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So you finally decided to open your own business. By now, you’ve probably figured out what product you will sell, who your target market is, and what your sales channels will be. Your current dilemma might be where to find reliable suppliers.
Finding suppliers is one of the most important tasks of business owners. In fact, this step is so important that it can make or break your business. Think of your suppliers as your most important business partners.
When you find the right one, it means you can easily propel your business to reach new heights.
Looking for suppliers in the Philippines can be confusing, frustrating, and intimidating if you don’t know where to start. With this article, you can be one step closer to finding the best supplier for your business.
What is a Business Supplier?
A business supplier provides products or services to businesses like yours. Also called a “vendor,” suppliers are used by all types of businesses as a resource for them to function.
The major role of a supplier is to give you high-quality products, usually made by a manufacturer, at the best price point.
Imagine if you have a coffee shop. You need a supplier of coffee beans, or maybe someone to give you other ingredients like cocoa, sugar, or your takeout cups. Without these suppliers, you can’t serve the best coffee to your customers.
With this in mind, your services mostly rely on suppliers.
Types of Product Suppliers
There are many types of suppliers you need for your business. Here are a few examples.
A wholesaler is an individual or company that buys tons of products from manufacturers, producers, vendors, or farmers.
Most of these products are stored in a warehouse before it is sold to retailers and other businesses. In a way, these wholesalers act as a middle man. They buy products only for resale or business use.
Manufacturers are responsible for producing finished goods made from raw materials. To do this, they use their equipment, tools, and processes before it is sold to wholesalers, suppliers, distributors, other manufacturers, or retailers.
This is a type of retail fulfillment method where stores don’t need to keep the products they want to sell.
Instead, a store that uses this model purchases items from a third party (dropshipping companies) and they have them shipped directly to their consumers.
When you find a dropshipper, you don’t need to handle products directly. By not owning stock or inventory, you don’t need to pay for warehouses.
A private label manufacturer makes products that brands can directly sell to customers. They ensure that the product quality and production costs are kept under control.
However, the business that buys private label products is responsible for advertising them and setting up new prices.
Private label products can be sold at a higher price than generic products. Although it needs a higher upfront investment, it will pay off in the long run especially if you make sure your branding appeals to your target market.
Independent artisans are workers that are skilled in making things by hand. They can make leather goods, textiles, ceramics, food, and other types of products.
Importers & exporters
An exporter is engaged in sending goods to another country for trade. Meanwhile, an importer brings products from a foreign source to be sold in a domestic market.
Where to Find Suppliers in the Philippines
Now that you know the different kinds of suppliers, it’s finally time to find one for your business. You can start with these platforms:
Online B2B Marketplaces
It’s not surprising that everything can be done entirely online now, including looking for suppliers for your business.
Online B2B marketplaces make it easy for you to have all the contacts and tools you need to succeed in your business.
Keep in mind that most of these platforms only act as a directory for individuals and businesses who are looking for items to sell to their clients.
Most products sold here have also been tested so you don’t need to go through an arduous process to ensure the products you buy pass your quality standards.
Here are some of the most trusted online B2B marketplaces you can try.
- Price: $67 for 1 year
- $127 for lifetime access
Founded in 2015, this New Zealand-based platform has a directory of over 8,000 wholesale suppliers, as well as drop shippers. These businesses sell millions of goods for businesses to buy.
When you find an item that you’re interested in buying, simply get in contact with the supplier. All suppliers provide their contact details, minimum order number, and shipping information on their page.
- Price: Free
AliExpress is another great supplier for shops (physical and e-commerce) that are looking for affordable products in a wide range of categories.
You may have to do a little bit of digging to see the best items, but the low cost definitely makes it worth the effort.
- Price: Free
This is one of the most popular wholesale marketplaces for buyers who want to purchase large quality products at an affordable price. In Alibaba, you can negotiate directly with different manufacturers so you can create the offer for your customers.
- Price: $299 for lifetime access
This is another directory for businesses that are looking for the right suppliers. Worldwide Brands have an impressive list of suppliers and sellers.
After logging into the website, all you need to do is look for suppliers by searching any type of product or a brand name. This will generate a list of wholesale providers that can give you the best service.
Results are also regularly updated and monitored to ensure it only includes genuine suppliers. This lessens the risk of scams.
This Philippine wholesale platform has been growing and taking shape in recent years. It provides Filipino businesses with the best local manufacturers and suppliers.
Bultuhan literally means “bulk” so if you want to purchase anything wholesale without worrying about expensive shipping and customs fees, this is one of your top choices.
What makes Bultuhan great is it organizes suppliers very well. You can browse brands alphabetically, check out items that are on bargain sale, or see different featured products that are on trend.
This is another Philippine-based platform that matches business owners with suppliers that can give them the best products.
This B2B online marketplace intelligently matches users with the top products they are looking for. These are displayed in a streamlined manner so you can easily select, order, and manage everything in a few clicks.
Social Media Communities
Social media has truly diversified its purpose in the past years. Now, it is not only meant to connect you to your friends and family but also suppliers. Currently, Facebook Groups are one of the top choices of businesses looking for a supplier.
One example of a Facebook group you can join is “Philippines Wholesale, Retail, and Distributor” where you can find anything under the sun from soft drinks, food items, kitchen tools, cleaning products, shirts, and a lot more.
Another group you can join is “Resellers and Suppliers PH” where you can get a wide array of low-cost products.
The way these social media communities work is that business owners can simply look up items they are interested in the search bar. They can also comment on posts or message people directly if they see an item they like.
Despite this, keep in mind that looking for suppliers on social media can be a little stressful, and it puts you at risk for scams. To avoid this, make sure to ask for proof from suppliers and read reviews if available.
Trade shows are exhibitions where companies (suppliers) in specific industries can showcase or demonstrate different products and services.
While there are trade shows that are open to the public, most of these are on an invite-only basis and can only be attended by members of the press and company representatives.
There are tons of trade shows in the Philippines, some examples include:
- Automechanic Philippines
- Plaspak Philippines
- Propak Philippines
- CyberSecPhil Conference
- Getting Married Bridal Fair
- Powertrends 2023
- Worldbex 2023
- Water Philippines
- Future Solar Energy Show
- MAFBEX Manila Foods and Beverages Expo
Where to find upcoming trade shows in the Philippines:
How to Find Suppliers in the Philippines
Want to find the best supplier for your business? Here are the steps you need to take.
Step 1: Determine the type of supplier you need
Before you go about trying to find suppliers for your business, you should first determine the kind of supplier you need for your business.
Go back to the type of suppliers we listed above and see which one will best help your business thrive the most.
This step also includes finalizing the list of products and services you need from different suppliers. It will be easier to find the best suppliers if you already know what you’re looking for in the products you want.
Step 2: Find suppliers online
Now that you know what kind of supplier you need, the next step is to search for suppliers online.
There are hundreds of websites and platforms you can use to find the best suppliers for your business.
These include online B2B marketplaces and Facebook groups that we mentioned above. You may also look up the pages of trade shows online so you know what to expect.
Chances are, the first supplier you find will not be the one you will go for. Finding the best supplier usually takes a little trial and error.
The key is to be patient. As much as you can, avoid settling for a supplier that you’re not 100% satisfied with. This may put your business at risk in the future.
Step 3: Contact the supplier
After finding suppliers for your business, contact them and set up a time to discuss the different products you are interested in.
This is where trade shows give you an advantage since you’ll be able to talk to them personally.
Despite this, talking to suppliers online is still doable. They might even be willing to send samples or give you a discount so you can check the quality of their products.
To ensure you’re getting the best service and products, make sure to ask the following questions:
- Can you tell me about your company’s background? How long have you needed in business?
- Are there other costs I need to cover besides the cost of the product? (customs fee, tax, etc)
- Are you hiking up your prices anytime soon?
- Can you give me a brochure with your product information?
- Can you manufacture items with my guidelines? What’s the cost for custom items and how long is the turnaround time?
- What’s your product availability?
- May I know about your warranty/guarantee policy?
- How do I place an order?
- What’s the cost of shipping? What’s the courier you use? How long does it usually take to arrive here?
- Do you offer payment terms?
- Can you give free product samples?
- What’s your turnaround time for bulk orders?
- What are the payment methods you accept?
- May I know what support services you offer?
- What’s your return policy?
Step 4: Start ordering
After you’ve checked the products and confirmed with your supplier that you’ll purchase from them, it’s now time to complete the transaction.
Let them know the different products you want and the quantity you need. Most suppliers give samples for free and you only need to pay for the shipping.
After this stage, you must order the MOQ (minimum order quantity) for each product.
Step 5: Build relationships with your suppliers
When you’re done ordering products from your supplier, establish a good relationship with them. This means keeping the lines of communication open and updating each other about the latest trends.
This bond can help you get the products you need at a better price. For example, if you and your supplier already established a good relationship, you can ask for a discount or freebies for your next round of orders.
For the most part, suppliers offer deals for businesses that do recurring purchases so the more you buy from your supplier, the more affordable it will be for you.
Tips for Choosing Suppliers for your Business
Choosing suppliers is no easy feat. When choosing the best suppliers for your business, the following tips will help:
Let them know that you’re serious about buying products
Don’t waste time chatting with suppliers all day and playing hard to get. As early as you can, send them a message about your intention to buy and set up a time to talk to their representative. This will show them that you’re serious about getting them as a supplier.
Be clear about what you need
Don’t be vague when talking to your supplier. Be specific about what you want. They expect this from you.
When you know the exact specifications of the product you want, this will help prevent any confusion and waste of money. Mention your order quantity, size of product, color, weight, and other important details to eliminate those that don’t meet your standards.
Always be professional when dealing with your suppliers. The way you communicate with them tells a lot about your business. Remember that you’re growing your business and your suppliers will be part of that.
Ask a few questions at a time
Don’t bombard your suppliers with tons of questions at once. This is because they might get overwhelmed and will not be able to give you the best answers.
It’s better to ask a few questions at a time so they will also have the chance to expound their answers.
Make sure to do your research
Researching about different suppliers and the products you want to order is always a good idea. This way, you can be sure that the products you’re buying will be of good quality.
Read how different suppliers make the product, their protocols, customer service, and the like.
Keep good communication with them
Keep the lines of communication with your suppliers open. Let them know about your company’s updates constantly. This way, they can give you the best products and services.
Keep in mind that in some cases, a supplier might be good in product quality, but not in their customer service. However, you need to be able to communicate with them properly to resolve any future problems.
When talking to different suppliers, compare how they speak to their customers, their communication channel, and their promptness.
Check for reviews
Before you buy products from a supplier, check their reviews so you’ll know what to expect. This will help you assess their reliability. If they have a lot of negative feedback, then it may be better to transact with a different supplier.
Don’t ignore red flags
Does your supplier take days to reply to your queries? Do they have a bad website? If so, don’t ignore these things. Chances are, it will (forgive us for the lack of a better term) eventually bite you in the ass.
If your supplier is not able to meet what they promised you, stop working with them. Learn from your mistakes and avoid getting into a relationship with suppliers who will disappoint your business and customers.
Always make a small order before committing
Before you buy large quantities of products, order a small amount first so you will know the quality of the products.
If you order your final MOQ before ensuring their product quality is good, you may end up wasting your time, effort, and money.
Renegotiate prices/contracts if needed
Just like any entrepreneur, you also want the best for your business. To achieve this, you may need to negotiate your contract and prices.
Negotiating with suppliers is not a bad thing. It simply means that you’re trying to get the best products and services at a price you can afford.
Factor in how they communicate
You can predict the service you’ll receive by analyzing how they communicate. If they take a long time to reply to your messages, it may mean that they’re not efficient when dealing with customers.
A good supplier should be able to reply to your query within 24 hours.
Additionally, if you’re getting a supplier from a different country, make sure you can move past the language barrier easily.
Check their certifications
Some suppliers may have certifications that prove they have passed inspections and meet certain quality control standards in their industry.
If they’re a registered and accredited supplier, they are likely reliable and are able to meet the standards you want your products to have.