You have always dreamed of having your own shop, of looking for clothing to make people feel better. However, opening a shop has very high start-up and management costs, which are accompanied by factors such as the search for the premises, the warehouse, the shop assistants etc.
So you thought that your dream could evolve and transform the clothing store into an online store.
Opening a business and a shop to sell online is no less demanding than a physical store, but certainly some costs, such as renting the premises, can be removed from the list of charges. In addition, selling online allows you to have a larger customer base than that of a physical store, which has the limit of geographical location.
After reading all you can about how you create, manage, advertise an e-commerce, how you manage a warehouse, went to an accountant and consulted web professionals for the creation of sites, you decided to start your business online selling. And, now that you have a business idea in your hand and that you have identified the sector and the market niche in which to insert yourself, the time has come to get to the heart of the business and understand how to find online clothing wholesalers.
The research and selection of wholesalers is in fact fundamental if you are not a producer or a craftsman who sells the fruit of his creativity. Wholesalers will be your sales partners and a part of the success of your business will inevitably depend on them.
During the course of the article we will show you how the world of wholesalers works, how to find them and on what criteria to choose them. What we will see in the course of the article will be useful to you whether you want to open your own site, to sell in dropshipping via eBay, or to open a shop on one of the many marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba or through alternative sales tools such as Facebook and Instagram.
Wholesalers, producers, distributors and stockists: let’s clarify the types of suppliers
The search phase for online clothing wholesalers is one of the most critical phases in which new entrepreneurs often encounter the first real difficulties. If you are not already an expert in the world of clothing sales and more generally in the world of retail, you need to know who you are going to relate to in order to offer the right clothes in your online store.
Wholesalers, producers, distributors and stockists: let’s clarify the types of suppliers
The search phase for online clothing wholesalers is one of the most critical phases in which new entrepreneurs often encounter the first real difficulties. If you are not already an expert in the world of clothing sales and more generally in the world of retail, you need to know who you are going to relate to in order to offer the right clothes in your online store.Wholesalers are one of the main figures operating in the world of goods distribution: their role is that of intermediary.
The wholesaler has contacts with numerous producers or distributors from which he purchases goods which will then be resold in large quantities to companies or individuals, who in turn will then sell on the retail market. Wholesalers usually operate in specific market areas, such as clothing and accessories or in the food sector.
The producers, as it is easy to guess, are those companies that physically create a clothing product. This means that the purchase channel is direct, therefore there are no intermediaries between you and the goods you are going to sell and consequently the purchase price will be lower (not always).
Although contacting a manufacturer directly may seem like the most advantageous choice, we must tell you that this is not the case for three reasons:
• The first is that not all manufacturers sell to retailers (you with your shop) but operate through intermediaries such as distributors or wholesalers. The primary activity of a manufacturer is in fact the creation of the product rather than the sale.
• Manufacturers often allow the direct sales channel only for very large purchases.
• Manufacturers do not give access to a range of products as large as wholesalers can offer you, working with multiple manufacturers and distributors.
Distributors are always intermediaries who have a contract with producers to distribute their products on the territory or on the web, and their job is to find wholesalers.
This figure is not always present in the supply chain of a commodity, in fact very often the distributor and wholesaler are the same thing.
Finally, there are the stockists who are nothing more than realities specializing in the purchase of low-cost warehouse inventories from wholesalers, producers but also shops all over the world with the aim of reselling them to the retailer at competitive prices.
Online clothing wholesalers: how and where to find them
Before seeing how to find your online clothing suppliers and wholesalers, you need to know that to interact with any of the figures operating in the world of wholesale goods and clothing, you must be in possession of a VAT number. Without the VAT number, few companies will consider opening a commercial contact with you.
So remember to take this factor into account and go to an accountant to understand all the tax and legal dynamics associated with professional online sales. If you just want to do an activity test, you could try the opportunities made available to individuals by large international marketplaces such as eBay, to sell both in Italy and abroad.
However, the search for suppliers can be done independently of the possession of the VAT number, but to proceed with the actual contact, our advice is to wait to be in possession of it.
To guide you in finding wholesalers in the online clothing sector, you can start moving on five fronts:
• Draw up a list of brands of your interest
• Do Google search
• Rely on online wholesale directories
• Consult international websites that also deal with wholesale
• Look for dropshipping online clothing wholesalers
Draw up a list of brands of your interest
When you decide to open a clothing sales business, it is likely that you have already had an idea of the type of garments to be sold and the main brands that offer the same products on the market. In this case you can try to draw up a list of brand names and contact them, asking to join their retail distribution organization.
Do Google search
Google, the number one search engine in the world, can be a valuable helper in finding wholesalers for your shop or at least, in an initial phase of data and information collection. To do this, just write in the search bar keywords such as “online clothing wholesalers”, “online Italian clothing wholesalers”, “international online clothing wholesalers” to have thousands of pages to consult.
Rely on the dedicated wholesale directories
The wholesale directories are nothing more than large databases made available on websites specialized in this field is that they are structured to carry out searches divided by product sector, category, company name and so on. Some of the sites you can consult are: Infoimprese, Guide Monaci, Kompass, Yellow Pages and also international databases such as Europages, WorldWideBrands and Global Sources. The list of sites with databases dedicated to wholesale are many and in addition to those we have named you, you can deepen your search by asking Google.
International websites and marketplaces
Another option to search for your clothing suppliers is to search for them within international websites and marketplaces that allow you to buy products in large quantities such as: eBay Business and the world leaders of the Asian wholesalers Alibaba and AliExpress. If you decide to rely on international realities, always pay attention to the customs charges of shipments to receive your goods.
If you have decided to open an online store without having a warehouse and then try to start a dropshipping business, you may need to look for wholesalers that offer this service: not all wholesalers are in fact willing or have the organization to support such a sales system.
Examples of wholesalers active on the dropshipping front are AliExpress, DHgate, SheInside and NEDIS.
Other ways to find clothing wholesalers
In order for a sales activity to be successful, remember not to overlook the offline tools to search for wholesalers, by participating in trade fairs and specific events dedicated to the business to business of clothing. Taking part in these events allows you to get in touch with many companies and suppliers and to be able to touch the goods yourself.
What to evaluate to choose wholesalers for your online clothing store
Finding online clothing wholesalers is a great challenge for anyone who wants to open a retail business, regardless of whether it is linked to a physical or virtual store. There are many wholesalers that deal with clothing both in Italy and abroad, therefore to establish the list of suppliers to contact it is essential to establish selection criteria and skim the list.
To overcome the challenge of online sales with your e-commerce, you must therefore carefully select reliable suppliers, with a range of satisfactory and quality products, sustainable procurement times and, of course, affordable prices.
What does reliable mean? Treccani thus defines the characteristics linked to the reliable word “of instrument, plant or sim. that relies, that is, a guarantee that it will function well, or even a method, system, technology, operational program that has a good chance of leading to positive results. “
A reliable wholesaler is therefore a supplier able to respect the agreements made both in terms of quantity, quality, time and prices. A partner with whom to enter into a contract in which the specifications of the employment relationship such as the minimum quantities, prices, the methods of shipping and payment, the obligations and responsibilities of the parties, the right of withdrawal and so on are put at the bottom.
Knowing whether a wholesaler is reliable or not can only be established with certainty when working together. The only thing you can do beforehand is to search online for reviews on the service offered by the specific wholesaler.
If you choose Italian suppliers, you can also think of visiting the supplier ‘s company, so in addition to strengthening the human bond, you can also get an idea of how the company is organized.
In addition to the degree of reliability, when selecting suppliers, it is also useful to pause to analyze the range of clothing products that can offer you, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
If the supplier is able to cover the number of products you need, and to offer quality garments that meet the tastes of the customers you want to acquire, it is time to investigate the supply times of their warehouse and the shipping times of your products.
Considering today’s trends increasingly oriented towards very fast delivery times, it is important that the wholesaler is able to supply quickly.
The question of time is even more important if you choose to sell in dropshipping: in fact, the shipping process, although carried out directly by the supplier, will compromise the image of your shop if the deliveries are not respected.
If you sell in dropshipping also, inquire in advance about the possibility of the supplier to offer you triangular shipments, cash on delivery to be paid by the recipient, shipping insurance and all those additional services that customers appreciate in shipping the products they buy.
Last but not least is the price factor. In order for you to have good revenues from your e-commerce, the prices offered by the wholesaler must be affordable, so that the right margin is guaranteed to keep your online shop up and running.
To find online clothing wholesalers you have several possibilities in front of you. The world of online retailing is very large and finding reliable wholesalers takes time, research and even tests.
So, we thought to leave you some tips to find online clothing wholesalers for your ecommerce:
- Trust high quality online directories and sites that offer wholesale such as eBay and AliExpress.
- Do not overlook the Italian, European and international sector events.
- Draw up a list of wholesalers capable of responding to your needs and with a good reputation in terms of customer management, logistics and the quality of the products they offer.
- Contact wholesalers on the list by email or by phone or via both methods.
- Request samples so that you can see and touch for yourself what you are going to upload to your e-commerce and avoid those that do not provide this possibility.
- Check the distribution of wholesalers’ products on the web. If there are many stores selling the product that you would like to sell yourself, prepare to have very high competition, so try to differentiate yourself.
- Don’t be in a hurry to accept the offer from the wholesaler. Think carefully and take the time to choose, negotiate and compare the offer with that of other suppliers.
- Contract prices.
- Do not rely on a single wholesaler.
- Even if you find one or more reliable and convenient suppliers, never stop looking for new wholesalers.
- Make yourself known. If your shop and name are known and have a good reputation, you will have a better chance of establishing a relationship with suppliers. If you are starting out, work on your personal brand, communicate through social networks and don’t forget to advertise.
That’s all from our end falks, we hope you’ve enjoyed our article about “How to find online clothing wholesalers for your ecommerce”, and we hope you’ve found it useful.