Similar to how retailers can be categorized, wholesalers can also be classified by the width and depth of product lines they handle. The categories include:
- General Merchandise – Wholesalers carrying a very broad line of products fall into the general merchandise wholesaler category. Like general merchandise retailers, the product lines these wholesalers carry may not offer many options (i.e., shallow depth). These wholesalers tend to market to the smaller general merchandise retailer, such as smaller convenience or general stores.
- Specialty Merchandise – Wholesalers focusing on narrow product lines, but offering deep selection within the lines, fall into the specialty merchandise category. Most specialty merchandise wholesalers direct their marketing efforts to specific industries. For example, specialty wholesalers supply such industries such as grocery, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.