E-commerce is the future of shopping, and the ongoing pandemic has given a push for many businesses to set up their store online for their management. Many platforms are available online to host a store or for people to build their store from scratch. Once people set up their store and their transition is through online mode, we buy their products and wait for their arrival. The merchant promises us time, but we do not know where the product’s origin is from, how it is shipped to us, or which corner of the world its origin is. We browse through the internet and place an order, and it is the merchant’s responsibility to send us the product. Supply and demand are a never-ending equation that fulfills each other, and here, we would like to introduce you to different types of suppliers and their cycle of distribution. This is a helpful guide for people who have recently set up their business online or are looking for an additional source of supply. 

Who is a Supplier?

A Supplier is a person or entity who provides the products/services required to another entity. The responsibility of a supplier is to act as an intermediate between the Manufacturer and Retailer. The Supplier must ensure the product’s high quality and sufficient stock for a timeline. The Supplier’s job is very demanding as the retailers expect stores of high quality, and the Manufacturer. Manufacturer needs the supply to sell. The essential attributes for a supplier are the following for the smooth running of delivery.

  • Local laws knowledge– A supplier must be aware of the source of their manufacturing and the materials used in case of any illegal activities. 
  • Equal Opportunities- A supplier must provide their services to all the retailers if they possess those products and accept them based on demographics and location. 
  • Pricing – Money is the main denominator for all businesses. The best price is based on the quality assessment of a product; once there is fair pricing set for the shipping, the process builds trust amongst them.

Types of Suppliers in the Industry

Manufacturers and Vendors

They are the source of the supply chain. The research, develop and customize the product you need as well. The wholesalers and Distributors wait for the vendors for their effects on a long wait, but their efficiency is worth the wait. Directly sourcing it from the manufacturer reduces cost and time. Some examples of manufacturing are shoemakers, the automotive industry, clothes, etc. Logging and mining acts won’t be considered the same as they don’t produce new products but rather the raw materials.

Wholesalers and Distributors

These suppliers purchase products in bulk and sell them in smaller quantities to retailers and businesses. The wholesaler is to buy them more than usual as we often have these discounts in markets as a wholesaler. The distributors are similar, but these products are sold out soon, but the wait time is short. Some examples can be Super Markets, Amazon, Ali Baba, etc., where they buy bulk products for promotions and discount prices.

Independent Suppliers/Independent Craftsmen

These suppliers create their products or materials and sell them through a representative or independently. These are the products with a lower volume of priority with handmade detailing and personalized touches.

Usually, when we hear about a new merchandise production about our favorite western artist, we aim for the location switch and calculate the dollar to rupee change. The process of sending these manufactured goods through suppliers from overseas is known as importing. Distributors and wholesalers get their international interests from importers as well, and when the stocks arrive in a vast volume, they do not have to incur costs on international borders. 

How to Choose Your Supplier for your Business?

Industries are vast, and every demand has supply management regardless of its niche. So one must decide on their niche to find quality material equipment for their business. The suppliers can include cleaning services, raw material sourcing, and even essential utility services. Here are many tips for you to consider while choosing a supplier. 

What kind of Supplier?

Supplier is anyone who has the sources you need and inventory. They can be wholesale categories or distributors. Decide the niche for your product to narrow down the choices. A manufacturer can produce your products according to your customisation. If you need a bulk purchase of already existing brands/products, you can contact wholesalers or distributors and dropshippers for supplying your existing products. 

Domestic vs. Overseas Suppliers

When you look for distributors or wholesale suppliers, you can choose from domestic and overseas for abroad locations. Both these methods have their advantages and disadvantages. 

Domestic Supplier Overseas Supplier
High quality products Low labour standards
No language barrier Language barrier
Faster shipping time Longer shipping time
Easy reach for product verifications Low manufacturer cost
Less product choice One stop services


Keeping supply chain locations local

Keeping supply chain locations local helps in the sustainability of the business and avoids risk in the industry. This could also help in a shorter span of waiting for time and productivity benefits of local marketing. Dealing with distant suppliers might increase the waiting time and include freight costs. 


Affordability is a crucial consideration when choosing suppliers. Competitively priced suppliers are the way to go as cheap does not always mean good business value, and it could result in replacement or returns. Hence, pricing must depend on the business we dabble in. 

Where Do We Look for Suppliers?

Anything you need is available on the web with a click of a mouse pointer, but we need directions to search on a limited basis. We can start by looking into these Online Supply Directories, which provide us with brands such as ThomasNet, MFG, Ali Baba, Indiamart, etc. Google needs specific search terms like a wholesaler, Distributor, Dropshipping, etc. Another way to search for suppliers is by searching for your products by their NAICS code. These codes can be found in your local library for industry-specific suppliers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Supplier and a Manufacturer?

Suppliers are the one who supplies products or goods from the ManufacturerManufacturer to the consumers, and ManufacturerManufacturer is the one who manufactures or creates the products.

How do you get your product manufactured?

First things first, always make sure that the idea of the product is well communicated to the Manufacturer. The next step is to ensure the picture is protected and then narrow down a manufacturer who can prototype it for you. This will give you an idea about its actual model production and help with the marketing strategy. 

What is Dropshipping? 

Dropshipping is the new excellent method to start your online business without having to invest loads of money and worrying about managing an inventory. The required supplier would handle all that for you. 

How do we find International Suppliers? 

There’s something in India called Expert Promotion Councils, which are people who essentially act as the third party link between Indian suppliers and foreign buyers. They are the ones who will help you negotiate the costs and product issues while communicating with them directly. 

How do we Manage payments from India to other countries?

All the banks in India are technologically advanced, and not many use  wire transfers at this rate. Investing in a platform that is more secure, reliable, and efficient is your best option when paying your Indian Supplier– or sending money to India, in general, would be a good suggestion or partnering with a payment source. 



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