One of the questions eSources members ask frequently is 'how do I find the distributor of brand X?', 'I have seen a competitior selling brand Y, how do I know who distributes it?'.

Finding real wholesalers on your own is possible! The first instinct is to try sourcing through search engines, which is not an impossible task, however be aware that most real wholesalers do not appear and certainly do not advertise on search engines. Search engines are filled with middlemen and cheap wholesale information. Large wholesalers are mainly interested in supplying large retailers. This is because handling one large account is cheaper than managing many smaller accounts with the same aggregate buying volume.

Wholesalers operate on very thin margins; adding administrative costs by adding many small accounts to their buyers portfolio is not generally something they consider profitable. This is just the way wholesalers think, so you should be aware of this point, it is very important if you are to make progress with them and do business with them.

So in summary, don't expect wholesalers to come after you. You will have to go after them to get their attention, and there are ways you can do so and get their response (if you are subscribed to the eSources members newsletter you will probably already know how).

So how do you go about finding the distributor of product X in your country? It is quite simple actually, and involves only 1 call. That is when you know the manufacturer of the product (the manufacturer is not always so obvious, brand names do not always correspond to manufacturer names).

You can normally find out the manufacturer's name by buying the product and reviewing its stickers or manual. Either one has to include the details of the manufacturer or importer (by law). Take down the manufacturer's name and find their phone number. Call them and ask to speak to their sales department. Finally explain them you are a retailer, and that you would like the details of their main distributor or wholesaler. You might be confronted by a voice mail, and have to wait a couple of days for a reply, or have to chase a response. Don't despair, the sales department should get back to you with the information you have requested.

Please be aware manufacturers can only rarely provide details of liquidators of their products. If you resell in a very price sensitive marketplace, it pays to ask the wholesaler whether they can provide you with the details of the liquidators that work with them. Liquidators generally have higher order requirements, but can offer you a much lower price than a wholesaler (because the item they are clearing was purchased from the manufacturer or importer at or below cost).

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