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INDEPENDENT RETAILER magazine is now the official news outlet for Wholesale Central visitors. Each monthly issue is packed with new product ideas, supplier profiles, retailing news, and business strategies to help you succeed.

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Finding the Wholesale Products You Need

Jun 1, 2009
by Lisa Rioni

In the early days of, buyers were constantly asking us where they could find specific products--you name it: pink softballs, Elvis piggy banks, American-made wooden toys, Teletubby flatware, battery-powered facial brushes, and on and on. These requests prompted WholesaleCentral to create an online service where buyers could send their queries directly to the folks who knew best: the suppliers. Thus was born's unique and convenient Product Locator Service, and it has been a huge hit ever since.

Who Can Use the Service?

For buyers who wish to send a request, the Product Locator Service is available to all qualified retailers and other wholesale buyers who join the free Wholesale Central Buyers Network. Most services on do not require registration, however, due to the fact that correspondence is being transmitted, buyers are required to register to use the service. To join the free Buyers Network, visit

On the flip side, only pre-approved suppliers listed in the directory are eligible to receive Product Locator requests and to reply to buyers. This is one of the ways Wholesale Central ensures that only reputable businesses can participate, making it safe and useful for both buyers and suppliers.

How to Send a Request

Sending a request is easy. Log in to your free Buyers Network account on and click the "Wholesale Products Locator" link toward the top of the page, below the logo. Here you will see other buyers' requests in all product categories in the last 60 days. Click the "Post a Request" link and fill out the simple form.

In order to get the best results, be sure to be as specific as possible in your description. In the "Additional Comments" box, mention details like how quickly you need the product, the quantity that you are interested in purchasing and any other special requirements.

For each request, choose the category that best fits the type of product you need. If you seek several different types of merchandise, post a separate request for each product category to be sure that your messages get to the appropriate suppliers.

Finally, click the Send button, and your request immediately enters a staging area where it is reviewed before it is broadcast to prevent malicious use of the service. Once approved, requests are posted on the Product Locator Board and delivered directly to the email boxes of suppliers who subscribe to receive requests in the category you selected. The transmission is completely private and no one sees your email address or contact information until you are ready to reveal it.

How Suppliers Respond

Since we don't allow suppliers to see your email address (for your privacy), suppliers who can fulfill your request respond through a private network. All replies are emailed to you through a fully automated system. You can also log in to your Buyers Network account where you can review all of your requests and replies, making it easy to keep track of what you requested and decide which suppliers you wish to contact.

Here are some tips for suppliers: Respond to a Product Locator request only if you can meet the buyer's specific request. If you can help the buyer, provide clear details about how you can supply the product they requested. This will increase the chances of the buyer choosing you over the other sellers who respond. Do not send stock replies that generally promote your company, without addressing the buyer's specific request. Buyers consider this spam and could block future messages from you. And of course, include your contact information and a link to your website so the buyer can easily contact you to place an order.

So give it a try. If you have trouble locating a new or hard to find product through standard search methods,'s Product Locator Service could be the answer to your problems.

Topic: Web Tech Tips

Related Articles: marketing  ROI 

Article ID: 1070

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