, "Should I order my juice from a distributor?"

...No.

To clarify: you're paying for a middle-man, when you can get your juice straight from the manufacturer. It's cheaper and faster.

You should only really buy juice from a distributor if the manufacturer is so poor at customer service that you don't want to deal with them, but their product is so good you don't want to go without it in your inventory. If they are hard to reach out to, charge too much, ship too slowly, or frequently make errors, you're not going to want to stick with them anyway. They may be able to provide multiple flavors from the same place, but that's a small up-side, to a mountain of down-sides.

The manufacturer will have better prices, samples, access to products, (because distributors may stop carrying their stuff, and then you'd have to go to the manufacturer anyway,) and the manufacturer—surprise!—will have quicker access to the new products they're making.

Buy from the manufacturers for less, and when you can't, compare and contrast between more than one hardware distributor to ensure you're getting the best deal.

There are other tips that can help, too; call your wholesalers directly. Look into price matching; most places do it. Ask about bulk deals. Make deals with manufacturers, and offer exclusive deals for their brands. Keeping your costs low can be easy, as long as you keep doing your research, and price-check everything.

You can cut your costs, and find the right wholesaler/distributer for you!