With all of the information on the web today it’s very easy to find the manufacturer or distributor of any product. Most manufacturers have a website, and websites usually have Contact Us forms where you can send an email. The trick to being taken seriously is to write the proper type of email. You have to think, act and write like a business owner, which is what you are.
Say you are out shopping with your spouse and you come across a great product that you would like to sell online. You pick up the box and look. You will usually see the name of either the importer (who is usually also the distributor) or the manufacturer. Simply write down the URL of the website and look it up when you get home.
Now once you find the website, look for a link that says something like Wholesale Information, Resellers, or Associates. Basically, anything that indicates link to register as a wholesaler. If there is such a link, just click on it and a registration form will usually open. If not don’t see a Wholesale registration link, then use the Contact US link and write an email along these lines:
We are a small retailer located in Fox Borough MA. We saw your products on the web and would like to carry them.
Do you have a rep in the Greater Boston area, or may we order through you directly? Here is our business information:
5019 Allegany Blvd
Foxborough, MA 15139
Our MA Resale number is Z88-445566
Sally Smith – Owner
Don’t mention anything about eBay or Amazon. You are an online retailer, but you don’t have to disclose that unless they raise the issue. Just say you are a retailer, which is technically true.
You may get a return email saying a rep will contact you, or they may just set you up on the website for direct ordering. It can work either way. If you are contacted by a rep, that is the person you want to ask about selling on Amazon. If they say no, then you are not wasting your time of theirs. Meanwhile you end up with a product catalog and wholesale pricing which can be useful if you find a competitor who will deal with you.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, some suppliers will require you to have a brick and mortar store. I am working with one such supplier now. Here is an inexpensive way to solve that problem.
Many towns have what are called multi-dealer malls. These are places where you can rent a small booth or area usually about 50 to 100 square feet. That is what we did to comply with a recent deal I made on a beautiful line of European Beads. We have the showcase set up there and are actually getting sales -enough to easily cover the $100 a month rent.
Many of these malls are antique malls and will not allow new products, but that is OK because there are others that will. Just keep looking around. The mall doesn’t have to be in your town, as long as it’s not too far away.
In the mall we use, about ½ of the products are brand new merchandise. It’s a very eclectic place – a real mixture of goods, and it works out very well. They even have full time sales people so we don’t have to be there.
Sometimes you will find companies that just won’t let you sell online, or they may allow you to sell from a website, but not on Amazon (or eBay). When you run into that just keep looking for another product.