If you trade on eBay, or have been thinking about setting up your own online fashion store, you may be considering purchasing wholesale shoes. In addition to knowing where to find the footwear, there are a few points to bear in mind if you're thinking about buying and dealing in shoes.
How to Buy Wholesale Shoes
The first thing you'll find out when you go shopping for wholesalers is that this isn't the way to get yourself shoes at a low price. Wholesalers expect you to buy in bulk. The vast majority of wholesalers have a minimum order, which can start at a dozen pairs of the same shoe in different sizes, and which means you can end up with lots of leftover size 2s.
Shipping gets pricey, but the more shoes you order, the lower the shipping costs are across the board, a technique meant to keep you from trying to buy limited stock.
Working with the Wholesaler
Many wholesalers will also deal only with trade buyers. This means that you may have to prove that you are operating a business, rather than simply buying as an individual. Some wholesalers will ask to see receipts from other wholesale purchases while others will be content to see your tax number or certificate of registration.
Some shoe wholesalers are easier to build a relationship with than others. Generally, smaller operations are the easiest to strike up a working relationship with. If you're running a business on a small scale, however, it can take time for the wholesaler in question to agree to process large orders for you.
Where to Purchase Wholesale Footwear
There are a large number of shoe wholesalers to choose from, both online and at brick-and-mortar locations. If possible, try to find a good source of wholesale footwear in your local area to save money on shipping. With this approach, you'll also have the opportunity to get to know the proprietors on a more personal basis. This can help build trust for future orders.
Score.org suggests carefully reviewing your purchase agreement before doing business with a wholesale supplier so you understand any volume discounts, return policies, order processing times, minimum purchases, and any other terms.
Places to consider include:
- eBay has a busy wholesale section, with shoes, clothes, and accessories on offer. The advantage of buying your shoes from eBay is that there is no minimum order, and most sellers don't care whether you're registered as a business or not. The disadvantage, on the other hand, is that you will have less flexibility when placing your order.
- ShoeNet carries footwear for men, women, and children along with a range of accessories. Shipping is free within the United States and there are no license requirements necessary (although there is a minimum $250 purchase). Shoes are commonly sold in cases of 12 - 24 pairs per case (this varies with styles.) Shoes can also be purchased by container loads (up to 5,000 pairs), and containers are priced by a value times the number of pairs of shoes.
- Qupid Shoes is geared to those looking for the latest styles in fashion. Shoes are sold by a case containing either 12 or 18 pairs. For those located in California, a reseller permit is necessary in order to make a purchase. There are no requirements for those outside of California. To make a purchase, you must first register and create an account, which takes under two minutes.
- NYWholesale is located in China, but ships to the US. The easy-to-use website includes shoes, boots, sandals, and clothing from current to extreme, and units (each unit is one pair of shoes) vary in price, with many around $20. There are generally 18 units per package, and shipping is calculated based on weight.
- Wholesale Shoe Warehouse is located in Florida and sells boots, shoes, athletic shoes, sandals, and more by the case. Unit prices begin at $3/unit, and cases generally contain 12 - 18 units/case. The website is no nonsense, and the best way to place an order is to research the website, then call the company.
Tips for Purchasing
When purchasing mass shoe orders, keep these tips in mind:
- Check the range of sizes offered. Most shoes are sold in cases, so it's a good idea to make sure that your case will contain a range of different sizes. You don't want to end up with dozens of pairs of shoes in a size which will be hard to sell. Some companies have different cases to cover large and hard-to-find sizes and widths.
- Negotiate. Although wholesalers state a set price on their websites and in their brochures, many will be prepared to negotiate. Once you've built up a good working relationship with the wholesaler in question, haggling will become much easier. Regardless of what agreement you come to, expect to prepay for your orders. These companies move inventory quickly, and many of them will not invoice a small business.
- Do your homework. Before you even think about buying shoes to resell, find out how much the styles you're thinking about are going for. Remember to take into account the price the wholesaler will charge to ship your order to you, which can be $350 minimum in some cases or a flat $500 in others.
- Find storage. Although a case of 18 pairs of shoes doesn't sound like a lot, multiply that by 20, and you can quickly drown in heels and laces. You may want to arrange for a storage space, and you should also figure out how to transport the shoes from delivery to the storage site. If you have your storage space ready to go, you can take advantage of container sales or other deals.
- Check the websites frequently. Don't miss out on sales and special events. Stock changes constantly with the seasons and styles, so you can save even more on an order if you shop the wholesalers. Popular styles sell out quickly, however, so plan to spend time daily searching for the next, big sale.
Make a Profit
Selling wholesale shoes can result in strong profits for your business. The wide variety of available styles and price points makes it easy to appeal to a broad range of customers. It may take some time to locate and work with a wholesale supplier, but shoes are a great addition to any online fashion store.