What is Wholesale? - Learn All About Wholesale (2023)

What Is the Definition of Wholesale?

Wholesale refers to two possible business models. A business may buy goods in large quantities directly from manufacturers, warehouse them, and resell them. Or wholesale may refer to businesses that produce their own products and sell them directly to retailers, who then sell products to the end user. This second option has been popularized by wholesale marketplaces such as Handshake.

How Are Wholesale Goods Distributed?

Those in wholesale purchase goods from a distributor and pass them to a retailer to be sold to the end-user. Wholesale goods suppliers source trending products to make sure that they can supply the most up-to-date goods to retailers. When a trend is identified, those in wholesale will research and source the most cost-efficient products, choosing from a multitude of manufacturers and distributors. Wholesale operators then supply these products to retail businesses for purchase.

Benefits of Wholesale

  • Save Money

By buying products in bulk you can save money through discounts that wholesale get with larger orders. This means that you can get products for less while selling them for more. Depending on how much you invest initially you can get ahead of competitors through buying and selling in sheer volume.

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  • Build a Network of Suppliers

What is Wholesale? - Learn All About Wholesale (1)

Those in wholesale need a good network of suppliers and manufacturers that they can rely on. Deliveries must be on time, products must be to a high standard, and relationships honored, to make sure that business runs smoothly for a wholesaler. This means that supplier relationships should be positive and well maintained so that your brand is established and sustainable.

  • Become an Expert

Through researching and selling products you become an expert in this field. Whether you are selling car parts, jewelry, or wedding supplies you gain knowledge in your industry that customers will come to trust. Use this knowledge to entice more people to your online store and share information that will help customers make a purchase

  • Expand with Ease

Once you have a good foothold on your industry you will start to see connections with other markets. These connections could be upselling or cross-selling opportunities that can help your business gain even more success. This expansion will be easy as you have already set up your brand and established relationships with those offering their products for wholesale. Any new ventures will be quick and simple compared to setting up.

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Types of Wholesale

It can be hard to navigate the wholesale environment as some wholesalers work independently, while others work closely with one or two producers. Overall a wholesale businesses can fall into one of three categories, or types. These are:

  1. Merchant Wholesalers
    This is the most common wholesale types. Merchant wholesalers engage in purchasing larger volumes of products which they sell in smaller quantities for a slightly higher price. Merchant wholesalers do not manufacture their own products but they have in-depth knowledge of products to know when is the right time to start selling them to retail businesses in different industries.
  2. Brokers
    Brokers typically don’t own the products they’re selling; they are the intermediary between a wholesale operator and their clients. A broker negotiates a good deal between the two parties and works off a sales commission structure.
  3. Sales and Distribution
    Instead of relying on wholesale businesses finding a manufacturer, a manufacturer could hire people to actively represent them to wholesalers. This means that a manufacturer will reach out to wholesale operators to offer their products to them, creating wholesale deals that are tailored to individual cases.

What is Wholesale Pricing

A wholesale pricing is the price a manufacturer charges a wholesale to bulk order from them. Because wholesale is buying in bulk a significant discount can be sought from the manufacturer making it possible for a wholesaler to make a profit through retail markup.

Retail markup is the pricing on wholesale products a retailer is charged for a product minus the wholesale price of the product. For example, if a wholesale buys 500 products for a total of $2,000 each product cost $4. The wholesaler might decide to sell these products in groups of 50 to retailers for $400 per 50 products. The price per product has now increased to $8 per product meaning that a wholesaler will make $4 profit per product or $2,000 for the whole shipment. This is what makes wholesale profitable.

What Is the Difference Between a Distributor, Wholesaler and Retailer?

A product has to come a long way until it reaches a paying customer. Wholesalers, distributors, and retailers are all middlemen that are featured in the supply chain and make that journey possible. Each has its own purpose and set of responsibilities that define their role in the network.

Distributor is an independent agent that enters into an agreement with a manufacturer to sell their products to wholesalers or retailers. Distributors often face limitations from manufacturers and are not allowed to sell other product lines or competing products, however, that often boils down to the type of industry and agreement that’s put into place. Typically, distributors carry a very large amount of stock and often have the capacity to warehouse goods for up to a year. Whenever a manufacturer is approached by a potential new buyer, they have to deal with the chosen distributor that becomes their direct point of contact.

Wholesaler is a middleman that buys in bulk from a distributor and resells at a wholesale price to a retailer. Wholesalers can specialize in a certain type of product, such as women’s shoes, or carry a wide range of stock destined for retailers in various different industries. Wholesalers who only stock non-competing products are deemed distributors. Besides breaking bulk orders into smaller quantities, wholesalers can also assemble goods as part of the process. Wholesalers typically tend to warehouse products for shorter periods of time compared to distributors, most commonly for up to six months.

Retailers are for-profit businesses that sell directly to consumers for the purpose of consumption and not resale. To make a profit, a retailer needs to find a wholesaler or a distributor that sells products at the right price point and in the right quantities. Generally, retailers make money by purchasing goods from wholesalers in small quantities at a wholesale price and reselling them at a relatively high price to cover for advertising costs and other expenses, such as staff salaries, rent, utility bills, etc.

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Wholesale Vs Dropshipping

Wholesaling is great as it gives you the ability to buy and sell when and where you want to. You can even choose how to sell your products, so this is a great option for an entrepreneur with enough startup capital.

What is Wholesale? - Learn All About Wholesale (2)

A new type of online retailer known as “dropshipper” has become popular among eCommerce entrepreneurs with little startup capital. A dropshipper is a retailer who doesn’t keep any stock but earns commission on orders transferred to his wholesale dealer. The biggest advantage of this retail fulfillment method is that you don’t need to own or keep the stock you’re selling. When you receive a new order, you simply pass it on to your wholesale partner who handles the product shipping and takes a commission on that. eCommerce businesses that run on a dropshipping model are hugely reliant on wholesale suppliers and need to be strategic about choosing the right partner.

Both business models are great options but are suited for different entrepreneurs.

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What do you understand about wholesale? ›

Wholesale trade consists of purchasingand selling goods, generally to retailers, professional (industrial or commercial) users or authorities, or to other wholesalers or intermediaries, regardless of the quantities sold.

What are the 3 types of wholesalers? ›


The three categories used in the Census of Wholesale Trade are: 1) merchant wholesalers; 2) agents, brokers, and commission merchants; and manufacturers' sales branches and offices.

What does it mean to work in wholesale? ›

Wholesalers operate as middlemen between product manufacturers and retailers or other businesses. They make a profit by buying products in bulk at a discount and reselling them in smaller quantities at a higher price to individual retailers.

What is the role of wholesale? ›

Wholesalers are one of the important channels in the distribution chain of goods. They buy large quantities of products directly from manufacturers or distributors and resell in smaller units. Their customers are quite varied, namely retailers, commercial industries, institutions, or end consumers of the products.

What is an example of wholesale? ›

Wholesalers can also be retailers and manufacturers. For example, General Mills produces various foods, including cereal. They then distribute cereal to grocery stores that sell goods to the end-user. In this case, General Mills is both the manufacturer and the wholesaler.

What are the two types of wholesalers? ›

Merchant wholesalers and agent wholesalers are the two main types of intermediaries in indirect sales. The main difference between them is ownership of the products they sell. While merchant wholesalers take the title for the goods they sell, agent wholesalers only earn commission fees for their sales.

Is Walmart a wholesaler or retailer? ›

Walmart engages in both the retail and wholesale business, selling an assortment of merchandise and services worldwide at stores and online at everyday low prices.

How does the wholesale process work? ›

Wholesaling is the act of selling your products in bulk to another retailer, usually at a discount, who then sells the product to its customers at a higher price. It's important to note that creating a wholesale channel for your online business does still allow you to sell your product to the end consumer.

Is Amazon considered a wholesaler? ›

Amazon is a central hub to buy wholesale products

And there's no better place to get started than at Amazon Business.

What skills do I need to be a wholesaler? ›

Three common soft skills for a wholesaler are customer-service skills, interpersonal skills and self-confidence.
Real Examples Of Wholesaler Resumes That Use These Skills
  • Risk Tolerance.
  • Financial Advisor.
  • Life Insurance.
  • Procedures.
  • Financial Situation.
  • Portfolio.
  • Risk Management.
  • Communication.
Dec 12, 2022

How hard is wholesaling? ›

Running a wholesaling business can be challenging because you must be able to identify properties being sold for well under market value, negotiate deals with sellers, and target cash buyers who are willing to purchase those properties.

Is wholesaling hard to get into? ›

Is Wholesaling In California Easy? No, it's not easy because wholesalers need to understand the state and local contracts and real estate laws. However, reading our informative articles here and taking courses will teach you everything you need to know about the wholesaling profession.

What are the different types of wholesalers? ›

Types of Wholesalers
  • 1) Merchant Wholesalers :– ...
  • 2) General Wholesalers :- ...
  • 3) Speciality Wholesalers :- ...
  • 4) Specific Product Wholesalers :- ...
  • 5) Discount Wholesalers :– ...
  • 6) Drop Ship Wholesalers : -

What is the most common type of wholesaler? ›

Merchant wholesalers are the most common type of wholesalers who buy all sorts of different and profitable items from different manufacturers, store them, and sell them to the retailers.

Who is the biggest wholesaler in the USA? ›

Costco is a US-based wholesale supplier and multinational corporation. The company is the third largest wholesale supplier in the world and the top in the US. Costco offers millions of products in 50+ categories and 1000+ subcategories.

How much do wholesalers make? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $50,000 and as low as $25,500, the majority of Wholesaler salaries currently range between $34,000 (25th percentile) to $48,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $50,000 annually across the United States.

What is wholesaling short answer? ›

Wholesale is the activity of buying and selling goods in large quantities and therefore at cheaper prices, usually to shopkeepers who then sell them to the public. Compare retail.

What are five functions of a wholesaler? ›

The Wholesaler/middleman is a merchant who buys goods in bulk from producers/manufacturers and sells them to the retailers. He buys the goods in bulk from the warehouses depots, puts the goods in his own warehouse, breake up the bulk, re-package where necessary, and sells the goods in smaller quantities to retailers.

What type of wholesaler is Amazon? ›

Is Amazon a Wholesaler? Amazon is not a wholesaler, it's an online retailer. The purpose of Amazon.com and most other retailers is to make a profit on the products they sell with a markup.

Where do wholesalers get their products? ›

A wholesale supplier acts as a middleman between manufacturers and sellers. Typically, a wholesaler doesn't sell directly to the end consumers. Instead, a wholesale license allows them to buy products in bulk from manufacturers at a discount and resell the products to business owners at a slight markup.

Who is considered a wholesaler? ›

A wholesaler is a person or company who sells products in bulk to various outlets or retailers for onward sale, either directly or through a middleman. Wholesalers are able to sell their products for a lower price as they are selling in bulk, which reduces the handling time and costs involved.

Who is called a wholesaler? ›

A wholesaler is a person whose business is buying large quantities of goods and selling them in smaller amounts, for example to shops.

What is the first step in wholesaling? ›

The first step to any wholesale deal involves researching and strategizing. Spend time educating yourself on the overall process so you know what to expect before you start searching for properties.

How do you successfully wholesale? ›

How to Run A Successful WholeSale Business | Startups.com
  1. Be the GURU of your Cash Flow position daily. ...
  2. Know your Customer. ...
  3. Keep inventory super organized. ...
  4. Give your team what they need to succeed. ...
  5. Don't compete on price, compete on customer service. ...
  6. Speed up order fulfillment. ...
  7. Build long-term customers.

What are the steps to start wholesaling? ›

Here are a few simple steps to get started wholesaling:
  1. Research your local market before getting started.
  2. Curate a buyers list for your area.
  3. Secure a financing source that works best for you.
  4. Begin searching for potential wholesaling properties.
  5. Decide whether to sell the contract or work on a double closing.

Is Costco a true wholesaler? ›

Key Takeaways. Costco is a wholesale retailer selling discounted goods through membership warehouses and online.

Can anyone go to a wholesaler? ›

Usually, wholesale clients are businesses that supply their goods or services to end users, but anyone can buy from a wholesaler.

How to buy wholesale without a business? ›

6. How to Buy Wholesale Without a Business
  1. You have the option of purchasing as a reseller without having a Sales ID or EIN.
  2. The second option is to buy as a reseller with a Sales ID or EIN without having your business registered.
  3. The third and final option is to buy in bulk as a consumer, i.e., a third party.
Jan 11, 2022

Is being a wholesaler worth it? ›

Overall, wholesaling is a great strategy to quickly generate income in real estate, but it does require a significant amount of work. However, the income potential can totally be worth the effort required.

Do wholesalers make good money? ›

Wholesaling Is Lucrative

On average, real estate wholesalers can expect to make between $5,000-$10,000 in commission per property. Once you have a property, a contract, and an interested buyer, this process can move quickly and you can start your business.

Can you lose money wholesaling? ›

While wholesaling is one of the lowest-risk ways to get started, it still takes some money, and you can lose it if you're not serious. One of the most common ways this happens is when wholesalers don't follow up on their leads.

What is the 70% rule in wholesaling? ›

The 70% rule helps home flippers determine the maximum price they should pay for an investment property. Basically, they should spend no more than 70% of the home's after-repair value minus the costs of renovating the property.

Do you have to have money to start wholesaling? ›

While wholesaling real estate doesn't require a large amount of money, it does require that a wholesaler do the necessary property research, the networking to find the right investors, and the work to craft a financial deal that the investor will accept.

What is the best state for wholesaling? ›

Here Are the Best States for Wholesale Buyers In 2023:
  • Virginia. ...
  • Arkansas. ...
  • Nebraska. Total Wholesale Buyer Jobs: ...
  • South Carolina. Total Wholesale Buyer Jobs: ...
  • North Dakota. Total Wholesale Buyer Jobs: ...
  • Maine. Total Wholesale Buyer Jobs: ...
  • Arizona. Total Wholesale Buyer Jobs: ...
  • Texas. Total Wholesale Buyer Jobs:
Apr 6, 2021

What are the three great challenges in wholesaling? ›

Both manufacturers and customers have a troubling tendency to underestimate the three great challenges of wholesaling: Doing the job correctly (no errors) Doing the job effectively (maximum service) Doing the job efficiently (low costs)

How much is the wholesaling Academy? ›

How much does Wholesale Academy cost? Currently the course costs $1,997 for lifetime access. Alternatively you can pay four payments of $697.

What are the best wholesale? ›

Top 20+ online wholesale vendors/ suppliers
  • eBay.
  • Costco.
  • SaleHoo.
  • Worldwide Brands.
  • BrandsGateway.
  • Alibaba.
  • DHgate.
  • Inventory Source.
Jan 1, 2023

What is another name for a wholesaler? ›

What is another word for wholesaler?
82 more rows

What are the 6 main types of wholesale? ›

Types of Wholesalers
  • 1) Merchant Wholesalers :– ...
  • 2) General Wholesalers :- ...
  • 3) Speciality Wholesalers :- ...
  • 4) Specific Product Wholesalers :- ...
  • 5) Discount Wholesalers :– ...
  • 6) Drop Ship Wholesalers : -

Which three functions are most typical of a wholesaler? ›

A. Typical wholesaler functions include providing local distribution, a trained sales force, marketing and research assistance, assortments for customers, large quantities, warehousing and delivery facilities, financing, financial recordkeeping, merchandise adjustments for returns, and risk-taking (for theft, etc.).

What are the 3 types of retailers? ›

Wholesalers: Purchase finished goods from the manufacturers and sell those goods to retailers in large bulk quantities. Retailers: Sell the goods in small quantities to the end-user at a higher price, theoretically at the manufacturers suggested retail price. Consumers: Buy the goods from the retailer for personal use.

What is full service wholesaler? ›

a wholesaler offering a complete range of services including buying, selling, storage, transporting, sorting, financing, providing market feedback and risk-taking; also called a Full-Function Wholesaler.

Is Costco a wholesaler or retailer? ›

Costco Wholesale is a multi-billion dollar global retailer with warehouse club operations in eight countries.

What are good wholesalers? ›

Top 20+ online wholesale vendors/ suppliers
  • eBay.
  • Costco.
  • SaleHoo.
  • Worldwide Brands.
  • BrandsGateway.
  • Alibaba.
  • DHgate.
  • Inventory Source.
Dec 1, 2022

What is wholesaler short answer? ›

A wholesaler is a person whose business is buying large quantities of goods and selling them in smaller amounts, for example to shops. [business]

What are challenges of wholesaling? ›

5 Current Challenges in Wholesaling.
  • Margin Pressures. The rise of online selling and the ability for end users to shop around for the best price means that wholesalers have seen real margin pressures on the items they sell. ...
  • Buying Groups. End users have become wiser. ...
  • Customization.
Oct 26, 2021

What are the strategies of wholesaler? ›

Here are 13 types of wholesale marketing strategies to consider:
  • Referral incentives. ...
  • Attend trade shows. ...
  • Add your company to industrial directories. ...
  • Develop a social media presence. ...
  • Set up a website. ...
  • Add merchandise to customer outlets. ...
  • Visit companies in person. ...
  • Use email communication.
Apr 25, 2022

How many types of wholesale are there? ›

The three types of wholesalers are 1) merchant wholesalers; 2) agents, brokers, and commission merchants; and 3) manufacturers' sales branches and offices.

What type of retailer is Walmart? ›

Walmart Inc (Walmart) is a retailer that operates grocery stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, department and discount stores, and neighborhood markets.

What are the 4 stages of retailing? ›

Marketing dictionary

A theory of retail competition that states that retailing institutions, like the products they distribute, pass through an identifiable cycle. This cycle can be partitioned into four distinct stages: (1) innovation, (2) accelerated development, (3) maturity, and (4) decline.


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