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9 Ways to Find Cheap Quality Wholesale Products as a Small Trader in Kenya

With the growing economy, many Kenyans are venturing into small businesses through trading small goods. This of course comes into conflict as these small traders find it very expensive to access wholesale products, especially now that Kenya doesn’t have accessible wholesale goods due to the fact that we lack diversity in our manufacturing companies.  


This drives the small traders who want to resell products to import the manufactured goods from other countries such as China which comes with challenges such as: 


  • High delivery cost 
  • Lack of experience in importing 
  • Lack of knowledge on how to get the right product 
  • Issues with customs and taxes 


Many small scale traders have opted to do research online and offline in order to find cheap wholesale products. They want to be able to buy in bulk and resell products to their customers at the retail and most especially at the affordable rates.  

This article will give you some ways and tips on how to find cheap wholesale products as a small trader in Kenya. 


 1. Do your market research 

Before you embark on starting and running a small business as a retailer, you need to find out what customers want in the market you want to venture into. How much will your customers be comfortable paying for particular products? What are their preferred product qualities, quantities and from which manufacturer?  What cheap products are they looking for? 

Image by Dreamtime


You can use platforms such as social media or offline community forums to do a research about your prospects and their wants. This will help you get the right product for the right market. 


2. Ask your friends and family members  

You might be having friends and relatives who are small traders. Ask them which wholesale trader supplies them with products. You’ll realize they know a lot of offline and online stores that people are talking about too.  


 3. Go to the small traders’ markets in Kenya and inquire 

If you want to know more about football, you have to go to a football court and binge-watch what the players are doing. You can even befriend the coach to learn more about it.


Similarly, if you are starting a small business and you want to know where to get the affordable products, you need to ask other small traders. They will tell you where they buy their goods from and what their prices are like. 


After knowing the loved brand or manufacturer, find out how they got their products.

  • Who was the wholesale trader?
  • How did they know about them?
  • How often do they ship the imported products?
  • Do they have affordable prices? 
  • Where are they located?
  • How can you find them or contact them?


An image of traders and buyers at Gikomba Market in Nairobi, Kenya

An image of traders and buyers at Gikomba Market in Nairobi


Some of the small traders’ markets you can visit in Nairobi Kenya are Kamkunji, Gikomba, Eastleigh, Dubois and River Road among others.  


 4. Search Online for wholesalers stores in Kenya 

If you want a variety of products, then you will have to look around for wholesalers who trade in different items. For a small business retailer operating at a tight budget, it might be harder to travel from various locations to access the wholesale traders.


Some wholesale traders may not be interested in selling their products at low prices while others might not have the right amount of stock available at any given time.  


The best way to find cheap wholesale products is by doing some research online first. You can use Google as well as other search engines to find reputable wholesalers who sell what you need at affordable prices. This way, you won’t have to travel all over town looking for someone who sells what you need at a reasonable price. 


For instance, WINGI  is a wholesale eCommerce platform allows you to access goods in bulk ranging from all home accessories, party and gifts, storage equipment, stationery, just to mention a few. 


 WINGI wholesale eCommerce platform allows you to access goods in bulk ranging from all home accessories, party and gifts, storage equipment, stationery, just to mention a few.

WINGI, an online wholesale platform 


The platform cuts you the expenses that you could have used to import the goods from another country which is quite expensive.  


5. Look out for reviews, user-generated content and testimonials 

Social media is a great space to find wholesale stores. Start by asking your audience on WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. Check out for the reviews of the recommended wholesale traders your audience shares. This way, you can be sure that they are legit sellers who will give you good service and quality goods at affordable prices. 


You can also check their Google reviews and YouTube testimonials on their website. This will give you insights to make decisions on getting products from them.

Customer testimonial upon using WINGI to get products on wholesale
Director at Pilipili Packers Ltd, shares her sourcing experience with WINGI

 6. Enquire from manufacturers of the products you want to buy 

Most abroad manufacturing brands work closely with local shipping wholesale traders to bring their products closer to you as a small trader. Sometimes you might not know of the wholesale traders partnering with the manufacturer unless you enquire from the manufacturer. Remember, manufacturers create or build the product and wholesalers buy from manufacturers to sell to retailers or small traders at wholesale price.  


Contact the manufacturer to direct you to an authorized local supplier in Kenya. A very good example of a local wholesale trader is WINGI. WINGI provides all-inclusive services from manufacturer vetting and international shipping to clearance on behalf of small retailers. This helps the small retailers avoid the shipping hassle from qualified international manufacturers. 


7. Calculate the wholesale products’ profit margins  

 When it comes down to the bottom line, small business retailers need to know the profit margins of the goods they buy, especially those purchased from wholesalers.  

How to calculate net profit margins

How to calculate the gross profit margin


Calculating profit margins will help you understand your costs and true profits; a practice that is vital in any industry. Having said that, small scale traders need to ensure that the prices of the wholesale products and the expenses they will incur in getting the goods to their premises are factored in when putting new prices of the products.  


Some online wholesale platforms have profit margin tools.  A very good example is WINGI’s mobile app which will have an embedded profit margin tool to help the small traders calculate the various fees needed to fulfil their orders and insights on potential profit margins.  


8. Collaborate with other small traders to buy more on discount from wholesalers  

You can be sure that small traders have been negotiating with wholesalers for cheaper prices and this is how they manage to survive. Every trader has been talking to his or her wholesalers and mentioned the term discount so as to experience a lower price on the stock they purchase.  


But how do small traders manage to get a lower price or a discount on the product they want to buy? The question should be why wholesales are negotiating their price with small traders while they don't negotiate when it comes to purchasing from bigger companies. The answer might be simple because small traders just start with buying like 20 pieces of stocks, 100 pieces while on the other hand, “big companies make purchases in bulk of 5000, 8000 and even 10,000 pieces. So small traders might not negotiate for discounts but somehow large companies will derive some kind of discount based on the amount of quantity that is purchased.”


This is why small traders need to collaborate among themselves to get more affordable prices from the wholesalers since they’re buying in large quantities.  This will give them an opportunity to get discounts.  

Collaboration among small scale traders gets them discounts

When small traders collaborate, they buy more at a great discount


Collaboration will make it easier for you as a small trader to find quality suppliers, negotiate with suppliers and get best deals in trading.  


9. Negotiating with the wholesalers 

If you are a small-scale trader purchasing stocks regularly, and want to save some money on your buying costs, you may want to consider negotiating for cheaper prices from wholesalers. To achieve this, you need to; build relationships with the wholesalers and also learn some negotiation skills. 



Finding wholesale products can be difficult at any time but it is good to know where the cheap and quality products are. Being knowledgeable of your surroundings and knowing how to use that knowledge are keystones of being an effective trader. When you know where to look, it will allow you to invest wisely. 


In a nutshell, if you are serious about trading as a small scale retailer, get ready to hustle and network. If you have problems accessing certain commodities you believe can be sold in your country- Kenya for example, reach out to WINGI - they are available in Kenya and can sort you hassle-free. As a small trader, do not take it for granted that wholesalers will approach you. You should go out there and find them. Forge relationships with them by introducing yourself and the business you want to do. Build trust by conducting transactions with them and always pay on time and within the agreed timeframe. Also give them a presentation on why they should deal with your company for a year or even more until you establish your brand as a serious trader in the eyes of the market. 


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