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Three Evergreen Product Sourcing Strategies

Online sellers, especially those who sell on marketplaces, often want to know what sells like hot cakes. Sourcing, i.e. identifying where to find that product from, is crucial. With the advent of product research tools for marketplaces, we find 1000s of merchants selling the same thing and perhaps might be sourcing from the same wholesaler. China being a manufacturing powerhouse, most sellers often look there first.

It’s usually these standard practices that stagnant businesses and the same is true for eCommerce. For any business to succeed, differentiation is the key and similarly in online business, sourcing is about being different. Many manufacturers look for a sales channel partner. While their expertise is in making a product, you as an online seller have an opportunity to leverage your sales skill and find a market for that product.

For example, artists are considered relatively publicly-shy. They create some amazing artwork but are not skilled enough to make it commercial. Do you see an opportunity there?

When we think of eCommerce of online sales, we build a mindset that everything must be on the world wide web. We tend to overlook that eCommerce is just a medium to tap the immense trade potential globally; it’s not a different world altogether.

Get out of the box

The “out-of-the-box” thinking applies to online business a lot more now, given the fierce competition. You are ought to find hot-selling deals once you leave the computer box in front of you and walk around in the town, in your city, maybe just next lane! You’ll be amazed at what a breath of fresh air can do, literally and figuratively. Looking for manufacturers close to home can uncover some great suppliers. These manufacturing houses may already have wholesalers they work with. And most wholesalers these days have websites too. But don’t let a really sloppy or hideous website stop you from contacting them. No matter how ugly their website is, they are into real business, real transactions and meeting lots of different people every day. There is only so much they get out of building a fancy website but most of these wholesalers are genuine wholesale suppliers and as you get to know them better, there are high chances they can connect you with manufacturers across different industries. Another advantage of sourcing products locally is the familiarity with the economy, currency, and language - very integral to negotiation.

Attend Trade shows

I have said this before and I will say it again. Trade shows are a real treat and any online seller must not deny themselves a chance to attend one. Regardless of a plethora of information available online for product manufacturers, suppliers, drop shippers et al. people still like to work with people they like and people they know. An actual meeting face-to-face can unfold a lot of opportunities that the internet cannot replace. Trade shows and events are not only a good place to meet other individuals who are into online business but it also serves as a platform to learn best practices in eCommerce, pick up some marketing tips and even the latest technology trends. Keep a tab on the eCommerce events calendar. There may be big or small, local, national or international events occurring throughout the year. Things to remember when you attend a trade show or networking event - have a goal, show sincerity & interest, get to the point, follow up.

Practical Passion

Many people start a business around a hobby or interest, such as quilting books, sketching, etc. The thing about sales is, you have to be passionate about what you do. You cannot sell an idea unless you believe in it and convincing someone into your idea is never easy unless it is presented in a practical, business-like approach. Whatever might be your passion, do a thorough research, learn what others with similar ideas are doing to convert it into a business, conduct a market survey, join online discussion forums, visit pawn shops, flea market or an auction to get material at a reasonable price to give your business a kick-start. Start small, keep going but never forget to do your math!


Searching products to sell remains a hot topic for all online entrepreneurs and eCommerce merchants. Whether you are just starting your own online store, considering selling on the marketplace or are intending to expand the online product range, the above-mentioned sourcing options remain evergreen. Back to the roots is the way to grow.