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Wholesalers and Their Types

Last updated date: 24th May 2024
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Before we understand the types of wholesalers, we should be aware of who a wholesaler actually is. 

Who is the Wholesaler?

A distributor who provides merchandise to a retailer. Retailers can benefit from a lower price than if they were to purchase individual things when a wholesaler sells their product to them in large quantities. Although a reseller is another option, the wholesaler will often purchase items directly from the manufacturer. In either scenario, the wholesaler receives significant savings for purchasing a huge volume of items. Rarely does the distributor actually make a product; instead, they concentrate on distribution.

Characteristics of Wholesaler

Wholesalers have the following characteristics:

  • Wholesalers buy products from manufacturers or producers directly.

  • They buy products in bulk and dispense them in smaller quantities.

  • They provide various iterations of a particular range or product. A paper wholesaler, for example, must stock all types of paper, cardboard, and card.

  • Wholesalers may use a variety of representatives or employees to distribute their goods.

  • They invest in business products and demand a lot of funds.

  • They provide retailers with credit facilities.

  • They support the makers or producers financially by making mass purchases.

  • Wholesalers typically congregate in a single location. For instance, there are gur mandis (markets for sugar and related goods) and anaj mandis in numerous Indian towns (markets for food grains). Retailers can easily approach cloth or paper merchants because they are grouped together in one place.

Characteristics of Wholesalers

Characteristics of Wholesalers

Importance of Wholesaler

Position of the Retailer in the Absence of the Wholesaler- We may come to appreciate someone's absolute necessity much more when they are not present and actively assisting us. This is true in the case of the wholesaler, who acts as a liaison between the manufacturer and the retailer.

Without a wholesaler, the retailer will face the following annoyances:

  • He will need to keep massive inventories of a wide range of goods, so he will need enough space and money to do so. Only a few retailers can command both capital and space.

  • He'll have to put together stocks from various manufacturers.

  • He will have to arrange for their transportation, packaging, and storage, among other things.

  • He will be vulnerable to price changes as well as shifts in public preferences and demand. Few shops are willing to take such a significant risk.

Types of Wholesaler

Wholesalers are classified into six types -

  1. Merchants Who are Retailers

These are the most commonly used wholesalers in the private label, FMCG, and agricultural industries. Simply put, merchant wholesalers are individuals who buy products directly from manufacturers, store them, and then resell them to customers. They are not restricted to selling only to retail customers or only to online customers, and they can sell through any channel. Any losses incurred during the purchase and resale of the product must be borne by the merchant wholesaler.

  1. Full-service Wholesalers in Retail are Wholesalers.

They are most commonly found in engineering or consumer durable products. Full-service wholesalers, as the name implies, provide complete service to the final retailer. These wholesalers, who primarily work in the retail sector, sell the products to a reseller (in this case, a retailer). Except for product service, the full-service wholesaler is in charge of everything.

  1. Distributors of Limited Services

A limited service wholesaler is someone who supplies the company's products but only sells them through a specific channel. He doesn't cover all of the company's channels or has a low turnover rate.

  1. Brokers and Agents

Most commonly observed in the chemical or real estate sectors. Brokers do not take any chances. He has the manufacturer or producer on one side and the customer on the other. The broker's job is to close the deal and earn a commission.

  1. Small Offices and Divisions

Although there are various types of wholesalers, branches and small offices are traditional ways for businesses to start selling their products in a specific area. A branch is sometimes referred to as a type of wholesaling because it collects bulk orders from end customers and ensures supply as well as client reorders.

  1. Specialized Wholesalers

These are wholesalers who specialize in a single product. A used car wholesaler, for example, may sell directly to consumers or to other used car dealers. He is an expert in used cars and is well-versed in all aspects of selling or restoring used vehicles to customers. Some wholesalers specialize in a specific product and are well-known for it.

Those mentioned above were among the various types of wholesalers in the market. As e-commerce sales increase, the demand for wholesalers in developing countries is decreasing.

Wholesaler and its classification

Wholesaler and Its Classification

Case Study - Wholesaler


As we all know, is one of the world's largest online marketplaces, with a diverse range of wholesale wholesalers. Customers will be able to purchase a wide range of goods. Remember that there are numerous quality and grade levels. The majority of wholesale providers have minimum order quantities (MOQs) that customers must meet. As a result of those set MOQs, prices will fall and become more affordable. Following that, deliveries to various locations around the world will be made, with suppliers opting for FOB shipping arrangements.

  1. eBay

You are not an outlier; many people are familiar with eBay. eBay is a well-known large wholesale distributor in the United States. This online store can sell a wide variety of products. There are currently numerous brands of goods available. MOQs for some products are still available, but not for others. Despite the fact that you are purchasing in large quantities, this wholesale provider intends to be expensive. Some parts of the world will receive no shipments at all.

  1. is another significant wholesale distributor in the United States. It is considered for a variety of item supply. However, electronic goods and digital media, such as Amazon Prime, account for the vast majority of their sales. Customers can purchase items from Amazon's various warehouses located around the world. Depending on the customers' locations, a specific rate of shipment is generated both locally and internationally.


A wholesaler must have a license to sell to a retailer, and his goods are typically not offered to customers at the same price as they are to the retailer. This is done so that the retailer, who will mark up the amount paid to the wholesaler, can make a profit. If a customer purchases a product from a wholesaler, he will be charged for a drop shipment, which will be charged to both the buyer and the wholesaler.

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FAQs on Wholesalers and Their Types

1. What is the difference between wholesale and retail sales?

The simplest answer to this question is that a retailer sells its products directly to the customer. In other words, a retailer frequently purchases goods from a wholesaler. In the retail sector, goods are sold through either an online store or a physical store.

A wholesale vendor, on the other hand, sells its goods in bulk to retailers at a lower per-unit cost. The retailer can be thought of as a middleman because they bring the product closer to the customer and provide the convenience and service that you would expect from an e-commerce store or a retail shop.

2. What is the difference between self-fulfillment and wholesale?

While creating an online store, you may come across the term "self-fulfillment." It has nothing to do with wholesale; rather, it is what a merchant would do after purchasing from a wholesaler. It's the polar opposite of drop shipping, which is when you buy everything from a wholesaler and handle everything yourself with your own time, money, and resources (as discussed in the preceding section).

3. What are the advantages of purchasing wholesale?

To begin, the prices of almost all goods purchased through a wholesaler will be lower. In other words, the unit price will be lower. As a result, you can boost your profit margins and eventually grow your business.

Furthermore, the wholesaler from whom you are purchasing these goods has already purchased them from the manufacturer. They are aware that these products have a proven track record and are likely to be well received by customers. You get to reduce your own risk this way.