I have to say I really like going to tradeshows as a way to get wholesale for Amazon going! I have been to a few small tradeshows but last month I attended the Big One, ASD in Las Vegas!
I am glad that I had already attended some smaller shows, and that I already had many wholesale suppliers for Amazon under my belt because I think that made it easier. Sometimes it’s a matter of confidence!
I attended the Las Vegas show with the following intentions:
- Start relationships with new suppliers
- Find new sources for my bundles
- Network with other sellers
- Attend seminars to learn something new
I am happy to say that all of that was accomplished!
*NOTE* If you cannot attend tradeshows, scroll to the bottom of this article to read about my other favorite way to get wholesalers for Amazon!
Getting Wholesalers for Amazon!
So now that I have attended a few tradeshows, both minor and now major, here are some things that I have learned along the way:
Attending the show in person is about building relationships. It’s not about scanning the products they have in the booth. They only bring a fraction of the products with them anyways! You want to get their online product list so you can use your tools to scan them and evaluate that way.
Building relationships with suppliers is very productive at the smaller shows. Find out if you have a smaller regional show that you can attend in your area, or something at least a reasonable drive even if you have to stay in a hotel overnight.
I have been attending these and there are some suppliers who know me on sight now. It’s a good feeling when they call you by name in the booth and are eager to show you their new ‘thing’.
You can benefit from the show without actually attending! Register for tradeshows both near and far even if you can’t go. You will still get their vendor list. There are literally thousands upon thousands of vendors out there! See more about this at the bottom of this post because the in person tradeshow is handled much different from working from a list and using email/phone calls.
If you are a Bundler use it to your advantage! Yes, Amazon bundlers do have an advantage with wholesalers. We can bring them more sales in some important ways. We can make their products more attractive with bundling. We can take a so so product and pair it with a hot product to increase sales. We can create a hot selling ‘A’ product using some of their ‘B’ products. Bundlers are the best thing a wholesaler can get, you just have to let them know! It’s also good for us as a bundler because we can take all those products that other sellers pass over because the prices are too low, margins too low, etc and we can create bundles with higher ASPs. If you are not bundling on Amazon you should be! Read more about this here.
Do some prep work ahead of time. Especially for the bigger shows! There is no way to talk to all of the vendors at some of these shows, you have to know who you want to visit in advance. Go through the vendor list and use any search features you can to narrow it down to the ones that are in your niche.
For Las Vegas ASD there were 2600 vendors! Even when I narrowed it down by my niches it was still too many. I had a VA help me by checking out the websites of those I wanted to see. She used my criteria I had given her to shortlist the vendors so that I knew I could focus on getting to those particular ones.
Decide ahead of time what you will or will not tell them about your selling platform. Some vendors flat out will not deal with Amazon sellers. Personally I would rather know that up front. I don’t want to waste time in a booth, maybe even get myself registered with them and evaluate products only to find out they won’t sell to me. Or even worse, find out after I have placed an order. For me personally, I tell them right up front that I don’t have a traditional store and that I am an e-commerce seller using multiple platforms to get the most eyes on their products. It seems to be well received.
Anticipate other questions as well. The most common question I get when I enter a booth is ‘What kind of business do you have?’. Don’t be evasive or say I’m an Amazon seller. That’s not what they mean anyways. That would be like saying I’m a brick & mortar store seller. What kind!? So think about how you want to portray yourself to potential suppliers. ‘I specialize in pet products’ or ‘I am a toy seller’. You may sell all kinds of other things too but it’s good to appear confident and if you have a main niche or even aspire to a certain niche, then use that!
Ask them questions about their products. When you meet a wholesale rep for the first time, don’t ask their terms right out of the gate. That negotiation comes later. Ask them to tell you about the products. (Even if you already know about them). You are building rapport and want to let them talk. Listen carefully and take notes if you are a note taker.
Getting Wholesalers for Amazon from a List
So for those that cannot attend an in person tradeshow, you can work from the vendor lists. In the case of ASD, there are thousands of vendors and you can use their search features to narrow down by category and search terms.
In a case like this, you are basically going to their site and looking for ‘Wholesale’ tab. It might say ‘Become a retailer’ or ‘Wholesale accounts’ or something to that affect. That section of the site will give you instructions. It might just be a name and a phone number, or it might even be an application and all you have to do is fill it out and submit. I have been approved this way for many accounts without ever speaking to a single person.
Get into a Wholesale Mastermind group. Most of the good ones are a monthly paid group. I was in one for awhile and it was ok, but eventually I left because I didn’t feel like I was getting any value. Now I am in Duncan MacPherson’s group and talk about value! Every day he posts a link to a new wholesaler who is Amazon friendly! In the other group I never got that! The core of the group are experienced sellers with wholesale experience, so you can ask questions and get advice on how to approach the vendors, things to ask, and so on.
In summary, I wish I had known sooner how easy it was to do wholesale for Amazon FBA. Don’t let your fears stand in the way of building a solid business. Everyone has to get that first wholesale account and once you get one, you can get a hundred and then a thousand!
Just get started!