Worldwide Brands Review + Free Ways to Find Suppliers
When you can get free access to drop-shippers from sites like AliExpress and apps like ZenDrop or Eprolo, why join a 20-year old paid directory?
Worldwide Brands is one of the most popular directories of wholesalers, drop-shippers and other suppliers in the USA. Founded in Florida by Chris Malta in 1999, it’s the first (paid) members-only source of suppliers that have been certified and therefore guaranteed to be legitimate. Back in 1999, this was a big deal.
However, it’s now 2020, and while WorldWide Brands has sustained its admittedly impressive roster of suppliers and (millions of) products, it hasn’t changed with the times. Many more dynamic (and free) alternatives to its old Yahoo-like directory now exist.
Amid the boom in e-commerce, a global shipping crisis and proliferation of newer services including Aliexpress.com and drop-shipping/white-labelling apps like ZenDrop, can a 20+ year old directory still offer any value?
What is Worldwide Brands?
Worldwide Brands is a basic searchable directory of products and suppliers, including wholesalers, liquidators, manufacturers and drop shippers. It lists over 8,000 of them in total and from these suppliers there are about 16 million products that are available to search through in the WorldWide Brands database.
That’s a large number. Certainly it beats any other paid directory, such as Salehoo or Doba (does that still exist? Apparently yes), but it’s smaller than the number of products listed on AliExpress or DHGate, for example.
There are, however, a few key differences between WorldWide Brands and sites like DHGate and AliExpress though:
- WorldWide Brands has suppliers that are official resellers of branded goods, such as Nike and Ralph Lauren — AliExpress does not
- You cannot buy through the WorldWide Brands site — it’s just a directory, you have to contact each individual supplier and buy from them separately. (See what I mean about being old?)
- There are a huge number of duplicate products on sites like AliExpress and DHGate from different sellers
- All of the suppliers on WorldWide Brands have been vetted by the directory manager and are guaranteed to be legitimate — essentially this is what the membership fee pays for.
So both ultimately, have a place — AliExpress is free cheap and good for generic goods, and you can use previous buyer reviews to access the reliability of suppliers; while WorldWide Brands offers branded goods and guaranteed reliability, but it’s cumbersome to use and you need to pay (a lot) for access.
What Are the Alternatives?
Now, I should start by saying that WorldWide Brands is popular and has many positive reviews on sites like TrustPilot. That said, the alternatives can be split into two categories; other paid directories and free sources of wholesale and drop-shipped goods.
There are not many other paid directories — the only two other than WorldWide Brands are Salehoo (which is cheaper and smaller) and Doba (which is similar to sites like China Warehouse, but you have to pay $30 a month for access).
Of the paid directories, it’s fair to say there isn’t much competition — maybe because such services are a bit dated now. But as for the free alternatives there are a wide range.
Sites like AliExpress and DH Gate sell a huge variety of generic Chinese manufactured products. Apps like Eprolo, Spocket and ZenDrop are an innovative way to drop-ship from AliExpress suppliers, but that’s essentially all they are — they rarely have access to any suppliers that are not already popular on AliExpress.com. China Warehouse is similar — a good place for cheap generic goods that you can practically automate the fulfilment of with apps and sites like Shopify.
Here’s a curve ball though. I’m going to include eBay as a source of wholesale and even drop-shipped goods.
Why? Well, I once set up a successful drop-shipping store re-selling a product I found listed for sale on eBay — and I sold it for 3x what I was buying it for! The seller was actually willing to drop ship, and while they had it in stock (sadly only a few months) I was able to re-sell it for a significant profit.
So don’t rule out eBay — they have a lot of flexible and reliable US-based sellers, and if you’re good at marketing/branding and have your own site, you can re-sell some goods for a profit too.
Finally, there are directories like WorldWide Brands, but free. Sites like eSources.com springs to mind.
These are very similar to the paid directories in that you need to contact each supplier individually. Ratings are available, but the level of research WWB put into adding a new supplier isn’t there — they are not guaranteed to be reliable.
You could of course go to Google and search for terms like ‘furniture wholesalers’ and try your luck with whatever comes up — again this is an option, and you might find some good ones, but there is not review system like AliExpress and no vetting process or guarantee like with WorldWide Brands or the other paid directories.
Is Worldwide Brands Worth the Money?
E-commerce is much more popular and advanced now than it was even 5 years ago, let alone 1999. While Worldwide Brands maintains the largest directory of guaranteed suppliers in the world by far, it is noticeably basic to use.
There is a limited search function, where you can search for both supplier categories and products. Perhaps the most useful feature of this is being able to select which country the supplier or stock is based in.
For most start up Shopify stores, for example, I’d just say go with an app like ZenDrop or Oberlo + AliExpress. It’s automated, cheap and it works.
If you’re looking for a reliable supplier of branded goods — for example, branded electronics, fashion, etc. — then you may have no option other than a directory like WorldWide Brands.
But I’d still try contacting the manufacturer or brand directly first to see if they are willing to trade with you — or refer you to a certified reseller who will.