How to Become an Outdoor Wholesaler Online - Alibaba Seller SEPTEMBER 14, 202313 MIN READ
How to Become an Outdoor Wholesaler Online - Alibaba Seller

Here is a little secret:

If you are interested in starting a profitable business, consider the option of becoming an outdoor wholesaler.

More and more people are exploring outdoor adventures, thus increasing the demand for outdoor products. Outdoor products include all sorts of gear like backpacks, hydration packs, sunglasses, and other items needed by people who want to explore the outdoors. With the huge market size, many potential customers, and the opportunity to sell online, starting a wholesale outdoor business is a great option.

Not sure how to start? In this article, we offer some steps and tips on how to become an outdoor wholesaler online.

What is an outdoor wholesaler?

Before you start your business, it’s essential to understand its essence and its potential in the e-commerce landscape.

An outdoor wholesaler buys outdoor products in large quantities from manufacturers or suppliers and sells them in small amounts to retailers at a discounted price. Outdoor products often refer to gear required for sports and outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing, rafting, etc.

As the number of people who participate in physical and outdoor activities keeps increasing worldwide, the demand for outdoor items also increases. This increased demand has created an excellent opportunity for you to build a wholesale business in the outdoor industry.

Offering wholesale outdoor products online is a perfect opportunity to cater to the large demand from all around the world. Apart from selling products with high demand, you will also save costs by selling online. Buyers seek convenient ways to order their outdoor gear, so it’s best to take advantage of B2B e-commerce platforms to market your business.

Understanding the outdoor wholesale market

Many people engage in outdoor activities, making it an excellent opportunity for business owners who offer outdoor goods needed to participate in these activities. Let’s take a general overview of the current market alongside the key players and market size:

An overview of the current market

The outdoor industry market is currently worth billions of dollars and is anticipated to rise considerably between 2022 and 2030.1 Outdoor gear is often used by people who love spending time with nature and enjoy activities like hiking, backpacking, swimming, and camping.

According to reports, many people developed an interest in spending their leisure time outside, especially after the COVID pandemic and lockdown. A poll also showed that about two-thirds of Americans engaged in more outdoor activities in 2020.2

Some of the factors responsible for the popularity of outdoor items include:

  • Increased participation in outdoor activities

    The accelerating interest in outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, camping, and biking has increased demand for outdoor gear. People seek equipment that offers protection/comfort and helps them perform their desired activities.

  • Growing awareness of the Benefits of outdoor activities

    In 2020, it was reported that 57.8 million Americans engaged in hiking activities.2 More awareness is being created about the health benefits of outdoor activities, and many people are starting to engage in it. Outdoor activities like biking, Tai Chi, yoga, Pilates, and hiking are excellent exercises that help to prevent the prevalence of diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Such activities also offer social and economic benefits like meeting new people, connecting families, and bonding with friends.

    Growing awareness of the Benefits of outdoor activities

  • Season

    Outdoor activities are more popular in warm months like spring and summer than in other months. For this reason, there is more demand for outdoor products in warmer months than the rest of the year.

  • Lifestyle trend

    Outdoor activities are no longer just about sports but also a lifestyle. This lifestyle trend influenced the popularity of certain products like athleisure wear for individuals who want to blend their style with their love for outdoor activities.

Key players in the outdoor wholesale business

Some of the major players in the outdoor business are top names like Nike, Garmin Ltd, Vista Outdoor, Lululemon Athletica, VF corporation, and so on.3 Some of the largest manufacturers of outdoor gear market are Jack Wolfskin, MobiGarden, Arcteryx, Black Diamond, Marmot, Beijing Toread Outdoor Products, and Ozark.4

Insights about market sizes and forecasts

A study showed that the sports and outdoor market is projected to reach $77.21 billion in 2023.5 Another study showed that over 140 million US citizens incorporate outdoor activities into their daily lives and spend almost $646 billion on outdoor activities annually. In addition, the number of users of outdoor gear is expected to reach 1.7billion users by 2027.6

The outdoor gear industry is segmented according to region, type, application,

By types, some of the most popular types of outdoor products include:

  • Apparel
  • Shoes
  • Backpacks
  • Camping equipment
  • Outdoor accessories and equipment.7

Some of the most popular activities include:

  • Boating
  • Climbing
  • Hunting
  • Snow activities
  • Motorcycling
  • RVing

The major regions leading the market are:

  • North America (US, Canada, and Mexico)
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • South America
  • Middle East and Africa

Based on end users, most of the leading segments who participate in outdoor activities are men, followed by women, and then children.

Camping equipment

How to become an outdoor wholesaler online

To become a successful outdoor wholesaler online, you should follow these steps to guide you;

1. Market research and niche selection

The first step to becoming a successful outdoor wholesaler online is conducting market research.

What’s the purpose of this?

Market research helps you discover your potential business's profitability, gain insights into the products you can buy/sell, and gain extensive knowledge about your industry.

As you research your market, determine products in higher demand and consider the products you want to sell. Also, remember to narrow down and choose a category of products from the outdoor industry you’re comfortable selling. You can decide to sell camping, hiking, or swimming products. Picking a niche makes it easy to market your business, stay ahead of your competitors, and establish yourself as an expert.

2. Creating a business plan

After deciding what you want to sell, the next step is to develop a business plan to guide you through setting up your business. A business plan is a document highlighting your business goals and actions to achieve those goals. A great business plan should contain the following;

  • Description of your business
  • Your niche or type of products you want to sell
  • Specific objectives you have for your business
  • Financial or funding plans
  • Organization structure
  • Marketing strategies

3. Sourcing outdoor products

Where do you intend to source your products? One of the things to consider when setting up your wholesale business is choosing a supplier. There are different factors to consider when sourcing for suppliers, including location, price, shipping, communication channels, turnaround time, quality, and availability of products. Quality is the most important thing to consider, so research and analyze different suppliers to ensure you work with a reliable supplier.

You can also work directly with a manufacturer to get the outdoor products from them at a faster turnaround time. Buying directly from a manufacturer will also be cheaper than buying from suppliers who resell. Another favorite strategy among wholesalers is to source your products from public marketplaces like Alibaba, where you will find different supplier options.

4. Finding an e-commerce platform

Your plan is to sell online, so finding a suitable e-commerce platform to showcase and sell your products is essential. Wholesalers must have their company on B2B platforms to ensure long-term business visibility, especially if they sell goods like outdoor products that most people source online.

Fortunately, there are different options for B2B and B2C e-commerce platforms where you can sell to your audience. You must find a great online marketplace suitable for your type of products and audience. Some common platforms for wholesalers are Alibaba, Amazon, and Etsy. If you want a low-cost platform with a free storefront to sell wholesale to a global audience, consider

Finding an e-commerce platform

5. Product listing and descriptions

Once you have your goods and the e-commerce platform of your choice, the next thing you want to do is optimize your store and list your products for people to see. For this, you will need high-quality photographs of your products. You can do this yourself: find a good camera, place your product against a backdrop, and take pictures from different angles. You can also make a video to help retailers have a perfect idea of what the products look like.

Upload these pictures on your storefront and provide detailed product information, like brand name, price, materials used, minimum order quantity, and usage.

6. Setting competitive prices

One of the things you need to add to your storefront is the cost of your product. This is a hard one, we know, but you have to take it seriously because it can determine the success of your business.

The rule to setting a price is making sure you don’t overprice your goods less you lose customers. Also, you don’t want to underprice your goods so you don’t lose profit. Instead, you want to set a price that helps you earn profit while allowing the retailers to make a cut after selling to end consumers.

A great tip for creating a pricing strategy is offering retailers a 50% discount on retail prices. For example, if the retail price of a product is $120, the wholesale price should be $60. Note that this might not apply to all products. Just ensure you identify buying costs, efforts, and profit margin to ensure you offer a competitive and profitable pricing model.

Another wholesale tip is creating a minimum order requirement for an order to qualify as a wholesale.

7. Online marketing strategies

Now that you have your online store, you must implement strategies to promote your business and find buyers. Some great marketing strategies to promote your business include using SEO techniques, investing in keyword research, paying for ads, offering incentives, and partnering with complementary businesses. If you sell on, you can take advantage of the advertising features to promote your storefront.

8. Customer service and feedback

Your business should care about customers, so ensure you have solid customer service. Some of the things customers care about include response rate, ease of transaction, quality of goods, and price. Make things easy and smooth for your customers to encourage them to do business with you again. Answer inquiries fast, release product updates, communicate gently with potential customers, and have a repair and conflict resolution option. Customer relationship is the core of growing your wholesale business, so prioritize this step.

Also, be open to feedback to improve the quality of your business and customer service.

Customer service and feedback

9. Expanding and scaling

Once you’ve established yourself as an outdoor gear wholesaler, you should start looking forward to scaling and expanding your business. You can add more products to your inventory, work with new suppliers, and expand your brand.

Remember to scale your business slowly. Accepting too many clients or selling too many products at the beginning is a bad idea because it might be hard to sustain it.

7 tips for a successful outdoor wholesale business online

Starting a wholesale business from scratch can be challenging. The following tips should help you feel more confident starting your outdoor wholesale business online:

1. Sell in-demand products

The key to a successful business is having the right customer base. One of the tips for finding the right customer base is identifying and offering high-demand products. Do your market research to find high-demand products with a large customer base. Also, remember that the need for outdoor products changes according to the season, so be on the lookout for the right product to sell according to the season.

2. Build an online presence for your business

An essential part of selling your business online is having a strong presence that helps you reach your audience. Aside from having an e-commerce store, you should also build social media pages to promote your business. It’s the age of social media, and over 93 marketers invest in social media marketing to boost business sales.8 The reason for this popularity is the platforms’ effectiveness in building brand awareness, meeting new customers, driving website traffic, and increasing sales.

Different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter exist. You can choose the social media platforms that best suit your type of business and the preferences of your target audience.

3. Attend trade shows

One of the challenges you might face as a business owner is finding customers. You need to put in effort to find customers, and one of the tips is attending trade shows in your location. Trade shows will help you connect with new customers and get your business name out there.

4. Hire the right people

Handling a large volume business like wholesaling might require the input of talented staff. Choosing the right candidates for your wholesale business is essential to ensure they handle your business and sales well. Ensure you evaluate every employee you add to your team and assess how well they can handle situations that will drive your business performance.

5. Build long-term relationships with suppliers

Aside from prioritizing customer relationships, you must also form strong relationships with suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors to help fulfill your order requirements. You can source goods more efficiently and faster if you develop long-term relationships with your suppliers.

Build long-term relationships with suppliers

6. Take marketing serious

It’s one thing to sell the right products on the right platform; it’s another thing to have a marketing plan to promote your products to your target audience. Invest in strategies like PPC, keyword advertising, content marketing, SEO, and social media to reach a wider audience. The more effective your marketing is, the easier it is to find new customers and increase the sales of your outdoor products.

7. Monitor the performance of your business

One of the critical tips business owners miss when managing their wholesale business is keeping track of their performance. You should set goals for your business and take your time to monitor how close you are to achieving those goals. Continually monitoring your business performance will help you identify what you are doing right and what strategies you need to adopt to get closer to your goals. Make it a core part of your business to monitor things that may impact your business, track your business performance, and use the insights to improve your efforts.

Start selling on

Starting a good and profitable business isn’t enough to have a successful business. It’s also important to sell through a platform that allows you to connect with your target audience. Fortunately, you have plenty of opportunities as an outdoor products wholesaler, especially if you take advantage of thriving e-commerce platforms like is an e-commerce platform suitable for B2B and B2C sellers who want to sell to a broader audience. It’s an all-in-one platform where you can:

  • Showcase your products on a personalized storefront
  • Find customers from all around the world
  • Receive payments through multiple methods
  • Access features that help you promote your store and stay ahead of competitors.

To start your outdoor wholesale business, visit, open a seller account, and showcase your products to over 14 million active users.