How to Choose the Right Wholesale Products
Have you found that there’s a LOT more that goes into running a successful business than you might have initially expected?
I mean, think about it. You’ve got to run your store, manage employees, maintain your website, fulfill online orders, keep up a presence on social media, communicate with customers, deal with any problems that might arise, keep track of your finances… and, of course, keep great inventory in stock that’s in season and keeps up with the ever-changing trends!
Choosing the right products isn’t just a one-and-done task – it’s an ongoing question you’ve got to continually work on. Sure, when you’re opening your shop for the first time, you’ve mainly got to focus on curating just one small collection of quality products… but as you run out of stock, you have to continually replenish your inventory. And not just with the same products – with fresh, new products that suit your brand, go with the current trends, and feel appropriate for the season, so your customers keep coming back trusting that you’ll have new, exciting products for them to purchase.
Frankly, that’s a whole lot easier said than done! Big retail companies hire entire teams to spot trends, source new products, and manage inventory. But while scaling to a larger enterprise might be in the cards for you someday… for now, it’s probably just you making all those big decisions. And that can be really intimidating.
We first started Supplied because we realized there was an overwhelming number of women who knew they wanted to start their own retail store but struggled to figure out what to sell and how to source great products. And honestly, we felt for them! So many wholesale companies require high minimum order quantities, charge restrictive prices, and offer questionable quality – all of which all but shuts small business owners out of the retail business.
Fortunately, nowadays it’s easier than ever to find on-trend wholesale boutique items. (We’ve made sure of that!) Whether you’re just about to open the doors of your brick-and-mortar for the first time, you’ve been operating an online shop for a few months now and it’s time to restock, or you’ve been in business for a long time and want to refresh your offerings, the right products are out there – you’ve just got to know where to find them and how to choose them.
Of course, no one can tell you what the right products are – that’s for you to decide, armed with your understanding of current trends and what your customers are looking for! You’ve got to figure out who your customers are, what they like, what they don’t like, what they’re most likely to spend money on, and why they visit your shop.
Choosing the Right Products: 10+ Questions to Ask
While we can’t quite curate your entire shop for you (sorry!), we can offer you some guidance and help you determine HOW to choose the right products! Get out a piece of paper and get ready to think carefully about your answers – here’s a list of questions to ask yourself before placing your next inventory order:
Who is my target customer?
Shopping for yourself is usually pretty easy. You know your size, your sense of style, all the other pieces you have hanging up in your closet, what the weather’s like where you live, your budget, the sort of items you’re willing to splurge on, what you could use more of, what you can never get enough of, etc.
But when you’re looking for products for your boutique, you’re not shopping for you – you’re shopping for your customers. And if your target customer is a vague, formless shell of a person… well, it can be really hard to know whether you should stock the hoop earrings or the studs. So if you haven’t already, take some time to really get to know your ideal customer – everything from how old she is to how many kids she has to where she lives to who her style icons are. If you’ve been in business for a while now, you can send out surveys or conduct interviews to get to know your existing customers better. If you’re just about to get started, you can use your imagination to dream up a customer avatar, then shop with a clear picture of her in mind.
What are my target customer’s needs, desires, and struggles?
Now that you know the details about your target customer, it’s time to go a little deeper into her emotional side. What does your customer really need? What does she want most? What does she struggle with? Remember, the most successful businesses address a need and make life easier for their customers. While your customer’s most pressing need may not be affordable jewelry, you could use affordable jewelry to address a genuine need – like a need for self-expression, feeling part of a community, or treating herself in a way she can afford.
What are my target customer’s spending habits?
Think about what else your target customer spends money on. Does she spend $10 or $100 on a T-shirt? Does she prefer to invest in high-quality jewelry that lasts years, or does she have dozens of affordable earrings she likes to wear? Is she comfortable spending money on herself or does she primarily shop for other people? Is price the main thing she considers when making a buying decision? This will help you figure out the price points of products you carry in your store.
Where else does my target customer like to shop/hang out?
When your target customer isn’t shopping with you, where is she spending her money? Consider other shops she enjoys that are similar to yours as well as shops that might fall into different categories entirely. Again, you can brainstorm about this on your own or ask your customers directly about other brands they enjoy. This can give you insight into what sort of products they are likely to buy as well as brands they’re loyal to.
What items are trendy right now?
Pay attention to colors, styles, and items that seem to be popular – that may be evidence of what you can capitalize on! Keep an eye on runways, celebrities, and social media (especially Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram) to stay up to date. (You may also want to consider how much your target customer keeps up with current trends, or where they go for style inspiration.)
What are my competitors doing?
You want to put together a unique curation of products… but at the same time, it doesn’t hurt to keep a close eye on what your competitors are focusing on, whether you follow their lead or zig when they zag. Look at what sort of products they’re selling and how they are received.
How much can I afford to spend?
Your customers’ wallets aren’t the only ones you’ll need to worry about. You’ve also got to be realistic about your budget for new inventory. Do you have enough capital to invest in higher-value products upfront, or do you only have the resources to focus on lower-cost pieces? Are you planning on purchasing a high volume of just a select few items, or minimizing risk by featuring a wide variety of limited-stock items? While you’re in this to serve your customers, you’ll be able to serve them best if you make a sustainable profit – be sure to stay on top of your own finances!
What items have sold well in the past?
Whenever your customers make a purchase, they’re giving you valuable insight into what they like most. Think of categories of items that have sold well in the past and consider focusing on those to see if you can repeat the same success. (You may even want to consider reordering a few of the exact same items if demand for them hasn’t let up!)
When will these products arrive? When will I start to sell them? When will my customers use them?
When it comes to retail, timing is crucial. Not everything comes with next-day shipping – managing your inventory requires careful planning. When planning out your next collection, consider the shipping and lead time for your wholesale boutique items, how long you want to sell them for, and around when your customers will want to start using them. For example, let’s say it takes 3 weeks to receive a shipment from your supplier, it takes you another two weeks to list and launch those products for sale, and it takes a week for you to get those products to your customers. That means if you’re planning on having a Halloween-themed collection, the time to start choosing products for it isn’t October – it’s early September!
Where will I be purchasing these products from?
Even if they seem to have similar products, not all suppliers are created equal. They differ in the prices they charge, the quality of products they offer, the variety of products they offer, additional fees charged, minimum order quantity requirements, customer service offered, satisfaction guarantees, and more. When you’re ordering products for your online store, there’s a lot more to consider than just the photo of the product itself – you’ve also got to make sure the seller is reputable, with fair prices that yield good margins, buyer protection policies, good reviews, and genuinely high-quality products. (Go with a sleazy wholesaler and you may never even receive your products in the first place!)
What sort of wholesale products are available to me?
Your supplier isn’t necessarily going to offer a version of every cute product you see a picture of on Pinterest. If you’re planning on going with a business model where you buy wholesale and sell retail, you’ll be somewhat limited to the wholesale boutique items you can source. Before you place your next inventory order, shop around and see what’s out there – you may find product ideas that weren’t even on your radar! (Supplied features 250,000+ wholesale boutique items from 10,000 factories – trust us, you’ll have tons of amazing options!
Where to Buy Wholesale Boutique Items Online
When it comes to buying wholesale boutique items online, you have lots of options… but they may not all yield the same high-quality products.
We started Supplied specifically to make it easier to answer the question, “How do I choose the right products?”
Here at Supplied, we source the very best and trendiest products from over 10,000 factories worldwide to provide you plenty of unique options for stocking your store. Rather than marking our prices up as a wholesale middleman, we pass savings directly onto you by allowing you to purchase pieces directly from factories, so you enjoy lower prices and better margins.
We offer over 250,000 wholesale boutique items that span many categories, including clothing, jewelry, accessories, home decor, bed and bath products, children’s items, office supplies, and so much more. Shop by category or collection to find products that suit your niche and goals, or shop by bestsellers to see what products are most popular among other Supplied business owners and their customers.
With no minimum order quantities, free shipping on orders of $150+, great customer service, and 100% satisfaction guaranteed, you can place an inventory order risk-free.
Ready to get started? Start finding the right products for your boutique at Supplied here.
Still not sure how to find the right products? Join the Supplied Family Facebook group to hear product reviews, unboxings, and sales tips from fellow business owners like you!