If you’re thinking of starting your own retail or e-commerce business, sourcing products can be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. There are so many options out there, and it’s easy to overlook some of the best ones. Many buyers choose to purchase pallets of merchandise to simplify things.
The most obvious way to stock your virtual shelves or warehouses is to purchase pallets of brand new goods. Let’s go over a few of the choices you have here.
Some entrepreneurs buy their merchandise directly from a manufacturer. This option has only recently become a possibility for small businesses. In the past, you required a middle man unless you could move vast quantities of product quickly. Today, it’s possible to purchase pallets of factory direct merchandise, all through the internet. The one largest drawback to this option is that you’ll likely need to purchase a large quantity in order to get the best discount – and have the space to store it. If you’re only buying a pallet or two, you may not get enough of a discount to make a profit.
Another option that some business owners like is to have private label products branded in your company’s name. White label products are manufactured in mass quantities but then offered to many different sellers to add their own branding. So a bottle of lotion or a phone charger, for instance, is made in bulk and then sold to a dozen different sellers, each of whom adds their own branding and labeling on the outside. The product itself is exactly the same, but it may be called by many different brand names. What you may think of as store brands are actually private label or white-label goods. Of course, branding your own goods can be a costly and complex process for a beginner, and consumers might not trust a brand name they don’t know.
If factory direct isn’t a great option for your business, and private label is too complex and expensive, you could instead purchase from a distributor. Think of distributors as go-betweens who purchase the huge quantities required by manufacturers, then sell at a mark-up to retailers. While you won’t get nearly as good a deal as the best factory-direct discounts, you also won’t have to place such a large order. Distributors are one of the most common product sourcing options for small businesses because they tend to carry a wide variety of products from a single category, and they will often sell in reasonable quantities for businesses that only have a single store or a small warehouse.
Finally, you could purchase pallets of overstock merchandise from other retailers. This may be the best option for getting a large quantity of brand new goods at a steep discount. When your favorite big retailers purchase too much of a specific product, they often sell off their overstock through liquidation auctions. Resellers can then purchase pallets or even truckloads full of brand new goods for a fraction of the wholesale price.
Many retailers and e-commerce companies never look beyond new merchandise, but there’s another option that offers some pretty amazing opportunities. When big brands have products returned, they often don’t want the hassle or cost of reprocessing these goods, inspecting them for damage and ensuring they’re still in new condition. Instead, they’re liquidated.
Purchasing liquidation auctions full of customer returned goods is not without risk. Some of the goods may or may not be in perfect condition, and others could be salvage condition. If you choose to go this route, it’s vital to purchase from a reputable partner such as B-Stock that allows resellers to purchase directly from the largest retailers and brands (including nine of the top 10 U.S. retailers). Make sure you do your homework and carefully read all auction details before entering a bid. These goods are often sold at such a small fraction of the retail price that you can make a great profit by assuming a small amount of risk– reaping huge rewards!
No matter how you choose to stock your shelves, it’s important to do your research first, ensuring you’re only dealing with reputable suppliers. If you’re leaning toward the liquidation auctions route, be sure to check out some of our liquidation buyer resources first.