If you sell physical products online, the next 90 days (July – September) are key product sourcing months for your business.

Not only are there a variety of product sourcing opportunities to take advantage of  during this time, but it’s also the last chance you’ll have for  lead time when it comes to preparing your product line for holiday sales.

Whether you are sourcing products wholesale or sourcing locally, there are a number of opportunities to be aware of and to capitalize on over the next few months.

8 Ways to Successfully Source Inventory This Summer

1. Trade Shows. The best (and a must for all professional sellers or would be pros) way to source wholesale products is by attending an industry trade show. There are trade shows for every product category. The biggest benefit of attending a trade show is the ability to see hundreds of vendors exhibiting all in one place. You get to meet them, look at their products and write an inventory order during the show. The suppliers also get to know you.  Even if you don’t write an order at the show, 3 months down the road when you do call to place an order you already have a foot in the door. Making a call to say “Hi Steve, this is Jen – we spoke last July at the sporting goods show.  I’d like to place an order for the new  hockey sticks you showed me.” is a much better way to start a vendor relationship than making a cold call.

Locate all the industry trade shows here. And if you are traveling on vacation this summer, be sure to see if there is a trade show happening at your destination location.  You may be able to write off part of your trip (DISCLAIMER: Check with your accountant on this.)

2. End of season supplier specials. With the turn of season happening, now is the right time to contact your suppliers and pick up great deals on end of season merchandise. And as an online seller, you can you carry merchandise farther into the season than the brick and mortar stores do.  On the Internet people buy swimwear all year around. Take advantage of your supplier’s seasonal turns.

3. Place holiday season pre-orders. The hot holiday wholesale products sell out fast.  Call your supplier now and ask them what they expect to be their #1 selling products for the rest of the year.  Place orders now in anticipation of pre-holiday season delivery.

4. Retail resale. The back-to-school season starts in your local stores on the 5th of July. This means there will be racks and racks of saleable merchandise marked down and ripe for the picking by online sellers. Do your pricing research before you buy and then take advantage of these deals. Big box retailers are also clearing their toys shelves to make space for this year’s holiday inventory. For years I picked up Lego sets at Target at up to 70% off which I turned around and sold for a profit during the holidays. Again, you have to know your merchandise!  Not all Lego sets will sell well.  So use a tool like Terapeak to assess supply, demand and pricing potential.

5. Retail pre-sale. Your local stores are also bringing in the hot toys for the season! And while you won’t get these at a discount, if you have enough inventory capital to buy and hold, you can make a lot of money when these toys are in-demand and sold out by November. You MUST and I repeat you MUST do some trend research to find out what toys are expected to be hot this season.  Part of your job as an online seller is to know what will sell!  Want the insider tips on the latest product trends, be sure and sign up for my  free Hot Trend Alerts! newsletter. These trends don’t just cover toys, they cover all types of hot niche markets.  They also apply to affiliate marketing and information marketing!

6. Local sourcing. Yard sales, estate sales, thrift store sales abound from July-September. There is an unending supply of inventory for anyone who wants to get started selling on eBay or who is already in the business of selling unique, one of a kind items. When it comes to sourcing from yard sales and estate sales, start early and go back late. Start early for best selection then go back at the end of the day to see what can be picked up for free or purchased in bulk. Where are you going on vacation this year? What products are made/sold locally that you could stock up on and sell online? Do some research online and learn about the regional products of your destination.

7. Find suppliers who will drop ship. If you want to find suppliers who will drop ship products for you, you need to do so sooner rather than later – before supplier orders heat up! This applies especially if you have a plan to have products drop shipped over the holidays. Test out drop ship suppliers this summer, before the holiday rush starts!

8. Expand your product line with importing. If you’ve been thinking about importing products from China, using a service like the new AliExpress can help you expand your product line through importing with minimum expense and risk. Take some time to thoroughly research your importing options before your online sales ramp up in September.

As you can see, there are lots of sourcing opportunities over the next few months. Now that you know what the options are, take action! Don’t let this chance slip by.  Pick one or two of the methods I’ve outlined above  -the ones that are right for your business – and go for it!