It’s time to learn how to find wholesale suppliers for your Amazon FBA reselling business.
So you put in the effort to find a good niche. Then, you found some great branded listings in that niche. You may even have some ideas of wholesale suppliers for Amazon you need to contact. Great!
But there’s a problem.
And that problem, of course, is finding who you need to contact. On top of that, you’re probably thinking, “What do I need to say? How can I convince such a massive brand to work with me?”
Fear not. Today we’re going to dive into exactly how I source my wholesale brands, and how you can find wholesale suppliers too.
And, of course, we’ll go into a few alternative strategies if you can’t get a direct account. Because sometimes great ASINs are too great to pass up.
Clearing Out Risky Brands and Suppliers
We’re going to start here with a bit of a prologue to brand sourcing.
To keep your account safe – I’m going to recommend you do two things.
Wholesale isn’t like RA – when done right, you’re not risking your account over invoices. With the right connections, you’re doing everything an Amazon seller should do.
So it’s important that you take a few precautions before you get started to avoid any issues down the line.
Check the Seller
Before sourcing a brand – I want you to go back to that sourcing step real quick and check a few of the top-selling ASINs from that brand. You can do this anytime by clicking the brand name on a listing. Likely, their top sellers will pop up first in their storefront.
I want you to remove the URL parameters like we talked about in the guide earlier, ending your URL with the trailing slash following the ASIN.
Now, who has the buy box on these items?
Is it more than one seller? Be sure to analyze the competition.
Is the seller name not the name of the brand?
These two questions are extremely important.
If there’s one seller on all the listings, the brand is likely in one of two scenarios:
- The brand has negotiated an exclusivity agreement with another Amazon seller, or;
- The brand is already selling on the Amazon platform (either under their name or a different name)
If you answered yes to either of the above questions, skip the brand. It’s not worth the hassle down the line.
Choosing to open a wholesale account against the manufacturer’s wishes can get you in a heap of issues on Amazon, including invoice-based suspensions and product authenticity complaints from the brand owner.
Check the Brand’s Reputation
Now that we’ve got that step cleared up, we’re going to do one more check.
I want you to go here and check if the brand you’re looking at is on this list.
This is a popular list of Amazon’s gated brands, and brands known for inauthenticity complaints.
Once again, if you’re new, and your brand is on this list, skip it for now.
Unless you have gotten express permission from one of these brands to sell on Amazon, you’re likely to get your account in some trouble if you list in any of these categories.
Larger accounts have some leeway in terms of this, and may have distribution connections or direct brand connections allowing them to list in these brands and categories. As a newbie, however, you’re opening yourself up to a large degree of risk too early on for this, so we’re going to skip these for now.
Beginning the Onboarding Process
I like to think about onboarding new wholesale brands like a sales process, because it basically is.
Your job now is to convince the wholesale brand that you’re worth working with.
Can you bring volume?
Expertise in the eCommerce field?
A new marketplace, brick-and-mortar store or eCommerce storefront off of Amazon?
Help on listing optimization, PPC management, or general analytics?
You may not need answers to these questions if it’s a low-threshold brand, but chances are, on a lot of these brands, you’re going to need to sell yourself.
And the ones you need to sell yourself on?
They’re the most profitable, by far.
Because most Amazon sellers are not willing to sell themselves to land one brand.
They just move onto the next.
But we’re trying to build a sustainable business. One where we replenish orders from the same vendors, over and over again.
And the only way to do this is establish real, authentic trade relationships.
If you find yourself running into this issue a lot, setup a basic WordPress site or one-page lander explaining why you’re the preferred vendor to work with.
Find some area you can sell yourself in – it’ll pay itself back in volumes over time.
Locating the Brand
Now it’s time to locate the brand.
For larger brands, this is going to be fairly easy. I’m going to go with a larger brand as an example here, and just for the sake of continuity with our other guides, I’m going to go with Greenies Pet Treats.
So I’m going to go ahead and google Greenies here. Since they’re a relatively large company, they pop up immediately.
And from here, I’ll just go on their site’s contact tab. From there, I have a phone number.
Alternatively, I could fill out the contact form and ask about a potential partnership, but I really prefer to get in direct contact with a sales rep. It helps me understand their goals as a brand and also expedite the approval (or denial) process.
Some brands, however, will not be as easy to find. And these are generally the ones I find the most profit on.
Here’s a few methods I like to use for finding those.
The “Buy It and Find It” Method
This method is pretty self-descriptive. Try purchasing the item on Amazon.
It likely will have some form of phone number or contact information somewhere on the product.
The UPC Method
This is for brands that really are complex to find.
First, you’ll want to go on a ASIN to UPC conversion site. Luckily, Sellonaut has just a tool for that.
Then, you’ll want to go to a UPC database. I like to use UPCItemDB.
You’ll then look up the UPC on this site. At the bottom, you’ll see how it’s related in the GS1 database.
GS1 is the official company that registers UPCs and UPC prefixes – so most large companies in retail will have some (or many) UPC prefixes.
Alternatively, GS1 also has their own database searching product called GS1 Data Hub.
If you’re large enough and doing bulk searches, this may be a good idea to pick up to accelerate your processing.
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find the address of the company that produces it. You can then google this address and find a phone number, either in Google or another business directory like Yelp.
Now – this method is not always foolproof.
Sometimes, you’ll run into an Amazon seller who used their own UPC to list the product years ago.
If this is true, you’ll want to do a title search on UPCItemDB for other items from the brand.
Keep going and searching until you run into an address that looks to be the correct brand owner, and then go ahead and call.
This method has helped me source some of the hardest-to-find items – and most of the time, those yield me the best profit. I hope you can put this method to work in your own sourcing and find some winners!
The “No Alternatives” Method
If you’ve tried and tried the two above, and can’t secure an account – you can always go through a distributor.
Getting an account with a distributor is the same as the above, but there’s often two key differences:
- They’re more likely to offer you an account, but
- They’re often more costly on a per-unit and shipping basis
If you absolutely need to have this SKU in your store – it’s probably worth calling up a few distributors and seeing if you can make something happen. Oftentimes, they should be relatively easy to open accounts with, and may be able to introduce you to a few more high-performing brands.
Getting in Contact
Now that we’ve got some contact info, it’s time to get in contact with the brand.
Getting on the Phone
Trust me here – you want to get on the phone.
I know, I know – I hate being on the phone. I just feel like I’m terrible on the spot.
Truth be told, that’s what my business partner does (and it’s why I recommend having a partner with you for FBA – splitting tasks is awesome!). But you’ll need someone that’s confident and comfortable doing so if you want to get anywhere with FBA wholesale.
Once you’re on the phone, you’ll likely get transferred to a sales rep for your area. You’ll want to explain that you’re interested in opening a wholesale account.
Handling the Sales Rep Call
Really sell yourself here – a lot of these calls are difficult and the success rate is pretty low.
The more you sell yourself, and the more you can provide, the better of a chance you have landing the wholesale account. A few ways you can boost your success rates are:
- Offer some form of service (as we talked about above)
- Have a website (having an eCommerce website that’s nice, and in the niche? an even bigger plus)
- Have a business address (not a PO box, not your house)
- Own or lease a warehouse (this shows you can bring volume – ideally, your own warehouse, not a shared one)
- Have a brick-and-mortar retail business (this is a way to pretty much guarantee all accounts)
Out of those five ways, by far, having a brick-and-mortar retail business and/or being able to bring massive amounts of volume increase your chance of success the most.
Put Yourself in the Brand’s Shoes
Try to put yourself in the shoes of the sales rep – what are you, as the prospect, bringing to help the brand?
If they’ve already got a lot of FBA coverage, what are you bringing them to incentivize them to sell to you?
Most wholesale suppliers and brands now understand the concept of split sales in the buy box. They realize that bringing on another seller at the same price will just dilute the sales pool.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to bring massive volume or have a brick-and-mortar.
Just keep these things in mind for the future as you expand and grow, and of course, keep selling yourself!
Despite the low success rate, you’re going to get into brands if you call enough.
And you only need to find a few suppliers to get moving.
That’s it for the guide on contacting brands! Next, we’ll talk about how to analyze a product list. See you soon and happy sourcing!
And, of course, if you want to automate your wholesale purchase orders – check out Sellonaut for 14 days free today.