What is a b2b wholesale market? how does it work?
B2B wholesale market Online

Let’s start with some definitions for the B2B Wholesale Marketplace:

B2B: Business to Business. The Buyer and Seller are both businesses trading in large volumes. Thus the buying business (Purchasing Party or Importer) gets a good discounted wholesale price as compared to the normal retail price. The Seller can be an exporter, wholesaler, distributor, supplier or manufacturer. The buyer can be an importer, distributor, retailer, e-retailer, eCommerce reseller, another manufacturer, etc.

Wholesale: The price is based on volume purchasing. The larger the quantity the lower the price the seller can offer and still make a profit. The wholesale price depends on the market conditions, quantity, demand and supply, economic conditions, and price negotiations.

Market: Can be a physical location such as a trade show, showroom buildings, local market, wholesale malls, or individual wholesaler location. Also, it could be a virtual marketplace online that traders could visit to shop for the needed goods that they can import and resell in their local market. The following are some of the online B2B marketplaces:

How does B2B Wholesale Online Marketplace work?

Suppliers join these online B2B Wholesale Marketplaces and list their products and contact information.

Their listings must have enough information about the product such as:

  • Product Title: The product name, brand, model number, and a couple of keywords that describe the product.
  • Description: Complete details about the product name, functions
  • Features: What are some of the characteristics of this product and what makes it attractive to the buyer? Does it solve the buyer’s needs
  • Technical specifications: This is critical so the buyer can understand the product’s dimensions, weight, colors, the material used, mechanical or electrical data, quality controls, international standards met, and certifications.
  • Photo images: Clear photos of the products from different angles are important to convince the buyer that this product matches their requirements. The more images the better usually.

Research and Request for Quotation Steps:

Initial inquiry:

Wholesale Buyers and Importer visit these B2B wholesale marketplaces and start searching for the product they are interested in. Once they find a few products they start sending a request for quotations (RFQ) to the suppliers using the marketplace platform. Normally these suppliers get many RFQs on a daily basis. In order for the suppliers to take your inquiry seriously and act on it promptly, you should include the following information in clear business precise words and sentences:

  • Order Quantity: Specify how many of this product are you planning to purchase. Give an approximate number and don’t lie. You can also request different prices for different quantity ranges. That is fine. For example, you can say, give me a price quote for 100 pcs, 500 pcs, or 1000 pcs.
  • Port: Specify what port in your country you prefer the goods shipped to. This will help the exporter give you a more accurate shipping quote.
  • Preferred Shipping Method: Specify whether you prefer the shipment to be sent by Air freight (fastest), Ocean Freight, or Land. Remember, the more information you supply with your RFQ, the more interest you will get from the exporter.
  • Company: Include your official company name. This will tell the exporter that you are a serious company and not an individual trying to get prices only.
  • Company Type: Let the exporter know what type of company you are. Are you a
    • Distributor
    • Retailer
    • eCommerce
    • Manufacturer
    • Designer
    • Consumer
    • Government
    • Other
  • Company Introduction: Include some information about your company, such as years in business, how many locations, do you import currently from that country or competitor suppliers, etc.
  • Company Website: Include your company website in the inquiry. This will help the exporter gauge your inquiry seriousness, and whether your business is a good fit for both parties.
  • Telephone or WhatsApp No: This will help the exporter contact you directly and instantly in case they need to reach you to get more details about your inquiry before they prepare an accurate quotation (Pro Forma Invoice).
  • Address: Include your address including city and country

What is a Proforma Invoice?

A proforma invoice is an abridged or estimated invoice sent by a seller to a buyer in advance of a shipment or delivery of goods. It notes the kind and quantity of goods, their value, and other important information such as weight and transportation charges. Pro forma invoices are commonly used as preliminary invoices with a quotation, or for customs purposes in importation. They differ from a normal invoice in not being a demand or request for payment.

Order Placement:

Once the buyer receives the quotations from the different suppliers using the B2B Wholesale Marketplace, they can negotiate the terms and price, reach an agreement and then place an order. Once the order received by the supplier, normally there is sufficient lead-time for the exporter to get the order ready for shipping.


The order will be shipped according to agreed terms. Normally a freight forwarder is involved to book the shipping and transport the goods to the port with transportation and logistics companies.

Customs Clearance:

The importer arranges with a customs broker to clear the goods with customs and arrange to transport the goods to the importer warehouse.

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