The first steps in growing an online business are often the most intimidating, and not knowing which supplier type best suits you doesn’t help. It’s not uncommon for eCommerce entrepreneurs to start their business following one model, only to pivot later and follow another one better suited for them.

Let’s save you some time and give you a rundown on the different supplier types SaleHoo can connect you with, and suggest which of our products may be best suited for your business goals.

Wholesalers - with this model you are buying product upfront and in bulk from a supplier. Typically, the more you buy, the greater discount you are given. It can be a great model to source products at a cheap price, but be sure to factor in logistical costs and storage space. Products are usually shipped from overseas and buyers must store the products in warehouses or their home if they have the space. This business model can be utilized over a variety of eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Shopify, and WooCommerce just to name a few.

If you are interested in starting or expanding a business with wholesalers, SaleHoo Directory is the way to go. Our directory offers over 8,000 trusted suppliers and communicating with them is right at your fingertips. Negotiating prices, logistical inquiries, or general product questions are just a phone call or email away.



Dropshippers - as opposed to buying product in bulk via wholesale, dropshipping is a method where buyers purchase from their supplier one product at a time. Once your customer makes a purchase in your store, you place the order with the supplier and they ship the product directly to your customer. The benefit of this selling method is that you do not have to hold inventory or ship the product yourself. However, the downside is that suppliers cannot match wholesale prices since you are not buying in bulk. Naturally, this cuts into your profits and can make it a bit more challenging to offer customers competitive prices. But, if you find a winning product and properly promote it within the right niche, a successful business can flourish.

If you are interested in starting or expanding a dropshipping business, you can utilize our SaleHoo Directory to find suppliers that participate in the dropshipping model. However, if you already have a Shopify store or are starting fresh with dropshipping, we suggest you check out SaleHoo Dropship.

SaleHoo Dropship lets you quickly filter through thousands of trending products and add them from AliExpress directly into your Shopify store in minutes. Once customer orders come through, you can easily fulfill them on one well-organized dashboard. It's the simplest, smartest way to dropship.



Liquidators - buying from liquidators means that you are purchasing product that had once been for sale, but didn’t sell for whatever reason. Retail stores need to ensure their product selection is new and in season to keep product demand high. When products become stagnant or out of season they must liquidate.

eCommerce business owners can purchase name brand product from liquidators at a steep discount for resale. Keep in mind that different liquidators sell the product in different ways. Some may sell by the truck load, others by single pallets, and yet others by single item. Buyers need to learn how their chosen liquidator works and try to negotiate as much as possible.

If you are interested in working with liquidators, SaleHoo Directory has you covered. You can filter our vast network of suppliers to pinpoint product sold by liquidators, and we make it easy to contact them. Negotiating prices, logistical inquiries, or general product questions are just a phone call or email away.



Manufacturers - if you are looking to have a new idea or product fabricated you would want to reach out to manufacturers who make physical product within your niche. Typically manufacturers make product for big buyers like wholesalers, who then sell the product to business owners. If you are looking to work with manufacturers directly you’ll want to have a clear plan of the product you need created and in what quantities.

Our SaleHoo Directory can help connect you with manufacturers around the globe. Just filter your supplier search to manufacturers, choose the one that is best suited for you, and connect with them via email or phone. It’s that simple!

Now that you know the difference between the four major types of suppliers, you can confidently choose the one best suited for you and start contacting them. Check out this helpful article for guidelines on how you can contact and work with suppliers like a pro.

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