Finding the right supplier for your online shop is essential to success. You’ll need a reliable supplier that fits your needs so you can maintain inventory and meet the demands of customers. 

Since your business is entirely online, offering consistent product availability and reasonable prices will make you more accessible and appealing. Taking the time to find the right suppliers for an online shop will help you do this, and we can help show you how. 

This guide will cover how to find suppliers for an online shop, including: 

  • Determining your needs 
  • Sourcing potential suppliers  
  • Narrowing down the options
  • Negotiating a deal 

Determining your supply needs 

To know how to find suppliers for an online shop, you’ll need to first determine what you need. With a bit of market research, you can understand the typical pricing of the products you sell. But it’ll help you understand what your competitors are doing and use the data to forecast product demand and sales. Reliable data will help you predict how much you’ll need to order from a supplier. 

Also, consider your online shop’s values, objectives, and growth plan. This information will help you understand what you need from a supplier. Do you want to find the lowest cost? Or do you seek a local, sustainable, or ethical supplier? On the other hand, you might prioritise a supplier with strong customer service and a relationship you can trust. 

In addition, think about what an online shop needs in a supplier. For example, you’ll likely need someone to fill orders quickly and meet rapidly changing demand. Since customers can buy your products with the click of a button, you’ll need an equally accessible supplier. 

Sourcing potential suppliers 

Once you create a list of what to look for, you can begin searching for a supplier. You may want a primarily online supplier for an online store as their structure likely aligns with yours. Also, online suppliers make it easier to track supply levels, restock, and ship products quickly. When you source suppliers, start by putting together a long list of options. We’ll cover a few places to begin your search. 

Wholesale suppliers 

On the other hand, you might seek a wholesale supplier and search for a supplier in your specific market, such as wholesale coffee. Some examples are Pound Wholesale, The Wholesaler, or MX Wholesale. You could also use platforms like Syncee or Avasam to find many supplier options. 


To make your supply chain and shop operations easier, you might want to find a supplier with dropshipping. Dropshipping is when the supplier ships your product to customers for you. As a result, you don’t have to store physical inventory and only pay for what you sell in your online shop. 

Though dropshipping might be slightly more expensive than wholesale, it will streamline your operations and save you time. In this case, you would only have to pay for goods sold. You might look into Oberlo or Supply Me Direct

Trade show 

You could also attend trade shows in your area to find suppliers for your online store, though you would have to vet them for reliability and consistency for online sales. Finding suppliers at trade shows will let you see the products you sell in person before buying them. Plus, you can meet your supplier face-to-face to build a trusting relationship. 

Local businesses 

On top of that, you could source and contact local shops without online stores. If you build relationships with these local businesses, you could help them sell their products online. This approach could benefit both you and your supplier while making your online store unique. No one else will sell your products elsewhere online, making you more appealing. 

Narrowing down the options 

After you find a list of suppliers that fit your needs, you’ll need to narrow it to the right one or two. It’s useful to have a backup supplier in case your main source of inventory falls through with things like delays, supply problems, or bankruptcy. 

Look into each option more closely to analyse their pricing, reliability, and overall company values. You can compare the options to see how much profit you’ll earn from the products and how long it will take to get them in stock or ship them to customers. 

Reach out to the suppliers you consider to get to know them better or receive quotes if they don’t already have prices listed. Gaining a complete picture of your options will help you spot scams and red flags. Plus, it can help you see which will work best with your business.  

Negotiating a deal 

Now that you know how to find suppliers for an online shop, you’ll need to close the deal. Contact your chosen supplier and negotiate price if necessary so you can stick to your business’s budget and maintain profitability. Also, work to form a strong relationship with your supplier and create lines of communication to stay on the same page. If you sign a contract with the supplier, ensure that the details expectations are clear. 

You can learn more about negotiating with suppliers in our guide: How to Negotiate with a Supplier. 

Simplify your business finances with Countingup 

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you run an online shop. By joining the thousands of business owners using the Countingup app, you too can make your financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. Among many features, the app generates cash flow insights so you can stay on top of the money that comes in and out of your business. This information can help you determine your supply needs and overall business performance.  

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.