Finding suppliers for your business has become easier than ever, thanks to international shipping and the internet. Currently, Chinese eCommerce-giant Alibaba reigns supreme as the internet’s leading wholesale supply, but many small business owners are looking to shake things up by working with a new supplier. Fortunately, the internet is full of reliable wholesale suppliers, and we’ve compiled a few here that may help you decide which direction you’d like to take your business.
While Alibaba has a lot to offer as a supplier, not all Chinese manufacterers are present on the site. Many are, but thousands can be found on other websites, delivering products as just about the same price as you would find on Alibaba. Ultimately, you’ll need to know the size of your average order before trying a new supplier, as some are only cost efficient for very large orders. If you are looking to purchase a relatively small number of items, you’ll want to consider certain marketplaces over others. However, some marketplaces on this list will work better for large quantities due to the average price per unit of their products. In the end, the site that best suits you will largely depend on the size of your order.
If you’re starting small, we recommend working with AliExpress or DHGate for your first purchases. These marketplaces deliver many of the same products found on Alibaba, as well as others. By shopping from Aliexpress or DHGate, you are getting an extra level of protection for your purchase, thanks to the respective escrow systems of these platforms. This cuts down on the number of conmen using the marketplaces, giving you an added benefit of security. The drawback of these platforms is their price, as they do charge about 25 percent more per order than Alibaba. This is to be expected, as these marketplaces are middlemen. The vendors found on these marketplaces purchase items in bulk from other manufactures and then post them for sale, with the benefit of the escrow system. The inflated price of products on these sites may be a hassle if you’re purchasing very large quantities of product, but for smaller orders, they can be overlooked thanks to the security of the escrow system.
For larger businesses, you’ll want to work more directly with a wholesaler, in order to cut down on costs. Alibaba is an excellent marketplace for large businesses, but there are other options available. The biggest online competitor to Alibaba is known as Global Sources. This company sells products wholesale both online and offline, further establishing them as a leader in the international market. The company has been involved with international trade for over 45 years, and they have a fantastic reputation in the wholesale industry. Global Sources offers thousands of products in nearly every field imaginable, and their suppliers are generally considered to be of higher quality than Alibaba’s. While there are fewer suppliers on the site, their product selection does not suffer, and you can expect high quality products from the vendors you choose to work with. The main drawback to working with Global Sources is the process of actually making a purchase. With AliExpress and DHGate, it takes only a few clicks to make a purchase, however you’ll need to prove yourself to make a purchase from Global Sources.
It’s important to think outside of the internet when it comes to suppliers, as many of the best suppliers can be found only in person. The best way to find reliable suppliers offline is by attending trade shows. Trade shows happen in nearly every city on the planet, and have a lot to offer businesses in need of suppliers. At trade shows, you can meet the people behind the product, and really build a connection with your supplier. Attending trade shows takes much more effort than purchasing supply online, but may ultimately provide a better experience and a better product.
What are your favorite wholesale websites? Did we miss any? Tell us about an experience you’ve had with any of the marketplaces above in the comments below!