How to Source a Product: Beginners Guide

Learn everything you need to know about sourcing products for your business. From finding the right supplier to negotiating the best price, we've got you covered.

How to Source a Product: Beginners Guide

Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of sourcing a product? Does it seem like an impossible task with no end in sight? Well, fear not! This beginner's guide will show you all the steps necessary to confidently source a superb product that meets your needs without breaking the bank. We'll give you tips and advice on understanding contracts, budgeting costs, communication techniques, and more - so that by the end of this post, you'll be ready to find just what you're looking for!

What Is Product Sourcing?

Product sourcing is the process of finding and acquiring goods for resale. This can include finding manufacturers, distributors, or other vendors to provide the products a business needs. Product sourcing can also involve finding high-quality products that are not readily available from typical suppliers.

There are several different strategies businesses can use to find sources for products. Some standard methods include online research, attending trade shows, and networking with other business owners. Once a supplier is found, it's essential to carefully vet them to ensure they meet the company's quality and shipping requirements.

Related: Everything to Know About Product Sourcing on Wish

How to Choose Products to Source

Choosing the right products for the source can be a daunting task. There are so many options out there and guidelines that need to be followed to find success. Here are some tips on how you can choose the right products for your store: 

1. Research Your Competition: It is essential to research what your competitors are selling to determine which products work best in your store. Take note of the prices, quality, shipping times, and other factors that could influence customer satisfaction. 

2. Consider Product Quality: You want to make sure that whatever product you choose is going to have good quality standards and materials used during production. Be sure to read reviews from customers who have already purchased similar items. 

3. Examine Shipping Times: Make sure to research the shipping times of each product you are considering Sourcing. This will help customers get their items promptly and avoid frustrations with long wait times or delayed shipments.

4. Figure Out Your Niche: Finding your niche is essential when choosing products for your store. You need to consider what type of customer you have and which items they would most likely purchase from you. 

5. Understand Your Target Audience: Knowing who your target audience is can make all the difference when selecting products for your store. Consider the age group, gender, lifestyle, budget, and interests of those buying from you.

Related: Finding the Best Products for Amazon Arbitrage

Where To Find Products To Source

Once you've determined which products to source for your store, it's time to start thinking about where you can find them. There are various options for sourcing your products, including online retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. Consider the pros and cons of each option before making a decision. 

Online Retailers

Buying directly from an online retailer is often a great option because they usually offer competitive prices and convenient shipping times. However, there may be fewer product selection or customization options compared to other sources. 


Wholesalers are another popular choice for sourcing products for businesses. They typically offer lower prices and can provide customization options, but you may have to purchase in bulk. 


Many businesses choose to source products directly from manufacturers because it allows them to customize their product selection and control the quality of the items they sell. However, this option can be more expensive, and shipping times may take longer. 

Once you've decided on a sourcing option for your store, you'll want to research each supplier before making a purchase. Be sure to read reviews from previous customers to know their experience when working with the company. It would help if you also considered pricing, shipping times, customer service, and returns policies when selecting a supplier for your business.

Related: 7 Tips On How To Buy Wholesale To Resell On Amazon

Steps To Successful Product Sourcing

There are different steps in the product sourcing strategy, and these steps are as follows- 

Choose the supplier

Make sure to research each supplier and read reviews from previous customers before making a purchase. Consider pricing, shipping times, customer service, and returns policies when selecting a supplier for your business. 

Negotiate with the supplier

Negotiating with who you're buying from can help ensure you get the best possible deal. Make sure to have clear expectations on both sides before signing any agreements.

Finalize Terms

Once all negotiations are complete, it's time to finalize terms and sign a contract. This will provide legal protection for both parties involved in the transaction and ensure everyone is held accountable for their obligations.

Calculate how long the products take to reach the warehouse

 Knowing how long it will take for the products to achieve your warehouse is essential so you can plan accordingly. The supplier should provide this information before any purchase is made.

Review inventory levels

Once your products arrive, make sure to review inventory levels regularly to ensure that there are no shortages or overages. 

Place Your Order

 The last step is to place your order with the supplier and pay any associated fees or deposits required. After that, you must wait for the shipment to arrive and start selling your product! Sourcing products for your store can be a manageable task. With these tips, you can ensure you're selecting the right items for your business and getting the best deal possible from the suppliers you choose.

Benefits of Multiple Product Sourcing

Using multiple suppliers can provide a variety of benefits for your business. Here are some of the advantages of Sourcing from various sources: 

Flexibility and Availability: Having more than one supplier ensures you always have access to the products you need if one supplier is out of stock. This provides peace of mind knowing that a backup option is always available. 

Price Competition: Having multiple suppliers gives you greater bargaining power when pricing, as each supplier will compete for your business. This allows you to get better value without sacrificing quality. 

More Options: With multiple suppliers, you have a more comprehensive range of options regarding product selection and customization. This gives you greater control over your business's products and allows you to better cater to customer needs.

Related: Why Expanding Your Product Range is a Smart Move for Businesses

Tips for Maintaining a Good Supplier Relationship

A good relationship with your suppliers has trust and reliability in it. A good supplier-business relationship automates your supply chain and helps maintain good quality product flow for your inventory. Here are some tips to improve supplier relationships with the business. 

1. Be Respectful: It's important to remember that both you and the supplier are in business together, so make sure to treat them with respect. 

2. Communicate regularly: Keep lines of communication open by staying in touch with your supplier regularly. This will help ensure that any issues can be addressed quickly and efficiently. 

3. Pay Invoices on Time: Pay invoices on time, showing your supplier that you're reliable and trustworthy. Late payments can damage relationships and lead suppliers to look elsewhere for future business opportunities. 

4. Negotiate Terms: When negotiating terms, it's essential to remain flexible while ensuring that your business's needs are met. This will help maintain a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the supplier. 

5. Provide Feedback: Feedback to your suppliers is essential as it allows them to see what areas need improvement or attention. Make sure to provide constructive criticism so that the supplier can make any necessary changes to meet your expectations.

Product Sourcing FAQs

What are the different types of product sourcing?

There are three types of product sourcing:

1. Direct Sourcing

2. Indirect Sourcing

3. Private Labeling

Direct Sourcing is finding a manufacturer or supplier to produce your product for you. You will work directly with the supplier to create your product according to your specifications. 

Indirect Sourcing is finding a mediator or distributor to help you find a supplier to produce your product. The middleman usually has pre-existing relationships with manufacturers and suppliers and can help you get a better price on your product. 

Private Labeling is finding a manufacturer or supplier to produce a private label version of their existing products. This means you can use their current product but brand it and package it as your own. Private label products are usually cheaper than if you were to produce identical products from scratch.

What are some common product sourcing mistakes?

1. Not considering all costs involved in obtaining products. This can include the cost of acquiring a supplier, shipping and handling charges, customs duties, and taxes.

2. Failing to research potential suppliers thoroughly. This can lead to problems such as poor product quality, late deliveries, or even fraud.

3. Not having a clear plan for managing inventory. It can be challenging to know when to order more products without adequate stock control procedures, which can lead to missed sales opportunities and excess inventory storage costs.

What are some product sourcing tools?

Alibaba, ThomasNet, and EC21 are all popular product-sourcing tools.

Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce company that is the world's largest online B2B trading platform. It has over 360 million active users and offers products and services in over 200 countries and regions.

ThomasNet has been an American business-to-business (B2B) supplier search engine since 1912. It offers a database of over 1.5 million industrial suppliers.

EC21 is a global B2B marketplace with over 21 million registered buyers and 3 million products available for sale. It promotes cross-border trade between buyers and suppliers from around the world.

How do I know if a product-sourcing partner is reputable?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the reputability of a sourcing partner will depend on a variety of factors, including the products they supply, the quality of those products, and the level of customer service and support they offer.

That said, there are a few things you can do to help assess the reputation of a potential sourcing partner:

1. Do your research - Look online for reviews from other customers, or contact them directly to get feedback on the quality of the products and services the supplier offers.

2. Request references - Ask for contact information for other businesses that have previously worked with this supplier. Contact them directly to inquire about their experiences.

3. Check legal and financial records - Make sure the supplier is in good standing with their local government, and review their economic history to make sure they are financially sound.

4. Visit the factory or warehouse - If possible, visit the supplier's facility in person to get a firsthand look at its operations and capabilities. This can help you gauge how well-run the company is and give you an idea of its capacity for product delivery.

Related: How To Sell Wholesale On Amazon?


Whether you're looking to source a product for your personal use or for your business, following these steps will put you on the right path. Always keep an eye out for scams, and if you're ever in doubt about a seller, walk away. Once you find a reputable seller with good reviews, you can confidently receive the product you ordered as described. And finally, if order fulfillment is proving too difficult or time-consuming for your eCommerce business, contact Simpl today. We would be happy to help take some of the burdens off your shoulders so that you can focus on other aspects of growing your business!

Recommended: How To Buy Products From Alibaba Without Getting Scammed?

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