Ever wanted to start an Amazon wholesale business but didn’t know where to begin?
You’re in the right place!
This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, from understanding how to get wholesale accounts for Amazon to leveraging software tools and resources for success, and everything in between.
By the end of this short guide, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your own Amazon wholesaling journey and reap the rewards of this lucrative business model.
What is a Wholesale Account?
We’ll begin by demystifying the concept of Amazon wholesale accounts.
In a nutshell, Amazon wholesale is when you buy products in bulk from suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, and/or brand owners and resell them on Amazon for a higher price. This allows you to take advantage of the established brands and products that already have a market on Amazon, ultimately making money faster than if you were to start as a private label seller.
Essentially, the same business model that Walmart, Target, and any of your other retailers practice.
By choosing to sell wholesale, you can leverage the success of these popular products for your own business. Selling wholesale on Amazon is already a profitable strategy for many sellers.
But how does wholesale differ from other popular selling models on Amazon? Here are some key differences:
- Retail arbitrage / online arbitrage: In retail and online arbitrage, you buy products from stores or websites at a low price and then sell them on Amazon for more.
- Private labeling: Amazon private label involves buying products from manufacturers and selling them on Amazon under your own brand.
- Wholesale: Wholesalers buy in bulk from established brands and sell those products on Amazon.
These are three distinct business models, each with its own advantages and considerations.
Having understood the workings of Amazon wholesale, you’re probably considering your next steps.
Securing a wholesale account with a good brand or supplier can be a challenge, but with the right approach and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to selling wholesale products on Amazon and growing a successful business.
Criteria When Sourcing Wholesalers
Before we get into the detailed steps on how to secure wholesale accounts for your Amazon business, let's establish some quick criteria around what we look for in a supplier.
Make Sure They're B2B Only
If wholesalers also sell to general consumers (B2C) then more often than not, their pricing won't be competitive enough for you as a wholesaler. Stick to true wholesalers that only sell wholesale to retailers.
Make Sure They Only Sell to Retailers
If you're searching for grocery suppliers, for example, you may come across a lot of suppliers that only deal with restaurants. Many of these types of suppliers won't be a good fit as they are not used to dealing with retailers and Amazon sellers.
Some of them may be worth having a conversation with but know up front they may not be the right fit for you.
Make Sure They Have Well Known Brands That Are Already Selling on Amazon
There's no use finding a supplier that has unknown products that carry no demand on Amazon. We want medium and large brands that we can tap into on the Amazon marketplace.
How to Find Wholesale Suppliers for Your Amazon FBA Business
Ok so now you know what to look for in a wholesale supplier, let's take a look at some of the methods you can use to secure your first, or your next, wholesale supplier account.
1. Google Search
Securing wholesale accounts can start with something as simple as a Google search. Start googling wholesale suppliers in your chosen niche, in your local area or state. Of course you can branch outside of your local area but starting local might help you build a relationship.
When Google searching, avoid directories like the Wholesale Central or Yelp, and avoid paid/sponsored ads, these are not usually the best fit.
Not a bad idea to check with Yellow Pages, The Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, etc.
2. Trade Shows
Attending trade shows is a great way to meet face to face with reps from distributors. Not only can you get info fast, you can also build rapport and develop relationships as you engage in conversations with various suppliers.
Before you attend a trade show, I recommend you do your homework and mark down who you want to speak to and where they are located at the show. Most reputable trade shows will publish a floor plan on their website so you can work out which ones you want to visit.
It may not always be possible to attend trade shows, however, so the next tip is another good option for leveraging trade shows to find wholesalers for your Amazon business.
3. Trade Show Websites
Trade Show events usually have a detailed showcase of all their vendors on their website, so spend some time browsing and filtering for your preferences.
When you've found a supplier that looks like a good fit, reach out to them and mention that you saw they were at the trade show but you were not able to make it.
4. Directly on Amazon
Go to the Amazon search bar, or the left hand menu, choose a category and hit search. Drill down further into sub-categories.
You'll find that there's a lot of products showing in the search results, so you can narrow down even further by filtering only products with 4 stars and above. Set a minimum price, something around $30 at a minimum is my general preference.
At first glance, if you have DS Amazon Quick View installed, you'll be able to see what products meet our criteria. Keepa will help you dive a little deeper.
The criteria we look for is as follows:
- Are there at least 3 FBA sellers on a listing? A little competition is good, it shows that the product has demand.
- The product should not be dominated by Amazon themselves. If Amazon is selling the product, they shouldn't be selling more than 50% of the total sales. DS Amzon Quick View will tell us if Amazon is selling the product, Keepa will give us the metrics.
- The product needs to be selling enough for you to justify investing in some inventory. This is going to be dependant on your business, but something with very low sales isn't going to cut the mustard. Volume is good.
5. Wholesale Directories
I usually avoid these if I can, it's better to reach out directly to suppliers, but a good wholesale directory can still prove to be useful.
Worldwide Brands is one of the more reputable ones with a big range of wholesalers, liquidation sellers and dropship suppliers. At the time of writing this article, they charge $187 for lifetime access.
Something to be very aware of with places like this is that it's incredibly easy to get access to it. You just have to pay the money or have a friend who shares their password with you.
When the fruit hangs this low it's often over picked.
Make sure you do your research before paying for a wholesale directory, and when looking for suppliers just keep our criteria in mind.
6. Use Software Like SmartScout
I've written a full SmartScout review, but this quick and easy method is going to help you find wholesale suppliers much faster than scouring Amazon manually.
If you know there's a brand for which you can get ungated to sell on Amazon, you can use the Smart Scout brand search tool.
In this example below I searched for 'Milwaukee'. The first line on the list is the official Milwaukee brand with over 30 million in monthly revenue across their 1,273 product listings on Amazon.
But if we move down the list, we can see some alternative Milwaukee brand name stores selling the products. What's special about these is a few of them have only one product listing, and they are still selling between $29k and $86k of monthly revenue.
Now as a word of warning, I would avoid using a misspelling or duplicate brand name for your own Amazon account or listings, this could get you banned. But this exercise has shown how easy it is to secure a small amount of brand name products that you can easily resell on Amazon.
7. Get Distributor Details From Physical Product Labels
You can do this in your own pantry, or in any retail store. The back of most products will have a label showing details of the distributor of the product. Take a photo of the details and follow them up as you normally would with any other suppliers you find using the methods I have just explained.
If they don't offer wholesale accounts be sure to ask them if they have a list of authorized distributors. That's an easy way to get lists of suppliers to call on.
Tips For Securing Wholesale Accounts
Be Prepared to Cold Call to Brand Owners or Distributors
The easiest way to make contact with wholesalers that you've found is to call them. While it's not really a "cold" call, because they expect people to be calling them, you are going to have to get comfortable on the phone.
You could always secure accounts via email, but it's going to be hard to differentiate yourself and build rapport with the supplier. You'll get more rejections if you just stick to email, rather than picking up the phone.
Do Your Research
Know what products you want to buy from your wholesale supplier, and how many, before trying to get wholesale accounts. Simply saying you want to see a bunch of prices in a catalog is a great way to get rejected.
Be Prepared to Pay Up-Front
Not all wholesalers will let you run a credit account if you don't have a track record. Be prepared to pay for your first order upfront until you establish a track record and build a little trust. Being able to pay up front may also be the difference between them accepting or rejecting you.
Build Rapport (Fast)
Tell them a little about yourself. You don't need to chew their ear off and tell your life story, but adding a little bit of personality to the conversation is a great way to quickly establish rapport and build a relationship with your future supplier.
Discuss Your Shipping Location
Tell them where you are located and where you want products to be shipped to. This saves wasted time if the wholesaler has different sales reps or account managers that handle different territories.
Discuss Minimum Order Quantity
There's nothing worse than going through an entire phone call, getting the OK from a distributor, applying for an account, only to then realize they have a huge minimum order quantity (MOQ) that is far too large for the size order you want to place.
Tell Them You Sell on Amazon
Some distributors won't sell to Amazon sellers, so it's best that you mention this up-front. If you find that this is an objection you face, this might be because they have a lot of Amazon sellers that aren't doing a great job. You might be able to overcome this objection by asking how their existing Amazon sellers are doing, and seeing if you can offer a point of difference in your business compared to the existing Amazon sellers.
This may not always be an objection that you can overcome with all suppliers, but it's worth maintaining a relationship with them in case things change in the future.
You may be able to position yourself better than other sellers. Use any strengths you may have.
Maybe that's a large bankroll or other sellers who want to chip in to buy large quantities of products. Maybe you can run PPC or handle MAP issues the brand may be having.
Always ask questions and always follow up. Especially after a no.
Frequently Asked Questions
To start Amazon Wholesale, you'll need at least $1,000-$5,000 set aside to purchase inventory. The cost of products in bulk can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and you might be able to find suppliers that don't require a huge MOQ.
The more capital the better, of course.
To get more wholesale accounts all you need to do is increase the rate at which you're finding suppliers. You can do this by trying all the methods we've mentioned, and doubling down on the ones that work best for your business. The more hooks you throw out, the more fish you'll catch!
An Amazon wholesale account allows you to buy products in bulk directly from the manufacturer, then resell them for a profit. As outlined in this article, you need to approach wholesalers directly and apply for an account so you can buy products in bulk.
Amazon Wholesale involves buying products in bulk from manufacturers and reselling them on Amazon, Private Label involves creating and selling products under your own brand, and Retail Arbitrage involves finding deals and reselling items on Amazon for a profit.
The Final Word - Getting Wholesale Accounts for Amazon
Not only have we covered 7 different ways that you can find wholesale suppliers for your Amazon business, we've also explained how you can position yourself for success when reaching out to suppliers.
Wholesale might seem like a big jump up from online or retail arbitrage, but it really isn't that much of a leap. You can still start small if you find suppliers that don't have a huge MOQ.
If you're interested in learning more about the Wholesale method then I'd love you to take a look at my program, the Wholesale Challenge, with my good friends Nate McCallister & Corey Ganim.
Happy selling and thank you for reading!