Defining the Players in the Wholesale Business
When you buy merchandise wholesale to sell on eBay, a full team of players participate in the wholesale game. Each player performs a different task and can help you in different ways, as follows:
Manufacturers: Buying directly from a manufacturer may get you great prices, but it may not be the place for a beginner to start. Manufacturers usually require large minimum orders from retailers. Unless you have a group of other sellers (perhaps a friend who owns a retail store?) to split your order with, you may have to make your purchase from a middleman.
An exception to the large-quantity requirement may be in the apparel industry. Because apparel has distinct, rapidly changing fashion seasons, a quick turnover in merchandise is a must. Apparel manufacturers may allow you to make small purchases toward the end of the season to outfit your eBay Store. It never hurts to ask.
Wholesalers: Here’s your first step to finding your middleman. Wholesalers purchase direct from the manufacturer in large quantities. They sell the merchandise to smaller retailers who can’t take advantage of the discounts from manufacturers for large orders.
Find a wholesaler who is familiar with (or better yet, specializes in) the type of merchandise you want to sell. Obviously, someone who specializes in prerecorded DVDs and videos won't have a clue about the fashion market — and vice versa.
Manufacturer’s reps: These are generally the type of people you’ll meet at trade shows or marts. They represent one or many noncompeting manufacturers and sell their merchandise to retailers for a commission.
Jobbers or brokers: These independent businesspeople buy merchandise anywhere they can at distressed prices. They deal mostly in liquidation or salvage merchandise.
Don’t forget to negotiate. Almost everything in the wholesale merchandise world is negotiable. Although merchandise may have a set price, you may be able to get a discount if you offer to pay on delivery or within ten days. Ask whether they can help you out with shipping costs and perhaps promotions. They just may give you a discount if you promote their product through banner ads. Ask, ask, ask. The worst they can say is no.