One of the most lucrative businesses in todayâ€™s competitive market is running an ecommerce website. While itâ€™s simple enough to have a business idea and set up a website to sell from, you still need to source your products from a supplier. Even though dropshipping doesnâ€™t follow traditional distribution channels, suppliers are a crucial element in this flourishing industry.
In this article, weâ€™ll take a look at the process of choosing a dropshipping supplier for your ecommerce website.
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Why Does It Matter Which Dropshipping Supplier You Use
To provide the best possible service to your customers, youâ€™ll need the help of the best dropshippers. After all, some of the most important factors of the customer experience are determined by your dropshipping supplier. That includes packaging, arrival times, and even the range of products you include on your ecommerce store.Â
Itâ€™s safe to say that choosing the right dropshipping supplier can be a determining factor in your success or failure. If youâ€™re just getting started in ecommerce, this article should help you choose your supplier wisely.
Where To Search For Dropshipping Suppliers
Before we get into the details of choosing the right dropshipping supplier for your needs, youâ€™ll need to know where to find them. Ultimately, your own research will help you make more appropriate choices. Here are some places you can find potential suppliers to work with:
- Internet research: There is a wealth of knowledge shared on the internet, and knowing how to research will help you find what you need. Just be sure to only take advice from reputable websites to avoid being led to scam websites.
- Manufacturers: You can always contact the manufacturers of the products you want to include on your ecommerce website. They probably already work with several dropshipping suppliers, which you can take into consideration. Note that itâ€™s not easy getting responses from manufacturing companies.Â
- Supplier Directories: Also known as wholesale directories, these are third-party websites that bring together wholesalers (suppliers) and retailers (or dropshippers). While this type of service is expensive, it can be useful if your product is particularly difficult to find.Â
- Trade shows: Nothing beats interacting with others in your industry or niche. You can ask people in trade shows related to your niche for their preferences regarding suppliers. This gives you real reviews that reflect honest opinions.Â
Factors to Consider
Once you find yourself a list of potential suppliers to work with, itâ€™s time to compare them to find the cream of the crop. Itâ€™s best to make a side-by-side comparison of their services, based on honest reviews that are generated after real experiences with the supplier.Â
Here are a few factors that should help you decide which is the best dropshipping supplier for your needs.Â
Obviously, the first thing you need to check is whether the products you want to sell on you ecommerce website are even on the product list offered by the supplier. Itâ€™s also a good idea to opt for suppliers with a wider range of products so that you can pick and choose what you want to include in your store.
Another part of the product’s properties is the packaging. You might have specific requirements that need to be met, such as packaging for fragile items.
The quality of the products you sell reflects on consumer perception of your brand. While you can certainly check out reviews on the product quality from potential suppliers, itâ€™s best to order a sample. Also, remember that the mark of a good supplier is consistencyâ€”they should be able to provide consistent quality over a longer period.Â
Shipping Speed and Geographical Considerations
Everyone is in a hurry these days, so youâ€™ll need the dropshipping supplier to be relatively dependable and quick when it comes to shipping. Most importantly, your customers will want the estimates you provide on your website to be fairly accurate. That means, when you say the package will arrive within 5 working days, it should arrive before that deadline.Â
Ideally, you want the supplier to have warehouses that are geographically near to your target countries. Also, they should clearly state that they do deliver to your target countries.Â
Another important factor you need to take into account is the prices set by the supplier. Some suppliers offer free plans, whereas others require a monthly subscription even for basic plans. While price is not necessarily a reflection of quality, itâ€™s a crucial part of your decision here. Lower prices will enable you to charge customers less and attract more buyers. However, higher prices might provide more quality for your customers.
Return Policies and Integration
You also want to consider what the return policy offered by the supplier isâ€”as this will be your return policy. Obviously, a generous return policy will allow you to provide customers with a more comfortable shopping experience.Â
Additionally, any potential supplier you work with should allow for integration with your ecommerce storeâ€™s platform. For example, if you are using WooCommerce to run your store, the supplier should have a built-in integration with WooCommerce. No matter how much you like the supplier, you wonâ€™t be able to start dropshipping from them unless you can integrate via your ecommerce platform and ecommerce website builder.
Experience and Reliability
Last but not least, you should take a look at the supplierâ€™s experience in the industry. Look for how many years of experience they’ve had, and their significant accomplishments. Itâ€™s a good idea to check what others in the industry are saying regarding the supplierâ€™s reliability. They should have a large enough warehouse to facilitate smooth operation, and you should find no complaints regarding unavailable products.
Questions To Ask Potential Suppliers
Now that you understand what you should look for in a dropshipping supplier, these are a few questions you might consider asking before you make your decision:
- Which countries do you deliver to?
- What are your shipping estimates, and how accurate are they?
- What is the average processing time, and how does it affect delivery times?
- What packaging options do you have?
- Do you offer branding options?
- What is the minimum order I can place?
- Can you give me pricing details including customs fees, minimum payment, etc?Â
Armed with the knowledge above, you should be able to easily find the right supplier for your needs.